Visions of Johanna
Name = Visions of Johanna
Caption = Album cover
Blonde on Blonde
May 16, 1966
February 14, 1966
Length = 7:30
Label = Columbia
Chart position =
Last single =
This single =
Next single =
Misc = Extra tracklisting
Blonde on Blonde
Type = studio
prev_track = "
Pledging My Time"
prev_no = 2
this_track = "Visions of Johanna"
track_no = 3
next_track = "
One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)"
next_no = 4
"Visions of Johanna" is a song by
Bob Dylanfrom the 1966album " Blonde on Blonde". Considered among Dylan's greatest works, Dylan referred to it as his favorite song on the album which captured that "thin, wild mercury sound". [http://www.interferenza.com/bcs/interw/play78.htm]
The identity of Johanna has been widely speculated.who? The most common 'theories' seem to be:
#It refers to
#It relates to "
Gehenna" and " Ge-Hinnom", from a Hebrew word for Hell.
Vincent van Gogh's sister-in-law, Johanna Gezina van Gogh (Bonger), who was largely responsible for Vincent's eventual emergence as a major artist.
#Johanna refers to the infinite or to God.
#It alludes to William Blake's poem, "On the Virginity of the Virgin Mary & Johanna Southcott".
Another theory isWho|date=December 2007 that the song contains a lot of references to drugs, perhaps heroin, and has a general hallucinogenic mood. Some of the lyrics that suggest this more overtly include: one character "Muttering small talk at the wall while I'm in the hall", the lines "Voices echo this is what salvation must be like after a while" and "When the jelly-faced women all sneeze / Hear the one with the mustache say, 'Jeeze / I can't find my knees'"
None of these claims are supported by statements made by Dylan, who once said, "I don't know how to write drug songs, I wouldn't know where to start." Baez believed that she was the inspiration for the song, though she claims her importance in a number of Dylan works.
The song was originally titled "Seems Like a Freeze Out"; studio recordings released on bootleg with this name have a much faster tempo (more similar to "Most Likely You'll Go Your Way And I'll Go Mine") and, in the fifth verse, contain the additional line, "He examines the nightingale's code".
Another version was recorded at the Manchester
Free Trade Hallconcert. This concert has since been released as the , which was titled "The "Royal Albert Hall" Concert" as a jab at bootleggers who had erroneously referred to the Manchester concert as such for years prior.
In Perth, during the Australia tour of 1966, Dylan treated the audience to an otherwise unknown verse of "Visions of Johanna". This verse introduces two new characters, Amelia, who describes Australia as "God's favourite failure", and "A Maya with gloves", who talks about love and chocolate. There is no indication that Dylan has performed this verse on any other occasion. [The extra verse from Perth 1966 was reproduced as [http://fivebestlist.blogspot.com/2007_06_01_archive.html] :
Amelia, when asked "Was it awesome, your stay in Australia?"
Said, "Sort of, but short, this land must be God's favourite failure
I left after finding out that even here, even here there is daily a
Dawn, I could just as well choose
Vancouver or the Ivory Coast"
I said "Yes, but in places like those
There are no kangaroos."
A Maya with gloves, once said "Love is like cacao beans"
Well, these visions of Johanna are the darkest pralines.
Commenting on this song, Marqusee characterises it (p. 196) as 'Dylan's definitive treatment of "strandedness"', and notes that 'in contrast to most of the material in "Blonde on Blonde", he brought it to the studio as a finished composition'. He later comments 'In VoJ Dylan is stranded between extremes - total freedom and abject slavery.'
Others have subjected the words to poetic '
close reading' and have found in it a wealth of allusion, for example, to William Blake; thus Thakkar [http://www.theowljournal.com/article.php?issue=4&number=7&type=print&comments=1.] says 'My claims will be these: Louise represents the earthly, the prosaic, the finite; and Johanna represents the pure, the poetic, the infinite'.
Marqusee Mike, 2003, ""
Thakkar Jonny, 2007, "Visions of Infinity", The Owl Journal, Hilary Term 2007
* [http://bobdylan.com/moderntimes/songs/visions.html Complete lyrics]
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