* Knocking on Heaven's Door (천국의 문을 두드리며) / Bob Dylan
* Knocking on Heaven's Door / Avril Lavigne (live performans)
* knocking on Heaven's Door / Avril Lavigne (LIVE)
* Knocking on Heaven's Door / Heaven
* Knocking on Heaven's Door / Jordis Unga (live)
* Knocking on Heavens Door (Bob Dylan) / Randy Crawford
* Knocking on Heaven's Door / Ashley Coulter
1973년 영화 <Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid>의 주제가Knockin' on Heaven's Door / Bob Dylan, Avril Lavigne, Heaven, Jordis Unga, Randy Crawford, Ashley Coulter
*Knocking on Heaven's Door / (lyrics)
Mama, take this badge off of me
I can't use it anymore.
It's gettin' dark, too dark for me to see
I feel like I'm knockin' on heaven's door.
어머니, 이 뱃지(*군인의 훈장)를 떼주세요.
더 이상 제게 필요가 없어요.
날이 점점 어두워지네요 너무 어두워서 앞을 볼 수가 없어요.
제가 지금 천국의 문을 두드리고 있는 것처럼 느껴져요.
Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door
Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door
Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door
Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door
천국의 문을 두드리고 있어요. (x4)
Mama, put my guns in the ground
I can't shoot them anymore.
That cold black cloud is comin' down
I feel like I'm knockin' on heaven's door.
어머니, 제 총을 바닥에 내려주세요.
더 이상 사람들을 쏠 수가 없어요.
차가운 검은 구름이 몰려오고 있어요.
제가 지금 천국의 문을 두드리고 있는 것처럼 느껴져요.
*Bob Dylan이 베트남 반전운동 시기에 발표하여 전세계 젊은이들의 애창곡 이었으며노래 내용은 전쟁에서 불구가 되서 돌아 온 병사가 전쟁에 대한 죄책감에 시달리며, 자신을 구해달라는 내용의 가사다.
*1973년 영화 <Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid>의 주제가
Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid
original film poster
Sam Peckinpah Produced by
Gordon Carroll Written by
Rudy Wurlitzer Starring
Bob Dylan Cinematography
John Coquillon Editing by
Roger Spottiswoode Distributed by
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (original release)
Warner Bros. (DVD)
May 23, 1973 US Running time
Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid is a 1973 Western film directed by Sam Peckinpah and starring James Coburn and Kris Kristofferson. Co-star Bob Dylan composed multiple songs for the movie's score and the album Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid was released the same year.
The film was noted for behind-the-scenes battles between Peckinpah and production company Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Soon after completion, the film was taken away from the director and substantially re-edited, resulting in a truncated version released to the theaters and largely disowned by cast and crew members. Peckinpah's director's cut was released on video in 1988, leading to a reevaluation, with many critics hailing it as a mistreated classic and one of the era's best films.
In late 1880, Pat Garrett becomes sheriff of Lincoln County, New Mexico, where Governor Lew Wallace expects him to go after an old friend, the wanted-dead-or-alive outlaw William Bonney, a.k.a. Billy the Kid.
Garrett and a pack of deputies trap Billy in a hideout, killing young Charlie Bowdre and forcing Billy to surrender. A brutal and self-righteous deputy, Bob Ollinger, taunts and beats Billy as the hangman's gallows are built in town, but a second deputy standing guard, J.W. Bell considers himself to be, like Garrett, one of Billy's friends. With a gun hidden for him in an outhouse, Billy gets the drop on Bell and shoots him in the back. He uses Ollinger's shotgun, loaded with dimes, to dispose of him, saying: "Keep the change, Bob."
A distressed Garrett begins appointing other men to help him hunt for Billy. It leads to the death of Sheriff Baker in a gunfight with men from Billy's gang and a similar fate for Alamosa Bill, who is killed by Billy in a duel.
On the run, Billy is aided by Alias, a soft-spoken young man who is deadly with a knife. It seems nobody is going to be able to find and kill Billy, but one quiet night near Fort Sumner, the relentless Garrett is able to do both.
The screenplay of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid was written by Rudy Wurlitzer and was originally intended to be directed by Monte Hellman. The two had previously worked together on the acclaimed film Two-Lane Blacktop (1971). Sam Peckinpah became involved through the actor James Coburn, who wanted to play the legendary sheriff Pat Garrett.
Peckinpah believed this was his chance to make a definitive statement on the Western genre, and complete the revision he had begun with Ride the High Country (1962) and The Wild Bunch (1969). Working with Wurlitzer, he rewrote the script in order to create a more cyclical narrative, and added a prologue and epilogue depicting Garrett's own assassination at the hands of the men who hired him to kill Billy the Kid. In the original script, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid never met onscreen until the film's conclusion, and Wurlitzer reportedly resented Peckinpah's reworking of the narrative. Wurlitzer and Peckinpah had a strained relationship, and Wurlitzer would later write a book highly unfavorable to Peckinpah.
After having initially considered Bo Hopkins for the part of Billy, Peckinpah eventually cast country music star Kris Kristofferson as the outlaw. Kristofferson was 36 when the film was made, playing 21-year-old Billy. Kristofferson's band would play small roles along with his then-wife Rita Coolidge. Kristofferson also brought Bob Dylan into the film. Initially hired to write the title song, Dylan eventually wrote the score and played the small role of "Alias". Peckinpah had never heard of Dylan before, but was reportedly moved by hearing Dylan play the proposed title song and hired him immediately. Among the songs written by Dylan for the film was "Knockin' on Heaven's Door," still regarded as one of rock music's most enduring anthems.
