PBS and NPR for Southwest Florida
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Song of the Day for March 4: I Shall Be Released by Bob Dylan

Martha Stewart, accompanied by Walter Dellinger, right, her appeals lawyer, leaves federal court in New York, Thursday March 17, 2005. Stewart is seeking to convince a three-judge appeals panel to overturn her conviction for lying to the government. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Martha Stewart became the first self-made female billionaire in the United States when her company went public in 1999. But it was a nearly $229 thousand dollar stock trade that sent her to federal prison for five months.

On March 4, 2005, Stewart left the West Virginia prison called Camp Cupcake, and spent the next five months confined to her 153-acre estate in Bedford, New York.

Martha Stewart was already a TV star and successful cookbook author when she was found guilty of four counts of obstruction of justice and lying. The government tossed out the charge of security fraud. The charge claimed she received insider information that the FDA wouldn’t approve a new cancer drug from ImClone System. She sold her nearly 4 thousand shares the day before the FDA’s announcement, and the stock fell. The sale saved her over 51 thousand dollars.

Bob Dylan wrote the song of the day, “I Shall Be Released,” in 1967, but he wasn’t the first to record it. English singer Boz recorded it in May of 1968. The Band released it in July 1968 on their debut album “From Big Pink”. Dylan finally released it on his “Greatest Hits: Vol. 2” album in 1971.

Dylan’s biographer, Robert Shelton, said it was about his self-reflection after a motorcycle accident and his search for personal salvation.

Martha Stewart’s business empire not only thrived during her time in prison, but it quadrupled in value. Her brand continues to flourish, though the former billionaire’s net worth is estimated now at a paltry $400 million dollars.

Listen to more Songs of the Day