Editors’ Notes In March 2020, during the height of a global pandemic, Bob Dylan surprise-released a 17-minute song story about a world-stopping historical event two generations prior: the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The timing could not have been deliberate, but it can’t be overlooked; over little more than piano and string swells, Dylan starts in Dallas on November 22, 1963, then ambles through the rest of the 20th century, casually name-checking contemporaries along the way. From an artist who embodies every political and cultural turn of the past seven decades, this is less a history lesson than a taking stock, and at an unsure moment when it seems impossible to not look back.

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