More to Come


Credit controversy

Shortly after its release, the album sparked some debate in the media concerning its songwriting credits, mainly the liner notes' contention of "All songs written by Bob Dylan", which appears in most editions of Modern Times.


Many of the album's songs have roots in well-known older compositions, though in all cases, Dylan has given the songs new lyrics.

  • "Thunder on the Mountain" has a second verse based on the song "Ma Rainey" by Memphis Minnie. Dylan cuts and shuffles Memphis Minnie's lyrics substituting Alicia Keys and Hell's Kitchen for Ma Rainey and her Georgia birthplace. The reference to Keys was listed by Rolling Stone as among the "ten weirdest shoutouts" in song.[3] The guitar licks and riffs are typical of Chuck Berry's famous records, with the melody sounding closest to "Let It Rock."[4]
  • "Rollin' and Tumblin'" is a blues standard first recorded and possibly written by the bluesman Hambone Willie Newbern. An arrangement very similar to Dylan's but with different lyrics was a hit for Muddy Waters, who is also credited with writing the song. Except for the first verse, all the lyrics in Dylan's version are original.
  • "When the Deal Goes Down" is based on the melody of "Where the Blue of the Night (Meets the Gold of the Day)", a signature-song for Bing Crosby.[5]
  • "Someday Baby" is based on an old standard that can be traced back to "Worried Life Blues", recorded by Sleepy John Estes, and made famous in versions by Lightnin' Hopkins and Muddy Waters. It is sometimes referred to as "Trouble No More", and often credited to Muddy Waters.
  • The chorus of "Working Man's Blues" features the line, "Meet me at the bottom, don't lag behind, bring me my boots and shoes." The unusual phrasing appears to have been borrowed from cool jazz singer June Christy's 1946 song "June's Blues", which contains the words, "Meet me in the bottom, bring me my boots and shoes". Dylan has showed an affinity for Christy's music, and played a number of her songs throughout the course of his Theme Time Radio Hour XM program.[6] The line also appears as "Meet me in the bottom, bring me my running shoes", in the Willie Dixon song "Down in the Bottom" (it itself an adaptation of "Rollin' and Tumblin'"), recorded by Howlin' Wolf. A similar variant appears in Big Joe Williams's song "Meet Me Around the Corner" ("Meet me around the corner, bring me my boots and shoes").
  • "Beyond the Horizon" is based around the song "Red Sails in the Sunset," written by Jimmy Kennedy and Hugh Williams in 1935 using its melody and basic structure.
  • "Nettie Moore" takes its title, and some of its chorus, from an 1857 composition "Gentle Nettie Moore" by Marshall Pike and James Lord Pierpont, the composer of "Jingle Bells", though Dylan's melody and lyrics are otherwise unrecognizable, although the song shares a rhyme with "Moonshiner", a traditional folk song that Dylan recorded in 1963: "They say whiskey will kill ya, but I don't think it will" vs. "If whiskey don't kill me, I don't know what will."
  • "The Levee's Gonna Break" is based on "When the Levee Breaks" by Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie. It has been previously adapted by rock acts such as Led Zeppelin. The song has also been in the public domain since 2004.
  • "Ain't Talkin'" derives its chorus from the more up-tempo "Highway of Regret" by The Stanley Brothers. The lyrics of the first verse seem to be derived from the first verse of "As I Roved Out", a traditional Irish song.

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