AUGUSTA GA--Bob Dylan recently admitted that he wrote the song, "Subterranean Homesick Blues" after hiring a golf pro to help him with his game. He blamed the counter culture of the 60's for changing the lyrics in order to serve their anti-establishment agenda. "I'd been in a slump and I needed someone to help me get out," Dylan said.
Johnny, who was "in the basement mixing up the medicine," was actually a golfing buddy of Dylan's who was also in a slump, but didn't have the money to hire a golf pro to help him out, so he turned to drinking highballs instead.
The line, "I'm on the pavement thinking about retirement" is self explanatory and speaks to Dylan's great love of the sport. "The man in the trench coat" of the same verse was really a bookie that Dylan met when he was at the Master's back in '66.
The chorus and several other lines from the song were written as a tribute to Dylan's golf coach, Mark Angle, and the advice that he gave him while Dylan was under his tutelage.
The line, "God knows when but you're doing it again, you better duck down the fairway, lookin' for a new bend," speaks to the golf pro's frustration that he was having with Dylan's strokes at the time.
Other lines that the pro gave him were: "Look out kid, don't matter what you did, you better lean forward "No Doz," keep your weight on your toes." "No Doz" was a nickname that Angle had given Dylan because of his high energy enthusiasm for the sport.
The line, "don't follow leaders, watch the parking meters," was advice that Angle gave him for playing the 18th fairway in Augusta. "Look out kid you're gonna get a hit and you don't need a weather man to know which way the wind blows," were lines of further encouragement.
Other references in the song include, "Maggie, who came fleet foot face full of black soot" was really a poser trying to get into the country club as a caddie to get a closer view of Dylan.
"Keep a clean nose. Watch the plain clothes. Don't wear sandals" were all taken from a sign in the men's locker room at the country club.
"Ring the bell" was the sign at the check-in counter. And "the pump don't work cause the vandals took the handle" was a sign over the water fountain on the 9th green.
Dylan appologized profusely for the mix-up and said that he felt better now that the public knew the truth.