Peckinpah deliberately cast his film's supporting roles with legendary Western character actors such as Chill Wills, Katy Jurado, Jack Elam, Slim Pickens, Barry Sullivan, Dub Taylor, R.G. Armstrong, Elisha Cook, Jr. and Paul Fix. Jason Robards, who had starred in Peckinpah's earlier films, the television production Noon Wine (1966) andThe Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970), had a cameo appearance as the governor. The large supporting cast also included Richard Jaeckel, Charles Martin Smith, Harry Dean Stanton, Matt Clark, L.Q. Jones, Emilio Fernández, Aurora Clavel, Luke Askew, Jack Dodson, Richard Bright and John Beck.
From the beginning, the film was plagued with production difficulties. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's President James Aubrey, for economic reasons, refused to give Peckinpah the time or budget required, forcing the director to rely on local crew members in the Mexican state of Durango. Multiple technical problems, including malfunctioning cameras, led to costly reshoots. Cast and crew members also came down with influenza. Aubrey objected to several scenes he considered superfluous to the film's plot, and Peckinpah and his crew reportedly worked weekends and lunch hours in order to secretly complete the sequences. Aubrey began to send telegrams to the set complaining about the number of camera setups Peckinpah used and the time spent to shoot specific scenes. According to the producer Gordon Carroll, the movie's set was "a battleground."
Peckinpah was plagued by alcoholism, which he would struggle with for the remainder of his life. This, combined with his clashes with Aubrey and the studio led to Peckinpah's growing reputation as a difficult, unreliable filmmaker. Reportedly, when Dylan first arrived on the set, he and Kristofferson sat to watch dailies with Peckinpah. The director was so unhappy with the footage, he angrily stood on a folding chair and urinated on the screen. Similar stories began to reach Hollywood, prompting Peckinpah to purchase a full-page ad in the Hollywood Reporter mocking the rumors and the brass at MGM. Hollywood producers were not amused. The film finished 21 days behind schedule and $1.6 million over budget.
By the time Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid was in the editing room, Peckinpah's relationship with the studio and his own producers had reached the breaking point. Aubrey, enraged by the cost and production overruns, demanded the film for an unrealistic release date. Peckinpah and his editors were forced into a desperate situation in order to finish on time. Furthermore, Aubrey still objected to several sequences in the film which he wanted removed, forcing Peckinpah to engage in protracted negotiations over the film's content. Adding to the problems, Bob Dylan had never done a feature film score before and Peckinpah's usual composer, Jerry Fielding, was unhappy with being relegated to a minor role in the scoring process.
Peckinpah did complete a director's cut of the film, which was shown to critics on at least one occasion. Martin Scorsese, who had just made Mean Streets (1973), was at the screening, and praised the film as Peckinpah's greatest since The Wild Bunch.
This version, however, would not see the light of day for over ten years. Peckinpah was eventually forced out of the production and Aubrey had the film severely cut from 124 to 106 minutes, resulting in Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid being released in a truncated version largely disowned by cast and crew members. This version was a box-office failure and was panned by most major critics, who had harbored high expectations for the director's first Western since The Wild Bunch. Roger Ebert rated the film two stars out of four, beginning his review with "Sam Peckinpah attempted to have his name removed from Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. I sympathized with him. If this wasn't entirely his work, he shouldn't have had to take the blame." Ebert went on to note, "Another alarming factor is that no less than six editors are credited. Not assistant editors, but editors; this sets a modern-day record, I think. My guess is that there was an argument over the movie's final form, and that Peckinpah and MGM platooned editors at each other during the battle. You'd think the executives would have figured out that their only chance was to release the movie as Peckinpah made it; audiences were more interested in the new Peckinpah film than in still another rehash of Billy the Kid."
The film remained something of an enigma for the next decade, with rumors flying about other versions and the nature of what had been left out of the release version. Peckinpah himself was in possession of his own director's cut, which he often showed to friends as his own definitive vision of the film.
In 1988, Turner Home Entertainment, with distribution by MGM, released Peckinpah's director's cut of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid on video and Laserdisc. This version led to a rediscovery and reevaluation of the film, with many critics praising it as a lost masterpiece and proof of Peckinpah's vision as a filmmaker at this time. The film's reputation has grown substantially since this version was released, and the film has come to be regarded as something of a modern classic, equal in many ways to Peckinpah's earlier films. Kristofferson noted in an interview, though, that Peckinpah had felt Dylan had been pushed on him by the studio and thus left "Knocking on Heaven's Door" out of the director's cut. In Kristofferson's opinion, "Heaven's Door" "was the strongest use of music that I had ever seen in a film. Unfortunately Sam ... had a blind spot there."
In 2005, a DVD of the film distributed by Warner Brothers was released containing the director's cut as well as a new special edition which combined elements of the theatrical version, the director's cut and several new scenes left out of both versions. This third version of the film runs slightly shorter than the director's cut.
* Bob Dylan
Dylan onstage at the Azkena Rock Festival, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain, June 26, 2010
Background information Birth name
Robert Allen Zimmerman Also known as
Robert Dylan, Rob Dylan, Elston Gunnn, Blind Boy Grunt, Bob Landy, Robert Milkwood Thomas, Tedham Porterhouse, Lucky/Boo Wilbury, Jack Frost, Sergei Petrov Born
May 24, 1941 (1941-05-24)
Duluth, Minnesota, U.S.
