Everybody must get stoned … a most invasive earworm. Bob Dylan’s quirky song Rainy Day Women #12 and 35 topped the 1966 pop charts. I was a toddler.
Listening to the raucous circus tune I’m transported to my aunt’s 1966 living room. Harvest gold carpet, a huge console that kept the record player, my teenage cousins lounging, listening to The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Dylan.
As a little girl hearing my Dad rail about hippies, hairballs, and drug music, I couldn’t understand why he didn’t like the silly song. To understand the peculiar celebrity, I’ve researched a bit into Dylan’s style.
It turns out Dylan didn’t pen this song to promote drug use, but rather to illuminate how alternative views bring out hostilities in the mainstream. Dylan’s comment to New York radio host Bob Fass in 1986, struck a chord, “’Everybody must get stoned’ is when you go against the tide […] and to do what you believe in […] people take offense to that. You can look through history and find people have taken offense to [others] who [have] a different viewpoint.”
According to Dylan critic Clinton Heylin, Dylan was determined to use a “fairly lame pun” – the idea of being physically stoned for committing a sin, as opposed to being stoned on “powerful medicine.” Heylin suggested the song’s title is a Biblical reference, from the Book of Proverbs, “which contains a huge number of edicts for which one could genuinely get stoned.”
I finally get Dylan. I understand we each see the world through our experiences, beliefs. I’ve faced hostility for my views on abortion. I’ve been disparaging toward others for their views. It’s a verbal form of stoning; but like Dylan, let’s promote love, not war.
But I would not feel so all alone
Everybody must get stoned