When Bob Dylan Bailed On Ed Sullivan Over 'Talkin John Birch Blues'

American musician Bob Dylan (born Robert Zimmerman) performs 'Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues' during rehearsals for an apperance on the Ed Sullivan Show, New York, New York, May 12, 1963. After the rehearsal, Dylan was asked to perform a different song

For a 21-year-old Bob Dylan, a shot at playing the Ed Sullivan Show in 1963 was a priceless. It was the biggest of big breaks. Most artists in such a situation would acquiesce to any request from the network, but as we all would learn, Dylan was not "most artists." Loaded with talent and uninterested in compromise, the young folk prodigy from Hibbing, Minnesota, wanted to play "Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues" -- a song that remains obscure in his catalog to this day -- and would not budge.

Dylan had released his self-titled album, his first, on March 19, 1962. The album did not garner much attention after its release, but his second album, Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, was released a year later. “Talkin’ John Birch Blues” also known as “Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues,” and “Talking John Birch Paranoid Blues” was initially recorded for the album.