Hibbing, Minnesota, U.S. Genres
Rock, folk, folk rock, blues, country, gospel, country rock Occupations
Musician, songwriter, producer, visual artist, poet, writer, director, screenwriter Instruments
Vocals, guitar, harmonica, piano, keyboard, bass Years active
Columbia, Asylum Associated acts
Traveling Wilburys, The Band, Joan Baez, Grateful Dead, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Website
20세기 영국 대중음악계에 비틀즈 (The Beatles)가 있다면, 미국에는 밥 딜런 (Bob Dylan)이 있습니다. 밥 딜런은 1941년생으로 대중음악의 영역을 넘어 20세기에 사회전반적으로 가장 큰 영향력을 끼친 인물 중 하나입니다. 밥 딜런은 1960년대부터 활발하게 음악활동을 전개해오면서 Blowin’ in the Wind, Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door, Like a Rolling Stone과 같은 기념비적인 노래를 만들었습니다. 특히 Knockin' on Heaven's Door는 1973년 영화 <Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid>의 주제가로 발표된 이래, 현재까지도 수많은 아티스트들이 리메이크해 부르고 있죠. 비음 섞인 독특한 목소리, 시대와 사회에 대한 저항을 철학적 사유와 뛰어난 감수성으로 풀어낸 노랫말로 잘 알려진 밥 딜런은 20세기 대중음악의 아이콘입니다. 또한, 인종차별반대, 반전, 반핵 등 사회성이 짙은 가사와 포크음악과 락 음악을 비롯해 다양한 장르의 음악을 결합해온 가히 혁명적인 뮤지션이기도 합니다.
Bob Dylan ( /ˈdɪlən/, born Robert Allen Zimmerman on May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, musician, poet, film director and painter. He has been a major and profoundly influential figure in popular music and culture for five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when he was an informal chronicler and a seemingly reluctant figurehead of social unrest. A number of his early songs such as "Blowin' in the Wind" and "The Times They Are a-Changin'" became anthems for the US civil rights and anti-war movements. Leaving his initial base in the culture of folk music behind, Dylan proceeded to revolutionize perceptions of the limits of popular music in 1965 with the six-minute single "Like a Rolling Stone".
His lyrics incorporated a variety of political, social, philosophical, and literary influences. They defied existing pop music conventions and appealed hugely to the then burgeoning counterculture. Initially inspired by the songs of Woody Guthrie, Robert Johnson, Hank Williams, and the performance styles of Buddy Holly and Little Richard, Dylan has both amplified and personalized musical genres. His recording career, spanning fifty years, has explored numerous distinct traditions in American song—from folk, blues and country to gospel, rock and roll, and rockabilly, to English, Scottish, and Irish folk music, embracing even jazz and swing.
Dylan performs with guitar, keyboards, and harmonica. Backed by a changing line-up of musicians, he has toured steadily since the late 1980s on what has been dubbed the Never Ending Tour. His accomplishments as a recording artist and performer have been central to his career, but his greatest contribution is generally considered to be his songwriting.
Since 1994, Dylan has published three books of drawings and paintings, and his work has been exhibited in major art galleries. As a songwriter and musician, Dylan has received numerous awards over the years including Grammy, Golden Globe, and Academy Awards; he has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2005, the street on which Dylan grew up in Hibbing, Minnesota, was formally re-named Bob Dylan Drive. In 2008, a road called the Bob Dylan Pathway was opened in the singer's honor in his birthplace of Duluth, Minnesota. The Pulitzer Prize jury in 2008 awarded him a special citation for "his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power."
Robert Allen Zimmerman (Hebrew name שבתי זסאל בן אברהם [Shabtai Zisel ben Avraham]) was born in St. Mary's Hospital on May 24, 1941, in Duluth, Minnesota, and raised in Hibbing, Minnesota, on the Mesabi Iron Range west of Lake Superior. His paternal grandparents, Zigman and Anna Zimmerman, emigrated from Odessa in the Russian Empire (now Ukraine) to the United States following the anti-Semitic pogroms of 1905. His maternal grandparents, Benjamin and Lybba Edelstein, were Lithuanian Jews who arrived in the United States in 1902. In his autobiography Chronicles: Volume one, Dylan writes that his paternal grandmother's maiden name was Kyrgyz and her family originated from Kars, Turkey.
Dylan's parents, Abram Zimmerman and Beatrice "Beatty" Stone, were part of the area's small but close-knit Jewish community. Robert Zimmerman lived in Duluth until age six, when his father was stricken with polio and the family returned to his mother's home town, Hibbing, where Zimmerman spent the rest of his childhood. Robert Zimmerman spent much of his youth listening to the radio—first to blues and country stations broadcasting from Shreveport, Louisiana and, later, to early rock and roll. He formed several bands while he attended Hibbing High School. The Shadow Blasters was short-lived, but his next, The Golden Chords, lasted longer and played covers of popular songs. Their performance of Danny and the Juniors' "Rock and Roll Is Here to Stay" at their high school talent show was so loud that the principal cut the microphone off. In his 1959 school yearbook, Robert Zimmerman listed as his ambition "To follow Little Richard." The same year, using the name Elston Gunnn [sic], he performed two dates with Bobby Vee, playing piano and providing handclaps.
Zimmerman moved to Minneapolis in September 1959 and enrolled at the University of Minnesota, where his early focus on rock and roll gave way to an interest in American folk music. In 1985, Dylan explained the attraction that folk music had exerted on him:
The thing about rock'n'roll is that for me anyway it wasn't enough ... There were great catch-phrases and driving pulse rhythms ... but the songs weren't serious or didn't reflect life in a realistic way. I knew that when I got into folk music, it was more of a serious type of thing. The songs are filled with more despair, more sadness, more triumph, more faith in the supernatural, much deeper feelings.
During his Dinkytown days, Zimmerman began introducing himself as "Bob Dylan". In his autobiography, Dylan acknowledged that he had been influenced by the poetry of Dylan Thomas. Explaining his change of name in a 2004 interview, Dylan remarked: "You're born, you know, the wrong names, wrong parents. I mean, that happens. You call yourself what you want to call yourself. This is the land of the free."
Dylan dropped out of college at the end of his freshman year. In January 1961, he travelled to New York City, hoping to perform there and visit his musical idol Woody Guthrie, who was seriously ill with Huntington's Disease in Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital. Guthrie had been a revelation to Dylan and was the biggest influence on his early performances. Describing Guthrie's impact on him, Dylan later wrote: "The songs themselves had the infinite sweep of humanity in them ... [He] was the true voice of the American spirit. I said to myself I was going to be Guthrie's greatest disciple." As well as visiting Guthrie in the hospital, Dylan befriended Guthrie's acolyte Ramblin' Jack Elliott. Much of Guthrie's repertoire was actually channeled through Elliott, and Dylan paid tribute to Elliott in Chronicles (2004).
