My first Dylan instruction and Anita Ekberg

For me, Bob Dylan’s humor was apparent from the word “go.”
My first Dylan albumwas purchased in the mid-1970s, for $2.99 I believe, at a drug store in Austin, Minn. “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” was my first Dylan album, and that’s because I knew two or three of the song titles. Other Dylan albums in the pile didn’t have that distinction.

So at age 13 or 14, I set out to decipher his “Blowin’ in the Wind.” And imagine what I thought when I got to “Masters of War.” Or “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall.” And my favorite song on the album remains “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,” and that’s easily one of my five favorite Dylan songs.

But the closer is “I Shall Be Free,”  one of the funniest things Dylan recorded. So when actress/sex kitten Anita Ekberg died last week, I didn’t write anything about her because, how could I? The most I knew about her came from a verse in that Dylan song I listened to and laughed at endlessly.

Its fourth verse (at 1:17) finds President Kennedy calling Dylan.

He said, “My friend, Bob, what do we need to make the country grow?”
I said, “My friend, John, Brigitte Bardot, Anita Ekberg, Sophia Loren.
“Country’ll grow.”

All of the things Dylan taught me …


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