November 30: Bob Dylan recorded “Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?” in 1965

Jonathan Cott: Why have you been able to keep so in touch with your anger throughout the years, as
revealed in songs like Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window? and Positively 4th Street?
Bob Dylan: Will power. With strength of will you can do anything. With will power you can
determine your destiny.
(from the Jonathan Cott interview Dec 1977)

Can you please crawl out your window?
Use your arms and legs it won’t ruin you
How can you say he will haunt you?
You can go back to him any time you want to

Wikipedia:

B-side “Highway 61 Revisited”
Released December 21, 1965
Format 7″
Recorded November 30 , 1965
Genre Folk rock
Length 3:32
Label Columbia Records
Writer(s) Bob Dylan
Producer Bob Johnston

Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?” was a 1965 single by American rock artist Bob Dylan. It reached #58 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, and #17 on the UK chart in January 1966. Dylan is accompanied on the song by the musical group then known as The Hawks, who had backed the singer on his 1966 world tour and would subsequently go on to fame in their own right as The Band: Robbie Robertson (guitar), Rick Danko (bass), Richard Manuel (piano), Garth Hudson (organ), and Levon Helm (drums).

Numerous takes of the song were recorded on July 30, 1965 during the sessions for the album Highway 61 Revisited with a band including Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper and Paul Griffin; one was mistakenly issued on a false pressing of the single Positively 4th Street that autumn.

The official single version, with the Hawks, is generally considered to have been recorded on November 30, 1965. 

The entire July 1965 and October/November 1965 recording sessions were released on the 18-disc Collector’s Edition of The Bootleg Series Vol. 12: The Cutting Edge 1965–1966 in 2015, while highlights from the outtakes appeared on the 2-disc and 6-disc versions of that album.

  • Originally available as a single only, the song was eventually included on Dylan’s compilations Masterpieces (1978) and Biograph (1985), and on the Band’s box set A Musical History (2005).
  • An extended stereo mix of the original single version appeared on the limited Collector’s Edition of The Bootleg Series Vol. 12: The Cutting Edge 1965–1966.
  • This song was included in the list of songs in Nick Hornby’s book 31 Songs, that was published in the U.S. as Songbook.

Original single versions

Studio A
Columbia Recording Studios
New York City, New York
30 November 1965

The 2nd Blonde On Blonde session, produced by Bob Johnston.

  • Bob Dylan (guitar, piano, harmonica)
  • Robbie Robertson (guitar)
  • Garth Hudson (organ)
  • Rick Danko (bass)
  • Richard Manuel (piano)
  • Paul Griffin (piano)
  • Bobby Gregg (drums)

The Hawks give their all on this single version, the wordplay is quintessential midperiod Dylan, and his vocal is a delight, but the song showed no obvious advance on an album’s worth of dispositions reflecting that ‘sadistic put-down game’ his sustained amphetamine habit was merely exacerbating. It failed to replicate the success of the previous two Dylan 45s, both of which went Top Ten Stateside.
-Clinton Heylin (Revolution in the Air: The Songs of Bob Dylan 1957-1973 (Songs of Bob Dylan Vol 1))

Lyrics:

He sits in your room, his tomb, with a fist full of tacks
Preoccupied with his vengeance
Cursing the dead that can’t answer him back
I’m sure that he has no intentions
Of looking your way, unless it’s to say
That he needs you to test his inventions

Can you please crawl out your window?
Use your arms and legs it won’t ruin you
How can you say he will haunt you?
You can go back to him any time you want to

He looks so truthful, is this how he feels
Trying to peel the moon and expose it
With his businesslike anger and his bloodhounds that kneel
If he needs a third eye he just grows it
He just needs you to talk or to hand him his chalk
Or pick it up after he throws it

Can you please crawl out your window?
Use your arms and legs it won’t ruin you
How can you say he will haunt you?
You can go back to him any time you want to

Why does he look so righteous while your face is so changed
Are you frightened of the box you keep him in
While his genocide fools and his friends rearrange
Their religion of the little tin women
That backs up their views but your face is so bruised
Come on out the dark is beginning

Can you please crawl out your window?
Use your arms and legs it won’t ruin you
How can you say he will haunt you?
You can go back to him any time you want to

“Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?” was the cause of the fight between Bob Dylan and folksinger Phil Ochs. One evening, the composer had David Blue and Phil Ochs listen to his song. The first one liked it: “A good rock song,” he said. Ochs risked making a comment. “It’s OK, but it will never be a hit.” Dylan went into a rage. “What do ya mean, it’s not going to be a hit? You’re crazy, man. It’s a great song.” 2 Anthony Scaduto told the tale of what followed. At this point, a limousine arrived to drive them to a downtown club. They climbed aboard, but at the time when the driver was about to turn a few blocks before (Sixth Avenue), Dylan yelled at the driver, “Stop!” The car stopped and Dylan turned to Ochs to tell him, “Ochs, get out!” Ochs was white as a sheet. He couldn’t tell if Dylan was serious or joking. “Get out, Ochs!” Dylan repeated. “You’re not a folksinger. You’re just a journalist.” 2 The two songwriters did not see each other for nine years (until a concert in support of Chile in 1974). “Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?” was the first song that Bob Dylan recorded with the Hawks, the future Band.
-Margotin, Philippe; Guesdon, Jean-Michel. Bob Dylan All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Track

Take 1 (The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series Vol. 12)

Jimi Hendrix – Live Filmore East May 10, 1968:

One thought on “November 30: Bob Dylan recorded “Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?” in 1965

  1. Thanks! Always good to hear this one. I bought a copy of the 45 way back in the day when it first came out!! Interestingly, the lyrics quote do not quite correspond with either of the versions of the song you include in the post! But I imagine those are the “official” lyrics.

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