Bob Dylan: Joey Meaning
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Opened up his eyes to the tune of an accordion
Always on the outside whatever side there was
When they asked him why it had to be that way "Well" he answered "just because".
Joey is a song about mobster Crazy Joe Gallo. Jimmy Breslin wrote a book and movie about Joey Gallo and his efforts to make a name for himself in the upper echelons of the NYC crime scene. The book and movie were called " The Gang that couldn't shoot straight" because every thing they tried wound up a huge fiasco.
Bob Dylan in collaboration with Jaques Levy wrote the song about the good side of Joe Gallo, using artistic license to make it more entertaining.
Those fans who lived outside the 5 Boroughs lose a little bit of interpretation as the areas described in the song , have little meaning to a non- New Yorker!
As a person who was NYC born and raised , I can picture the areas noted in the song.
While non condoning Organized Crime, I can say it's good to have a Mafioso living on your street, as back in the 60s, our street was always safe.
I found Joey to be a fairly accurate description on the life of Joey Gallo, just as Goodfellas is true about the family that ran Queens.
While a lot of people say they hate the Mafia, they sure fill the movie theaters when a **** mob movie is running, and the Sopranos was one of the most popular series on HBO.
So take the song Joey with a grain of salt, just as Hurricane should be and enjoy it for what it is; another great tune from the Master himself, Mr.Bob Dylan
anonymous Aug 28th, 2014 8:01pm report
Are you sure bob wrote all the words? Some say levy wrote the words.
"Joey" Was Bob Dylan's tender tribute to someone you'd never expect him to love or admire: Mafia hood Joe Gallo, a member of the Colombo crime family, known to many as "Crazy Joe."
Why would Dylan admire a thief and killer like Joe Gallo? Partly, it's because Gallo spent a lot of time living in Greenwich Village, Dylan's old stomping ground. Gallo liked hanging around with celebrities (Jerry Orbach of "Law & Order" became a very close friend of his).
Gallo was a truly evil individual, but he had a funny, charming side. Dylan and a lot of other celebs in Greenwich Village took a liking to him.
Another thing that made Gallo admirable in Dylan's eyes: whereas MOST Mafiosi were virulently racist and hated blacks, Joe Gallo got along very well with black men, and worked very closely with black gangsters and drug dealers like Nicky Barnes. That made Gallo seem almost... progressive!
Another point in Gallo's favor, as far as Dylan was concerned: he was not a stereotypically dumb mobster. During his time in prison, he read extensively, and could discuss great literature and philosophy intelligently.
In spite of that, Gallo was a cold-blooded killer who started a gang war. He had crime boss Joe Colombo shot (Colombo was paralyzed for years before finally dying) by one of his black gangster friends. Colombo's friends retaliated by having Joe rubbed out at an Italian restaurant.
EVen though Joe Gallo definitely got what he deserved, Dylan felt sorry for him, and hoped Gallo's killers would get what was coming to them.
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