Quiz about Characters in Bob Dylan Songs
Quiz about Characters in Bob Dylan Songs

Characters in Bob Dylan Songs Trivia Quiz


Can you identify these characters from ten Bob Dylan songs of the 1960s? Some of the figures are fictional, while others are drawn from the pages of history.

A matching quiz by skylarb. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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Author
skylarb
Time
4 mins
Type
Match Quiz
Quiz #
401,139
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
194
Awards
Top 10% Quiz
Last 3 plays: Guest 194 (10/10), bigewalksalone (3/10), Guest 69 (8/10).
Mobile instructions: Press on an answer on the right. Then, press on the gray box it matches on the left.
(a) Drag-and-drop from the right to the left, or (b) click on a right side answer box and then on a left side box to move it.
QuestionsChoices
1. He supported all 27 of his children, "and all their mothers too," before being shot in the head.   
Hollis Brown
2. Something is happening here, but he doesn't know what it is.  
Donald White
3. This young teenager's body was rolled "down a gulf amidst a bloody red rain."  
Emmett Till
4. The lover who just walked out her door has taken all his blankets from the floor.   
Rambling, Gambling Willie
5. He killed a man in '59 "and the hangman's knot must fall."  
Mr. Jones
6. She was beaten to death with a cane.  
Ramona
7. He killed himself, his wife, and his five children on a South Dakota Farm.  
Hattie Carroll
8. This boxer was killed in the ring.  
John Brown
9. He "went off to war to fight on a foreign shore" but came back in a metal brace.  
Baby Blue
10. She has "cracked country lips" and her head "has been twisted and fed / by worthless foam from the mouth."  
Davey Moore






Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. He supported all 27 of his children, "and all their mothers too," before being shot in the head.

Answer: Rambling, Gambling Willie

"Rambling, Gambling Willie" was an outtake from Bob Dylan's 1962 album "Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" and used a melody drawn from "Brennan on the Moor." It was eventually released on "The Bootleg Series 1-3." In the course of the song, Gambling Willie wins a boat and an entire town, though "he wore no rings or fancy things" and "he spread his money far and wide, to help the sick and poor." One night, in a poker game, a man blamed Willie for losing all his money. "He shot poor Willie through the head, which was a tragic fate. / When Willie's cards fell on the floor, they were aces backed with eights."
2. Something is happening here, but he doesn't know what it is.

Answer: Mr. Jones

"Because something is happening here
But you don't know what it is,
Do you, Mister Jones?"

Mr. Jones appears in "Ballad of a Thin Man," which was recorded on Dylan's sixth studio album "Highway 61, Revisited," which was released in 1965. In 1986, at a live performance in Nagoya, Japan, Bob Dylan explained to the audience that he wrote the song "in response to people who ask me questions all the time."
3. This young teenager's body was rolled "down a gulf amidst a bloody red rain."

Answer: Emmett Till

"The Death of Emmett Till" tells the real-life story of the murder and trial of a fourteen-year-old African-American boy in Mississippi. The "trial was a mockery" because on the jury "were men who helped the brothers commit this awful crime."

The song was not released on any studio album, but a demo recording was made available on "The Bootleg Series Vol. 9 - The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964," which was released in October of 2010.
4. The lover who just walked out her door has taken all his blankets from the floor.

Answer: Baby Blue

"All your seasick sailors, they are rowing home.
All your reindeer armies, are all going home.
The lover who just walked out your door
Has taken all his blankets from the floor.
The carpet, too, is moving under you.
And it's all over now, Baby Blue."

The song, "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue," was recorded on "Bringing It All Back Home," Dylan's fifth studio album, released in 1965. Fans and critics have presented numerous possibilities for the identity of Baby Blue, ranging from folksinger Joan Baez to Bob Dylan's own fickle fans.
5. He killed a man in '59 "and the hangman's knot must fall."

Answer: Donald White

Dylan wrote the lyrics to this song and performed it twice in 1962. It was included on a limited-release CD set, "The 50th Anniversary Collection," which was released in 2012 to prevent several of Bob Dylan's recordings from entering the public domain in Europe.