From February 1961, Dylan played at various clubs around Greenwich Village. In September, he gained some public recognition when Robert Shelton wrote a positive review in The New York Times of a show at Gerde's Folk City. The same month Dylan played harmonica on folk singer Carolyn Hester's eponymous third album, which brought his talents to the attention of the album's producer John Hammond. Hammond signed Dylan to Columbia Records in October. The performances on his first Columbia album, Bob Dylan (1962), consisted of familiar folk, blues and gospel material combined with two original compositions. The album made little impact, selling only 5,000 copies in its first year, just enough to break even. Within Columbia Records, some referred to the singer as "Hammond's Folly" and suggested dropping his contract. Hammond defended Dylan vigorously. In March 1962, Dylan contributed harmonica and back-up vocals to the album Three Kings and the Queen, accompanying Victoria Spivey and Big Joe Williams on a recording for Spivey Records. While working for Columbia, Dylan also recorded several songs under the pseudonym Blind Boy Grunt, for Broadside Magazine, a folk music magazine and record label. Dylan used the pseudonym Bob Landy to record as a piano player on the 1964 anthology album, The Blues Project, issued by Elektra Records. Under the pseudonym Tedham Porterhouse, Dylan contributed harmonica to Ramblin' Jack Elliott's 1964 album Jack Elliott.
Dylan made two important career moves in August 1962. He legally changed his name to Bob Dylan, and signed a management contract with Albert Grossman. Grossman remained Dylan's manager until 1970, and was notable both for his sometimes confrontational personality, and for the fiercely protective loyalty he displayed towards his principal client. Dylan subsequently said of Grossman, "He was kind of like a Colonel Tom Parker figure ... you could smell him coming." Tensions between Grossman and John Hammond led to Hammond being replaced as the producer of Dylan's second album by the young African American jazz producer Tom Wilson.
From December 1962 to January 1963, Dylan made his first trip to the United Kingdom. He had been invited by TV director Philip Saville to appear in a drama, The Madhouse on Castle Street, which Saville was directing for BBC Television. At the end of the play, Dylan performed "Blowin' in the Wind", one of the first major public performances of the song. The recording of The Madhouse on Castle Street was wiped by the BBC in 1968. While in London, Dylan performed at several London folk clubs, including Les Cousins, The Pinder of Wakefield, and Bunjies. He also learned new songs from several UK performers, including Martin Carthy.
By the time Dylan's second album, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, was released in May 1963, he had begun to make his name as both a singer and a songwriter. Many of the songs on this album were labeled protest songs, inspired partly by Guthrie and influenced by Pete Seeger's passion for topical songs. "Oxford Town", for example, was a sardonic account of James Meredith's ordeal as the first black student to risk enrollment at the University of Mississippi.
His most famous song at this time, "Blowin' in the Wind", partially derived its melody from the traditional slave song "No More Auction Block", while its lyrics questioned the social and political status quo. The song was widely recorded and became an international hit for Peter, Paul and Mary, setting a precedent for many other artists who had hits with Dylan's songs. "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall" was based on the tune of the folk ballad "Lord Randall". With its veiled references to nuclear apocalypse, it gained even more resonance when the Cuban missile crisis developed only a few weeks after Dylan began performing it. Like "Blowin' in the Wind", "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall" marked an important new direction in modern songwriting, blending a stream-of-consciousness, imagist lyrical attack with a traditional folk form.
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While Dylan's topical songs solidified his early reputation, Freewheelin' also included a mixture of love songs and jokey, surreal talking blues. Humor was a large part of Dylan's persona, and the range of material on the album impressed many listeners, including The Beatles. George Harrison said, "We just played it, just wore it out. The content of the song lyrics and just the attitude—it was incredibly original and wonderful."
The rough edge of Dylan's singing was unsettling to some early listeners but an attraction to others. Describing the impact that Dylan had on her and her husband, Joyce Carol Oates wrote: "When we first heard this raw, very young, and seemingly untrained voice, frankly nasal, as if sandpaper could sing, the effect was dramatic and electrifying." Many of his most famous early songs first reached the public through more immediately palatable versions by other performers, such as Joan Baez, who became Dylan's advocate, as well as his lover. Baez was influential in bringing Dylan to national and international prominence by recording several of his early songs and inviting him onstage during her own concerts.
Others who recorded and had hits with Dylan's songs in the early and mid-1960s included The Byrds; Sonny and Cher; The Hollies; Peter, Paul and Mary; The Association; Manfred Mann; and The Turtles. Most attempted to impart a pop feel and rhythm to the songs, while Dylan and Baez performed them mostly as sparse folk pieces. The cover versions became so ubiquitous that CBS started to promote him with the tag "Nobody Sings Dylan Like Dylan."
"Mixed Up Confusion", recorded during the Freewheelin' sessions with a backing band, was released as a single and then quickly withdrawn. In contrast to the mostly solo acoustic performances on the album, the single showed a willingness to experiment with a rockabilly sound. Cameron Crowe described it as "a fascinating look at a folk artist with his mind wandering towards Elvis Presley and Sun Records."
In May 1963, Dylan's political profile was raised when he walked out of The Ed Sullivan Show. During rehearsals, Dylan had been informed by CBS Television's "head of program practices" that the song he was planning to perform, "Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues", was potentially libelous to the John Birch Society. Rather than comply with the censorship, Dylan refused to appear on the program.
Dylan said of "The Times They Are a-Changin'": "This was definitely a song with a purpose. I wanted to write a big song, some kind of theme song, with short concise verses that piled up on each other in a hypnotic way. The civil rights movement and the folk music movement were pretty close and allied together at that time."
