The first time Bob Dylan recorded “Mr. Tambourine Man” was on June 6, 1964.
It was one of fourteen songs he recorded that day at Columbia Records’ Studio A in New York City. Eleven of those songs – “Mr. Tambourine Man” not included – would become Dylan’s fourth album, Another Side of Bob Dylan.
Another Side of Bob Dylan was released by Columbia Records on August 8, 1964.
Dylan returned to Studio A on January 13, 1965 to begin recording songs for his next Columbia LP.
These sessions continued into the next two days, producing some of Dylan’s earliest recordings where he is accompanied by a band including electric guitars and drums.
Among those now-classic tracks were: “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” “Maggie’s Farm” and “Love Minus Zero/No Limit.”
On January 15, 1965, Dylan cut four “acoustic” songs for the new album.
“Mr. Tambourine Man” was the third.
On this definitive recording, Dylan sings and plays acoustic guitar (in dropped-D tuning and capoed at the third fret) and harmonica. Guitarist Bruce Langhorne provides the sparkling high-note accompaniment.
“Mr. Tambourine Man” was released on March 22, 1965, as the first song on the second side of Bob Dylan’s fifth album, Bringing It All Back Home.
“Mr. Tambourine Man” is, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest songs ever written.
I have listened to it, played it, performed it and taught it a countless number of times and I will continue to do so for as long as I am able.
Hmm… Where’s my guitar?