In "Ballad of Donald White," Donald leaves his home in Kansas as a young man and travels to Washington state. Having no education, he turns to a life of crime. He finds temporary peace and belonging in prison, but they cut him loose "to walk upon / Life's hurried tangled road." He begs to be returned to an institution, but the institutions are all overcrowded, and so eventually he kills a man: "For I knew that it would happen / If I wasn't put away."

Donald White, who narrates the song, ends by asking the listener:

"Concerning all the boys that come
Down a road like me,
Are they enemies or victims
Of your society?"
6. She was beaten to death with a cane.

Answer: Hattie Carroll

"The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll" tells the real-life story of an African-American barmaid who was assaulted with a cane by a rich, young tobacco farmer, William Zantzinger. She later died. The killing itself is not presented as the most unjust part of the story, but rather the way the law let Zantzinger get off with nothing but a slap on the wrist.

With dripping sarcasm, the narrator of the song tells of how the judge "handed out strongly, for penalty and repentance, / William Zanzinger with a six-month sentence." It is upon the revelation of this light sentence that the narrator tells his listeners to "bury the rag deep in your face / For now is the time for your tears."

This song was included on the album "The Times They Are A Changin'," which was released in 1964.
7. He killed himself, his wife, and his five children on a South Dakota Farm.

Answer: Hollis Brown

In the haunting "Ballad of Hollis Brown," a man struggles to feed his wife and children, who "are so hungry / that they don't know how to smile." But despite his best efforts, he can't find work, and bad luck turns to worse. So he eventually grabs hold of his shotgun and commits murder-suicide:

"Seven shots ring out
Like the ocean's pounding road
There's seven people dead
On a South Dakota farm
...Somewhere in the distance
There's seven new people born."

The song was released on Dylan's third studio album, "The Times They Are A-Changin'," in 1964.
8. This boxer was killed in the ring.

Answer: Davey Moore

"Who killed Davey Moore," the song opens. "Why an' what's the reason for?" Everyone from the referee to the crowd to the manager denies culpability in the boxer's death: "It wasn't me that made him fall. / No you can't blame me at all."

Dylan began performing this song live in 1963. An October 1964 version was released on "The Bootleg Series Vol. 6: Bob Dylan Live 1964, Concert at Philharmonic Hall," which was released in 2004.
9. He "went off to war to fight on a foreign shore" but came back in a metal brace.

Answer: John Brown

This anti-war song, named for its title character, was written in 1962. The song was performed in public but never recorded on any of Dylan's studio albums. A demo version is included on "The Bootleg Series Vol. 9 - The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964," which was released in 2010.

In the song, a soldier name John Brown goes off to war as his mother boasts of his bravery and honor. But when he returns, he tells his mother that his enemy's eyes "looked just like mine" and that he "couldn't help but think, through the thunder rolling and stink" that he was but "a puppet in a play." Then he calls his mother close and drops "hid medals down into her hand."
10. She has "cracked country lips" and her head "has been twisted and fed / by worthless foam from the mouth."

Answer: Ramona

In "To Ramona," the narrator addresses a woman whose "magnetic movements / still capture the minutes" he's in. Unfortunately, however, Ramona is struggling "to be a part of / a world that just don't exist."

The song was included on "Another Side of Bob Dylan," the musician's fourth studio album, which was released in 1964.
Source: Author skylarb

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Related Quizzes
This quiz is part of series Thematic Bob Dylan Quizzes:

Quizzes on the music of Bob Dylan centered around various themes. These are the quizzes that don't fit into my individual song series.

  1. Dylan & Literary Influence Average
  2. Biblical Allusion in Dylan's Lyrics Tough
  3. Numbers in Dylan's Lyrics Average
  4. About Bob Dylan's Songs Average
  5. Dylan Covers Tough
  6. Mathematical Dylan Average
  7. Characters in Bob Dylan Songs Average

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