Mapped: Bob Dylan’s Entire Repertoire

Travel Blog  •  Eva Holland  •  05.28.13 | 7:48 AM ET

To celebrate Bob Dylan’s 72nd birthday, Slate has mapped every place the man ever mentioned in his music. Why, you ask?

Once the amateur Dylanologist tries to think of some, they flood the brain. “I’ll look for you in old Honolulu/ San Francisco, Ashtabula.” “Born in Red Hook, Brooklyn/ In the year of who knows when.” “Oxford town, Oxford town/ Everybody’s got their head bowed down.” From the personal—“that little Minnesota town”—to the political—“Ever since the British burned the White House down/ There’s a bleeding wound in the heart of town”—Dylan uses place-names to maintain rhythm or rhyme, to reference other works of art, or to evoke certain thoughts and emotions. (We never do learn what it’s like “to be stuck inside of Mobile with the Memphis blues again,” though we feel like we do.) It’s only natural, after all, that a man who left tiny Hibbing, Minn. for New York City at age 19, quickly became world-famous, and has spent the last 25 years on a “never-ending” worldwide tour, might have a curious perspective on the concept of place.


Eva Holland is co-editor of World Hum. She is a former associate editor at Up Here and Up Here Business magazines, and a contributor to Vela. She's based in Canada's Yukon territory.

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