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By this time, Dylan and Baez were both prominent in the civil rights movement, singing together at the March on Washington on August 28, 1963. Dylan's third album, The Times They Are a-Changin', reflected a more politicized and cynical Dylan. The songs often took as their subject matter contemporary, real life stories, with only A Pawn In Their Game" addressing the murder of civil rights worker Medgar Evers; and the Brechtian "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll" the death of black hotel barmaid Hattie Carroll, at the hands of young white socialite William Zantzinger. on a more general theme, "Ballad of Hollis Brown" and "North Country Blues" address the despair engendered by the breakdown of farming and mining communities. This political material was accompanied by two personal love songs, "Boots of Spanish Leather" and one Too Many Mornings".
By the end of 1963, Dylan felt both manipulated and constrained by the folk and protest movements. These tensions were publicly displayed when, accepting the "Tom Paine Award" from the National Emergency Civil Liberties Committee shortly after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, an intoxicated Dylan brashly questioned the role of the committee, characterized the members as old and balding, and claimed to see something of himself (and of every man) in Kennedy's alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald.
Another Side of Bob Dylan, recorded on a single June evening in 1964, had a lighter mood than its predecessor. The surreal, humorous Dylan reemerged on "I Shall Be Free #10" and "Motorpsycho Nightmare". "Spanish Harlem Incident" and "To Ramona" are romantic and passionate love songs, while "Black Crow Blues" and "I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met)" suggest the rock and roll soon to dominate Dylan's music. "It Ain't Me Babe", on the surface a song about spurned love, has been described as a rejection of the role his reputation had thrust at him. His newest direction was signaled by two lengthy songs: the impressionistic "Chimes of Freedom," which sets elements of social commentary against a denser metaphorical landscape in a style later characterized by Allen Ginsberg as "chains of flashing images," and "My Back Pages," which attacks the simplistic and arch seriousness of his own earlier topical songs and seems to predict the backlash he was about to encounter from his former champions as he took a new direction.
In the latter half of 1964 and 1965, Dylan's appearance and musical style changed rapidly, as he made his move from leading contemporary songwriter of the folk scene to folk-rock pop-music star. His scruffy jeans and work shirts were replaced by a Carnaby Street wardrobe, sunglasses day or night, and pointy "Beatle boots". A London reporter wrote: "Hair that would set the teeth of a comb on edge. A loud shirt that would dim the neon lights of Leicester Square. He looks like an undernourished cockatoo." Dylan also began to spar in increasingly surreal ways with his interviewers. Appearing on the Les Crane TV show and asked about a movie he was planning to make, he told Crane it would be a cowboy horror movie. Asked if he played the cowboy, Dylan replied, "No, I play my mother."
Dylan's April 1965 album Bringing It All Back Home was yet another stylistic leap, featuring his first recordings made with electric instruments. The first single, "Subterranean Homesick Blues", owed much to Chuck Berry's "Too Much Monkey Business"; its free association lyrics have been described as both harkening back to the manic energy of Beat poetry and as a forerunner of rap and hip-hop. The song was provided with an early music video which opened D. A. Pennebaker's cinéma vérité presentation of Dylan's 1965 tour of England, Dont Look Back. Instead of miming to the recording, Dylan illustrated the lyrics by throwing cue cards containing key words from the song on the ground. Pennebaker has said the sequence was Dylan's idea, and it has been widely imitated in both music videos and advertisements.
The B side of Bringing It All Back Home consisted of four long songs on which Dylan accompanied himself on acoustic guitar and harmonica. "Mr. Tambourine Man" quickly became one of Dylan's best known songs when The Byrds recorded an electric version that reached number one in both the U.S. and the U.K. charts. "It's All Over Now Baby Blue" and "It's Alright Ma (I'm only Bleeding)" were acclaimed as two of Dylan's most important compositions.
In the summer of 1965, as the headliner at the Newport Folk Festival, Dylan performed his first electric set since his high school days with a pickup group drawn mostly from the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, featuring Mike Bloomfield (guitar), Sam Lay (drums) and Jerome Arnold (bass), plus Al Kooper (organ) and Barry Goldberg (piano). Dylan had appeared at Newport in 1963 and 1964, but in 1965 Dylan, met with a mix of cheering and booing, left the stage after only three songs. one version of the legend has it that the boos were from the outraged folk fans whom Dylan had alienated by appearing, unexpectedly, with an electric guitar. Murray Lerner, who filmed the performance, said: "I absolutely think that they were booing Dylan going electric." An alternative account claims audience members were merely upset by poor sound quality and a surprisingly short set. This account is supported by Kooper and one of the directors of the festival, who reports his audio recording of the concert proves that the only boos were in reaction to the emcee's announcement that there was only enough time for a short set.
Nevertheless, Dylan's 1965 Newport performance provoked a hostile response from the folk music establishment. In the September issue of Sing Out!, singer Ewan MacColl wrote: "Our traditional songs and ballads are the creations of extraordinarily talented artists working inside disciplines formulated over time... 'But what of Bobby Dylan?' scream the outraged teenagers... only a completely non-critical audience, nourished on the watery pap of pop music, could have fallen for such tenth-rate drivel." on July 29, just four days after his controversial performance at Newport, Dylan was back in the studio in New York, recording "Positively 4th Street". The lyrics teemed with images of vengeance and paranoia, and it was widely interpreted as Dylan's put-down of former friends from the folk community—friends he had known in the clubs along West 4th Street.
Dylan's 1965 hit single, which appeared on the album Highway 61 Revisited. In 2004, it was labelled the Greatest Song of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine.
