Audio: Versions of Bob Dylan’s ‘Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?’

Dylan in Columbia Studio A where both versions of “Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?” were cut.

Along with “Like A Rolling Stone” and “Positively 4th Street,” “Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?” was one of the first Bob Dylan songs I heard.

I was 12 years old and could totally relate to the anger and bitterness in Dylan’s voice.

The surreal lyrics, which have always reminded me of Salvador Dali and Picasso’s Cubist period, run through both “Like A Rolling Stone” and “Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?”

And of course the sound on those records was unlike anything else going on at the time.

Bob Dylan first tried recording “Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?” on July 30, 1965 while working on Highway 61 Revisited with a group of musicians that included Harvey Brooks (bass), Al Kooper (organ) and Michael Bloomfield (guitar).

There were two takes recorded that day, the second of which was mistakenly released as “Positively 4th Street” on September 7, 1965. I bought that single and have long loved that version of the song.

On October 5th, 1965, Dylan and The Hawks rerecorded the song, and that version was released as a single on December 21, 1965.

I’ve included those versions below, but also a number of interesting covers.

Each of these artists — the Hold Steady, Jimi Hendrix, The Vacels and Transvision Vamp — make the song their own.

I think the Transvision Vamp version is quite good, especially if you don’t try and compare it to the Dylan versions,

Bob Dylan (version that was mistakenly released as “Positively 4th Street”):

Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window by Bob Dylan on Grooveshark

Bob Dylan and the Hawks:

Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window by Bob Dylan on Grooveshark

The Hold Steady:

Jimi Hendrix – Can You please Crawl Out Your Window (1967)

The Vacels

Transvision Vamp – Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window.flv

About Michael Goldberg

Michael Goldberg is a distinguished pioneer in the online music space; Newsweek magazine called him an ‘Internet visionary.’ In 1994 he founded Addicted To Noise (ATN), the highly influential music web site. He was a senior vice-president and editor in chief at SonicNet from March 1997 through May 2000. In 1997, Addicted To Noise won Webby awards for best music site in 1998 and 1999, and also won Yahoo Internet Life! awards for three years running as best music site in 1998, 1999 and 2000. Prior to starting Addicted To Noise, Goldberg was an editor and senior writer at Rolling Stone magazine for 10 years. His writing has also appeared in Wired, Esquire, Vibe, Details, Downbeat, NME and numerous other publications. Michael recently completed his first novel, Days of the Crazy-Wild, and is currently writing a second novel.

One thought on “Audio: Versions of Bob Dylan’s ‘Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?’

  1. This has finally cleared up a mystery for me. Back in 1965 I was in High school and starts smoking grass and hanging out with musicians and played harmonica. Naturally I listend to everything done by Dylan that I could get my hands on.

    One day a friend oif mine told me he had discovered the most “far out” thing Dylan had ever done and played Can you please crawl out your window for me and when we couldn’t get and grass we’d get drunk on beer and sing Can you please crawl out your window” at the top of our lungs and play our harmonicas badly. Another favorite was “I’m a man” by the Yardbirds

    Then later I heard the other version with the band and THAT trally blew me away. but as the years went by I never heard the Kooper/Bloomfield/brooks Highway 61 version again and was uncertain that it had ever even existed. Also I seemed to treval that my friend had sad it was the B side to positively 4th street, He’s no longer alive so I can’t ask him. He would be 67 if he were still with us.

    You have the hold steady and the vacels versions here but the two Dylan versions are missing. It would be great to hear them back to back if they could be restored to this web page.

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