Bob Dylan reveals new album contains song about Titanic

The 14-minute title track of Tempest, due out in September 2012, refers to Leonardo DiCaprio and tells 'its own kind of truth' about the shipwreck

Bob Dylan's new album started out as an album of "religious songs", he revealed this week. But it ended up something very different: a record where "anything goes", including a reference to Leonard DiCaprio in a song about the Titanic.

"I don't think the song would be the same without him, or the movie," Dylan said in an interview with Rolling Stone. DiCaprio features on the title track of Tempest, a 14-minute ode to arguably the greatest shipwreck of all time. Dylan built the song using a melody borrowed from the country music pioneers the Carter Family, who wrote their own tune about the ship's sinking. "I was just fooling with that one night," he said. "I liked that melody – I liked it a lot. 'Maybe I'm gonna appropriate this melody.' But where would I go with it?"

Tempest was originally a concept album: a collection of songs on the theme of faith. "I wanted to make something more religious," Dylan said. "Specifically religious songs is what I wanted to do … [But] I just didn't have enough … [It] takes a lot more concentration to pull [something] off 10 times with the same thread than it does with a record like I ended up with."

Dylan was laid-back when it came to researching the Titanic. Despite the amount of Titanic-related material available, the 71-year-old seems to have mostly made it up. "People are going to say: 'Well, it's not very truthful,'" he said. "But a songwriter doesn't care about what's truthful. What he cares about is what should've happened, what could've happened. That's its own kind of truth."

If nothing else, there will be some heartfelt truth to Tempest's final song, Roll On, John. This track is allegedly a tribute to Dylan's late friend, John Lennon.

Tempest will be released on 10 September.


Sean Michaels

The GuardianTramp

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