MAY 18, 2017
“LOVE MINUS ZERO/NO LIMIT” (WRITER: BOB DYLAN)
ARTIST: BOB DYLAN
RELEASED 1965 ON BRINGING IT ALL BACK HOME LP
On 1964’s Another Side of Bob Dylan, the title hero began to pull away from the structures and orthodoxies of traditional folk music to sing more ‘personal’ songs.
Those who felt that Bob Dylan’s job was to write songs for a political or social movement were dismayed. Others were happily shocked to hear him apply his gifts to different types of lyrics.
For his fifth album, 1965’s Bringing it All Back Home, he took another step from expectations and featured an electric backing band on each of side one’s seven great songs. New York studio musicians Paul Griffin, Bobby Gregg, Al Gorgoni, Bruce Langhorne, and others helped Dylan chart relatively new territory. (Dylan had intensely disliked his only previous experience with a band, back in 1963.)
For this album, he also wrote some spot-on love songs. One of them, “Love Minus Zero/No Limit,” described his lover in wordplay, Biblical and literary images, and naked, simple wonder.
“Love Minus Zero” spoke in several musical languages. The groove owes something to Buddy Holly and the beguiling rhythm is almost Latin. The electric guitars interlock and the drums swing. Dylan delivered one of his loveliest melodies with rich sweetness.
Both the stereo and mono versions of the recording are recommended; the whole album sounds wonderful, with clean engineering and good balancing.
The first editions of the Bringing it All Back Home album printed the song title this way on the label:
Love Minus Zero
Dylan said that he intended the title to be a fraction. The actual number would be infinite.
Since his original version of this song is blocked on YouTube by Columbia Records, see and hear a version he performed in a hotel suite in England in 1965.