Written by Harry Porter
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Topics: Bob Dylan, Writing

Tuesday, 20 September 2005

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Hey Mr Polka Dot Man - another honour for His Bobness.

Accolades continue to shower upon rock legend Bob Dylan with him now receiving the honour of writing the greatest ever line in popular song.

According to a joint poll, undertaken by the readerships of Rolling Stone, Uncut and Mojo magazines, ‘the ghost of electricity howls in the bones of her face' is the top lyric ever penned in modern musical culture.

These few words, taken from Visions of Johanna on the acclaimed 1966 album Blonde on Blonde, gives 64-year-old Dylan even more headlines in a year which has seen a dramatic surge in interest in the Oscar-winning, Columbia recording artist.

The first volume of his autobiography ‘Chronicles' has gained international praise, the 40-year-old rock classic ‘Like a Rolling Stone' has been hailed as the most significant recording in popular culture, the Martin Scorsese documentary on Dylan is now being celebrated as possibly the greatest in its genre.

And if that wasn't enough, Dylan's striking polka dot shirt from the mid-60s was recently voted the number one fashion garment in rock music's history by the readers of ‘The People's Friend' in the UK.

The ‘greatest ever line' honour, voted on by 750,000 readers, saw Dylan up against fierce competition, with Lennon & McCartney, Jagger & Richards, Bruce Springsteen and Paul Simon all in the frame.

But according to the internationally-renowned linguistics authority, Professor Sefton Delmer, author of the best-selling ‘Vygotsky and the Zone of Proximal Development in the Deconstruction of Bob Dylan's Desolation Row', the accolade is both deserved and long overdue.

He said: "The ‘ghost of electricity' line encapsulates the authenticity of the environment and the affinity between the main participants - the observer and the observed. It contains poetic, but also essential, elements, to make the listener feel part of this environment. These elements, natural and unnatural, real and ethereal, are rarely predominant in conventional songwriting."

Taking second place in the readers' poll was the John Lennon line 'Yellow matter custard, dripping from a dead dog's eye' from the Lennon & McCartney composition ‘I Am the Walrus' which featured on The Beatles' 1967 ‘Magical Mystery Tour'.

Surprisingly, third spot went to cult bottleneck guitarist Marwick Head and ‘Life's a fud and we're all coughing up hairballs' - the title of an instrumental track from 1962's ‘Kitchener's Memorial'.

The readers' top 10 choices were:

1. Bob Dylan: The ghost of electricity howls in the bones of her face (Bob Dylan, Visions of Johanna - Blonde on Blonde 1966).

2. Lennon & McCartney: Yellow matter custard dripping from a dead dog's eye (The Beatles, I Am the Walrus - Magical Mystery Tour, 1967).

3. Marwick Head: Life's a fud and we're all coughing up hairballs (Marwick Head - Kitchener's Memorial, 1962).

4. Paul Simon: The Mississippi Delta was shining Like a National guitar (Paul Simon, Graceland - Graceland 1986).

5. Don Van Vliet: The moon was a drip on a dark hood ‘n they were drivin' around ‘n around (Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band, I'm Gonna Booglarize You - The Spotlight Kid 1972).

6. Eric Massey: If you really loved me you wouldn't force feed me quiche (The Dashboards, Forget the Freezer… It's An Evil Beast - Rabid Suburbia 1959).

7. Jagger & Richards: I rode a tank, held a general's rank when the blitzkrieg raged and the bodies stank (The Rolling Stones, Sympathy for the Devil - Beggars Banquet 1968).

8. Bruce Springsteen: I slipped on her shoe, she was a perfect size seven (Bruce Springsteen, Highway 29 - The Ghost of Tom Joad 1995).

9. Leonard Cohen: And then I confess that I tortured the dress that you wore for the world to look through (Leonard Cohen, One of us Cannot be Wrong - Songs of Leonard Cohen 1967).

10. William Maloney: If you care for someone, you don't dump his porn in the garbage can (Wild Bill Maloney & The Evangelists, God's Forgotten Commandments - The Gospel According to… 1948).

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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