Goin’ to Acapulco is the first song to feature here from The Basement Tapes recorded in 1967 by Bob Dylan and the Band and released in 1975. After Dylan was injured in a motorcycle accident in July 1966, four members of the Hawks (later The Band) came to Dylan’s home in the Woodstock area to collaborate with him on music and film projects and later moved to the basement of the Big Pink. While Dylan was out of the public’s eye during an extended period of recovery in 1967, he and the Hawks recorded more than 100 tracks together.
Dylan had moved away from the mercurial and new-rock sound on Blonde on Blonde towards songs that were more intimate and which drew on many styles of traditional American music. Goin’ to Acalpuco is one such song.
I’m going down to Rose Marie’s
She never does me wrong
She puts it to me plain as day
And gives it to me for a song
It’s a wicked life, but what the hell
Everybody’s got to eat
And I’m just the same as anyone else
When it comes to scratching for my meat
Goin’ to Acapulco
Goin’ on the run
The song was gloriously covered here in the unconventional biographical film of Dylan – I’m Not There. There is a fair degree of uncertainty about the date of composition of the song, not least because despite its elegance and originality, it didn’t appear in the earlier copyright lists of songs from the Basement Tapes era.
I love the accompaniment of this song which is so mellowing to listen to. The organist, Garth Hudson (I imagine) just killed it here. This song just gets better the more I listen to it. These post-Motorcycle accident songs drew on many styles of traditional American music which I adore.
Biographer Clinton Heylin wrote in 1990 on the significance of the crash: “A quarter of a century on, Dylan’s motorcycle accident is still viewed as the pivot of his career. As a sudden, abrupt moment when his wheel really did explode. The great irony is that 1967—the year after the accident—remains his most prolific year as a songwriter.“