In Which I, John Scalzi, Sing a Lost Bob Dylan Song For Jay Lake

This is for the Jay Lake “Acts of Whimsy” fundraiser. Enjoy, inasmuch as such a thing is possible.

And remember: As of today, there’s still time to donate.

79 Comments on “In Which I, John Scalzi, Sing a Lost Bob Dylan Song For Jay Lake”

  1. Yup, the harmonica’s what made it. Someone please make me a 10-hour-loop youtube video of Scalzi + harmonica.

    (actually please don’t do that).

  2. That was AWESOME. That’s almost as much awesome as Mary Robinette Kowal’s phone sex readings and youtube transcription beat poetry.

    Now that you sing it that way, that song DOES sound very Dylan. I never drew the connections before

  3. It says something about how much Golden Girls we watch in this household that as soon as Scalzi said “80s” I was half-expecting “Thank You for Being a Friend.”

  4. That was… brilliant. Simply and truly brilliant. (And hilarious.)

    Not sure whether Dylan or Poison would be more appalled.

  5. So many ways you could’ve gone with that … So many silly possibilities, starting with the Rick Roll, Devo’s “Whip It”, “Safety Dance”, “Blinded Me With Science”, anything by Rush or the B-52s or Whitney Houston… but that was almost close to Dylanesque… (And I’m not sure if Dylan or Poison would be more appalled too)

  6. I snorted (thankfully, cooled) tea and whimsy out of my nose when you added the harmonica. Well done, sir!

  7. Wait, what?
    “…there’s still time to donate.”
    I thought the goal had been reached.
    Oh, Of course: Probably, dude needs about $150,000.01 for
    his other hospital bills, which probably do not include late
    payment fees for some girl who has his initials.

  8. (I’ve had some bad experiences with bills from medical related
    service providers, and have never been quadruple billed.
    I have been triple billed, and the people that did that seem to
    have gotten into trouble, and aren’t allowed to talk to people;
    just to hospitals.)

  9. As a card-carrying member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, I cannot help but feel proud — proud I say! — that this man is both our leader and the public face of our organization..

    Look on, America: this is the face, the voice, and the talent that we chose to guide SFWA forward into the future, to ever-greater heights of artistic achievement.


  10. Ok, I just double checked. There’s some clickable text under the fee that says “edit this amount.” You can indeed change that to $0.00 if you want. is supported by voluntary donations. We passed on another fundraising site that charges a mandatory 7%.

  11. At the above people who told me about what a sober guy would have
    instantly seen.
    Thank you for that info.

    I have a credit card that gives me 5% off for stuff from them what I buy
    with that card IFF I pay that much with that card to _not_ them.
    —I did some math, determined that I’d have to pay {amount} to not have
    to do any more math this month.
    And the YC people Changed The Amount!
    So much more maths! So many more !SCreamS!

    Did I mention that I’m perhaps a trifle non sober.

  12. Is this a Scalzi-roll? I had to gird my loins before clicking, because I despise Dylan’s “style” so very, very much. And then, it got worse. Poison! Yeargh. And, yet, somehow, singing a terrible song in a very terrible way made both better. A paradox.

    Between this and Jodie Foster’s GG speech, it’s been a very surreal evening on the intertoobs.

  13. I had to back the video up and listen to [everything after the first harmonica appearance] again because I was laughing too hard to hear it. Well played, sir. Well played.

  14. Awesome job. My only “critique” would be to say less harmonica next time, or have an partner in crime to add the harmonica. Unlike your earlier tweet, I don’t see harmonica as the new cowbell. That is my opinion of course. I just don’t see how one can replace the cowbell. You can never have too much cowbell.

  15. Actually, you sound more like Dylan than Dylan does these days. I saw him in concert w/Mark Knopfler at the Hollywood Bowl recently (my husband is a huge Mark Knopfler fan- we see him every tour). Mark Knopfler was his usual awesome self. After Bob Dylan finished, I turned to my husband and said that I thought I’d just seen Mr. Toad in concert.

  16. I am so glad that I wasn’t taking a drink of my hot chocolate when you started singing. I’d be hunting for a new keyboard right now.

    Related, thanks to you and everyone else that is helping out Jay. I haven’t read any of his books (yet) but I’ve heard his name often enough to know that I need to.

  17. i can’t find evidence that Bob Dylan actually wrote this song, but I did find an interview with Bret Michael where he speaks about the inspiration for the song. Anyone else find an attribution to Dylan? Michael does say he ripped of the chords from Dylan’s “Knocking on Heaven’s Door”

  18. Well, now I feel old. I didn’t recognize the song. Embarrassing. Thank goodness for the harmonica!

  19. Strange, but good.
    As someone who has never TRULY experienced Bob Dylan, I think that it’ s ok. I’m sure that if I heard more Dylan, I would agree w/ the general consensus that he sucks.

    um…. ok. BYEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!
    *I AM sober, but I am homework-crazed, so I think it is the same thing right about now..*

  20. Catherine Shaffer says:
    January 13, 2013 at 10:44 pm
    I mentioned that I was drunk. ‘K? Got that?
    I did some math.
    The result of that math was that the best amount I should give was {amount}.
    The website changed that amount, by adding a surcharge.
    IIRC, giving that surcharge to that website would have cost me essentially
    nothing on the cash back rewards, but those assholes changed the amount that
    I’d agreed to pay by adding that fee.

    Please don’t hit an airline stewardess.
    They have goldfish to feed, and they have no control over the actions of the
    people who pretend to pay them.

  21. Just to repeat what I said above I was very very very (and VERY!) annoyed
    by the added shipping and handling for giving away my money.
    Just fucking thank me but don’t father raping kitten kicking bill me for shipping
    and handling.
    Thank you for your time, and may bad things happen to those whom you think
    should have bad things happen to, and may good things happen to you and yours.

  22. Good God, it’s like Bob’s soul has taken up residence inside you! But left his musical talent behind… :-)

  23. Mary Frances says: January 14, 2013 at 2:21 pm
    “….Well, now I feel old. I didn’t recognize the song….”

    Hey, just go to any Dylan concert these days … The last one I went to I think I only recognized about two songs, and they were more than half way through before some strange co-incidence of notes would suddenly make me exclaim something along the lines of; “Hey, this is ‘Like a Rolling Stone’, um I think…..?! … hey, brilliant, innit?”

    But, I knew it would be like that, I just went to pay homage. If I want to hear his music I’ll listen to it at home!

    (but…(spoiler alert)… I wouldna recognized this one …as it aint his …)

  24. markx @ 1:08: I wouldna recognized this one …as it aint his . . .

    Well, no, but it was SOMEONE’S, wasn’t it? Someone in the 80s whose work I evidently completely missed because I was already Old? (If it had been an actually Dylan song, I think I would have recognized it. I hope!)

  25. Bret Michaels, Poison lead singer, wrote this following a failed love affair. After finishing playing on tour late one night he had called his girlfriend at her Los Angeles apartment and heard a man’s voice in the background. The next day he took a acoustic guitar and a notepad to a laundromat and wrote the song there.

    “….Michaels explained the metaphoric meaning behind the rose and thorn in this song. He said that the rose was his career taking off, and the thorn was the fact that it was costing him his relationship with his girlfriend Tracy…”

    Thanks for that Brett, the subtly had escaped me. (You would never catch Bob Dylan explaining the meaning of his lyrics!)

  26. Just listened to the original Poison version then the Scalzi/Dylan version. Dang, Scalzi really captures the Dylan style of phrasing! Must have listen to a bit of Dylan in his time. Loved it.

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