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In July 1965, Dylan released the single "Like a Rolling Stone", which peaked at No.2 in the U.S. and at No.4 in the UK charts. At over six minutes, the song has been widely credited with altering attitudes about what a pop single could convey. Bruce Springsteen, in his speech during Dylan's inauguration into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame said that on first hearing the single, "that snare shot sounded like somebody'd kicked open the door to your mind". In 2004, and again in 2011, Rolling Stone Magazine listed it as number one on its list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". The song also opened Dylan's next album, Highway 61 Revisited, titled after the road that led from Dylan's Minnesota to the musical hotbed of New Orleans. The songs were in the same vein as the hit single, flavored by Mike Bloomfield's blues guitar and Al Kooper's organ riffs. "Desolation Row" offers the sole acoustic exception, with Dylan making surreal allusions to a variety of figures in Western culture during this epic song, which was described by Andy Gill as "an 11-minute epic of entropy, which takes the form of a Fellini-esque parade of grotesques and oddities featuring a huge cast of celebrated characters, some historical (Einstein, Nero), some biblical (Noah, Cain and Abel), some fictional (Ophelia, Romeo, Cinderella), some literary (T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound), and some who fit into none of the above categories, notably Dr. Filth and his dubious nurse."
In support of the record, Dylan was booked for two U.S. concerts and set about assembling a band. Mike Bloomfield was unwilling to leave the Butterfield Band, so Dylan mixed Al Kooper and Harvey Brooks from his studio crew with bar-band stalwarts Robbie Robertson and Levon Helm, best known at the time for being part of Ronnie Hawkins's backing band The Hawks (later to become The Band). on August 28 at Forest Hills Tennis Stadium, the group was heckled by an audience still annoyed by Dylan's electric sound. The band's reception on September 3 at the Hollywood Bowl was more favorable.
While Dylan and the Hawks met increasingly receptive audiences on tour, their studio efforts floundered. Producer Bob Johnston persuaded Dylan to record in Nashville in February 1966, and surrounded him with a cadre of top-notch session men. At Dylan's insistence, Robertson and Kooper came down from New York City to play on the sessions. The Nashville sessions produced the double-album Blonde on Blonde (1966), featuring what Dylan later called "that thin wild mercury sound". Al Kooper described the album as "taking two cultures and smashing them together with a huge explosion": the musical world of Nashville and the world of the "quintessential New York hipster" Bob Dylan.
On November 22, 1965, Dylan secretly married 25-year-old former model Sara Lownds. Some of Dylan's friends (including Ramblin' Jack Elliott) claim that, in conversation immediately after the event, Dylan denied that he was married. Journalist Nora Ephron first made the news public in the New York Post in February 1966 with the headline "Hush! Bob Dylan is wed."
Dylan undertook a world tour of Australia and Europe in the spring of 1966. Each show was split into two parts. Dylan performed solo during the first half, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar and harmonica. In the second half, backed by the Hawks, he played high voltage electric music. This contrast provoked many fans, who jeered and slow handclapped. The tour culminated in a famously raucous confrontation between Dylan and his audience at the Manchester Free Trade Hall in England on May 17, 1966. An official recording of this concert was finally released in 1998: The Bootleg Series Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live 1966. At the climax of the evening, a member of the audience, angered by Dylan's electric backing, shouted: "Judas!" to which Dylan responded, "I don't believe you ... You're a liar!" Dylan turned to his band and said, "Play it fucking loud!" as they launched into the final song of the night—"Like a Rolling Stone."
During his 1966 tour, Dylan was frequently described as exhausted and acting "as if on a death trip". D. A. Pennebaker, the film maker accompanying the tour, described Dylan as "taking a lot of amphetamine and who-knows-what-else." In a 1969 interview with Jann Wenner, Dylan said, "I was on the road for almost five years. It wore me down. I was on drugs, a lot of things... just to keep going, you know?" In 2011, BBC Radio 4 reported that, in an interview which Robert Shelton had taped in 1966, Dylan claimed that he had kicked a heroin habit in New York City: "I got very, very strung out for a while... I had about a $25-a-day habit and I kicked it." Some journalists questioned the validity of this confession, pointing out that Dylan had "been telling journalists wild lies about his past since the earliest days of his career."
After his European tour, Dylan returned to New York, but the pressures on him increased. ABC Television had paid an advance for a TV show they could screen. His publisher, Macmillan, was demanding a finished manuscript of the poem/novel Tarantula. Manager Albert Grossman had already scheduled an extensive concert tour for that summer and fall.
On July 29, 1966, Dylan crashed his 500cc Triumph Tiger 100 motorcycle on a road near his home in Woodstock, New York, throwing him to the ground. Though the extent of his injuries were never fully disclosed, Dylan said that he broke several vertebrae in his neck. Mystery still surrounds the circumstances of the accident since no ambulance was called to the scene and Dylan was not hospitalized. Dylan's biographers have written that the crash offered Dylan the much-needed chance to escape from the pressures that had built up around him. Dylan confirmed this interpretation of the crash when he stated in his autobiography, "I had been in a motorcycle accident and I'd been hurt, but I recovered. Truth was that I wanted to get out of the rat race." In the wake of his accident, Dylan withdrew from the public and, apart from a few select appearances, did not tour again for almost eight years.
Once Dylan was well enough to resume creative work, he began editing film footage of his 1966 tour for Eat the Document, a rarely exhibited follow-up to Dont Look Back. A rough-cut was shown to ABC Television and was promptly rejected as incomprehensible to a mainstream audience. In 1967 he began recording music with the Hawks at his home and in the basement of the Hawks' nearby house, called "Big Pink". These songs, initially compiled as demos for other artists to record, provided hit singles for Julie Driscoll ("This Wheel's on Fire"), The Byrds ("You Ain't Goin' Nowhere", "Nothing Was Delivered"), and Manfred Mann ("Mighty Quinn"). Columbia belatedly released selections from them in 1975 as The Basement Tapes. Over the years, more and more of the songs recorded by Dylan and his band in 1967 appeared on various bootleg recordings, culminating in a five-CD bootleg set titled The Genuine Basement Tapes, containing 107 songs and alternate takes. In the coming months, the Hawks recorded the album Music from Big Pink using songs they first worked on in their basement in Woodstock, and renamed themselves The Band, thus beginning a long and successful recording and performing career of their own.
In October and November 1967, Dylan returned to Nashville. Back in the recording studio after a 19-month break, he was accompanied only by Charlie McCoy on bass, Kenny Buttrey on drums, and Pete Drake on steel guitar. The result was John Wesley Harding, a quiet, contemplative record of shorter songs, set in a landscape that drew on both the American West and the Bible. The sparse structure and instrumentation, coupled with lyrics that took the Judeo-Christian tradition seriously, marked a departure not only from Dylan's own work but from the escalating psychedelic fervor of the 1960s musical culture. It included "All Along the Watchtower", with lyrics derived from the Book of Isaiah (21:5–9). The song was later recorded by Jimi Hendrix, whose version Dylan later acknowledged as definitive. Woody Guthrie died on October 3, 1967, and Dylan made his first live appearance in twenty months at a Guthrie memorial concert held at Carnegie Hall on January 20, 1968, where he was backed by The Band.
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Dylan's next release, Nashville Skyline (1969), was virtually a mainstream country record featuring instrumental backing by Nashville musicians, a mellow-voiced Dylan, a duet with Johnny Cash, and the hit single "Lay Lady Lay." Dylan and Cash also recorded a series of duets, including Dylan's "One Too Many Mornings," but they were not used on the album.
In May 1969, Dylan appeared on the first episode of Johnny Cash's new television show, duetting with Cash on "Girl from the North Country", "I Threw It All Away" and "Living the Blues". Dylan next travelled to England to top the bill at the Isle of Wight rock festival on August 31, 1969, after rejecting overtures to appear at the Woodstock Festival far closer to his home.
In the early 1970s, critics charged that Dylan's output was of varied and unpredictable quality. Rolling Stone magazine writer and Dylan loyalist Greil Marcus notoriously asked "What is this shit?" upon first listening to 1970's Self Portrait. In general, Self Portrait, a double LP including few original songs, was poorly received. Later that year, Dylan released New Morning, which some considered a return to form. In November 1968, Dylan had co-written "I'd Have You Anytime" with George Harrison; Harrison recorded both "I'd Have You Anytime" and Dylan's "If Not For You" for his 1970 solo triple album All Things Must Pass. Dylan's surprise appearance at Harrison's 1971 Concert for Bangladesh attracted much media coverage, reflecting that Dylan's live appearances had become rare.
Between March 16 and 19, 1971, Dylan reserved three days at Blue Rock Studios, a small studio in New York's Greenwich Village. These sessions resulted in one single, "Watching the River Flow", and a new recording of "When I Paint My Masterpiece". on November 4, 1971 Dylan recorded "George Jackson", which he released a week later. For many, the single was a surprising return to protest material, mourning the killing of Black Panther George Jackson in San Quentin Prison that summer. Dylan contributed piano and harmony vocals to Steve Goodman's album, Somebody Else's Troubles, under the pseudonym Robert Milkwood Thomas in September 1972.
In 1972, Dylan signed onto Sam Peckinpah's film Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, providing songs and backing music for the movie, and playing the role of "Alias", a member of Billy's gang with some historical basis. Despite the film's failure at the box office, the song "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" has proven its durability as one of Dylan's most extensively covered songs.
Dylan began 1973 by signing with a new record label, David Geffen's Asylum Records, when his contract with Columbia Records expired. on his next album, Planet Waves, he used The Band as backing group, while rehearsing for a major tour. The album included two versions of "Forever Young", which became one of his most popular songs. As one critic described it, the song projected "something hymnal and heartfelt that spoke of the father in Dylan", and Dylan himself commented: "I wrote it thinking about one of my boys and not wanting to be too sentimental." Biographer Howard Sounes noted that Jakob Dylan believed the song was about him.
Columbia Records simultaneously released Dylan, a haphazard collection of studio outtakes (almost exclusively cover songs), which was widely interpreted as a churlish response to Dylan's signing with a rival record label. In January 1974, Dylan returned to live touring after a break of seven years; backed by The Band, he embarked on a high-profile, coast-to-coast North American tour, playing 40 concerts. A live double album of the tour, Before the Flood, was released on Asylum Records. Soon, Columbia Records sent word that they "will spare nothing to bring Dylan back into the fold". Dylan had second thoughts about Asylum, apparently miffed that while there had been millions of unfulfilled ticket requests for the 1974 tour, Geffen had managed to sell only 700,000 copies of Planet Waves. Dylan returned to Columbia Records, which subsequently reissued his two Asylum albums on their imprint.
Dylan said of the opening song from Blood on the Tracks: "I was trying to deal with the concept of time, and the way the characters change from the first person to the third person, and you're never sure if the first person is talking or the third person. But as you look at the whole thing it really doesn't matter."
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After the tour, Dylan and his wife became publicly estranged. He filled a small red notebook with songs about relationships and ruptures, and quickly recorded a new album entitled Blood on the Tracks in September 1974. Dylan delayed the album's release, however, and re-recorded half of the songs at Sound 80 Studios in Minneapolis with production assistance from his brother David Zimmerman.
Released in early 1975, Blood on the Tracks received mixed reviews. In the NME, Nick Kent described "the accompaniments [as] often so trashy they sound like mere practice takes." In Rolling Stone, reviewer Jon Landau wrote that "the record has been made with typical shoddiness." However, over the years critics have come to see it as one of Dylan's greatest achievements, perhaps the only serious rival to his mid-60s trilogy of albums. In Salon.com, Bill Wyman wrote: "Blood on the Tracks is his only flawless album and his best produced; the songs, each of them, are constructed in disciplined fashion. It is his kindest album and most dismayed, and seems in hindsight to have achieved a sublime balance between the logorrhea-plagued excesses of his mid-'60s output and the self-consciously simple compositions of his post-accident years." Novelist Rick Moody called it "the truest, most honest account of a love affair from tip to stern ever put down on magnetic tape."
That summer Dylan wrote a lengthy ballad championing the cause of boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, who had been imprisoned for a triple murder committed in Paterson, New Jersey, in 1966. After visiting Carter in jail, Dylan wrote "Hurricane", presenting the case for Carter's innocence. Despite its 8:32 minute length, the song was released as a single, peaking at No.33 on the U.S. Billboard Chart, and performed at every 1975 date of Dylan's next tour, the Rolling Thunder Revue, named after the Shoshone medicine man, shaman, teacher, and activist Rolling Thunder. The tour was a varied evening of entertainment featuring about one hundred performers and supporters drawn from the resurgent Greenwich Village folk scene, including T-Bone Burnett, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Joni Mitchell, David Mansfield, Roger McGuinn, Mick Ronson, Joan Baez, and violinist Scarlet Rivera, whom Dylan discovered while she was walking down the street, her violin case hanging on her back. Allen Ginsberg accompanied the troupe, staging scenes for the film Dylan was simultaneously shooting. Sam Shepard was initially hired to write the film's screenplay, but ended up accompanying the tour as informal chronicler.
Running through late 1975 and again through early 1976, the tour encompassed the release of the album Desire, with many of Dylan's new songs featuring an almost travelogue-like narrative style, showing the influence of his new collaborator, playwright Jacques Levy. The spring 1976 half of the tour was documented by a TV concert special, Hard Rain, and the LP Hard Rain; no concert album from the better-received and better-known opening half of the tour was released until 2002's Live 1975.
The fall 1975 tour with the Revue also provided the backdrop to Dylan's nearly four-hour film Renaldo and Clara, a sprawling and improvised narrative, mixed with concert footage and reminiscences. Released in 1978, the movie received generally poor, sometimes scathing, reviews and had a very brief theatrical run. Later in that year, Dylan allowed a two-hour edit, dominated by the concert performances, to be more widely released.
In November 1976, Dylan appeared at The Band's "farewell" concert, along with other guests including Joni Mitchell, Muddy Waters, Van Morrison and Neil Young. Martin Scorsese's acclaimed cinematic chronicle of this show, The Last Waltz, was released in 1978 and included about half of Dylan's set. In 1976, Dylan also wrote and duetted on the song "Sign Language" for Eric Clapton's No Reason To Cry.
In 1978, Dylan embarked on a year-long world tour, performing 114 shows in Japan, the Far East, Europe and the US, to a total audience of two million people. For the tour, Dylan assembled an eight piece band, and was also accompanied by three backing singers. Concerts in Tokyo in February and March were recorded and released as the live double album, Bob Dylan At Budokan. Reviews were mixed. Robert Christgau awarded the album a C+ rating, giving the album a derisory review, while Janet Maslin defended it in Rolling Stone, writing: "These latest live versions of his old songs have the effect of liberating Bob Dylan from the originals." When Dylan brought the tour to the US in September 1978, he was dismayed the press described the look and sound of the show as a 'Las Vegas Tour'. The 1978 tour grossed more than $20 million, and Dylan acknowledged to the Los Angeles Times that he had some debts to pay off because "I had a couple of bad years. I put a lot of money into the movie, built a big house ... and it costs a lot to get divorced in California."
In April and May 1978, Dylan went into the studio in Santa Monica, California, to record an album of new material with the same large band and backing vocalists: Street-Legal. It was described by Michael Gray as, "after Blood on The Tracks, arguably Dylan's best record of the 1970s: a crucial album documenting a crucial period in Dylan's own life". However, it suffered from poor sound recording and mixing (attributed to Dylan's studio practices), muddying the instrumental detail until a remastered CD release in 1999 restored some of the songs' strengths.
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In the late 1970s, Dylan became a born-again Christian and released two albums of Christian gospel music. Slow Train Coming (1979) featured the guitar accompaniment of Mark Knopfler (of Dire Straits) and was produced by veteran R&B producer, Jerry Wexler. Wexler recalled that when Dylan had tried to evangelize him during the recording, he replied: "Bob, you're dealing with a sixty-two-year old Jewish atheist. Let's just make an album." The album won Dylan a Grammy Award as "Best Male Vocalist" for the song "Gotta Serve Somebody". The second evangelical album, Saved (1980), received mixed reviews, and was described by Dylan critic Michael Gray as "the nearest thing to a follow-up album Dylan has ever made, Slow Train Coming II and inferior." When touring from the fall of 1979 through the spring of 1980, Dylan would not play any of his older, secular works, and he delivered declarations of his faith from the stage, such as:
Years ago they ... said I was a prophet. I used to say, "No I'm not a prophet" they say "Yes you are, you're a prophet." I said, "No it's not me." They used to say "You sure are a prophet." They used to convince me I was a prophet. Now I come out and say Jesus Christ is the answer. They say, "Bob Dylan's no prophet." They just can't handle it.
Dylan's embrace of born-again Christianity was unpopular with some of his fans and fellow musicians. Shortly before his murder, John Lennon recorded "Serve Yourself" in response to Dylan's "Gotta Serve Somebody". By 1981, Stephen Holden wrote in the New York Times that "neither age (he's now 40) nor his much-publicized conversion to born-again Christianity has altered his essentially iconoclastic temperament."
In the fall of 1980 Dylan briefly resumed touring for a series of concerts billed as "A Musical Retrospective", where he restored several of his popular 1960s songs to the repertoire. Shot of Love, recorded the next spring, featured Dylan's first secular compositions in more than two years, mixed with explicitly Christian songs; the song "Every Grain of Sand" reminded some critics of William Blake's verses.
In the 1980s the quality of Dylan's recorded work varied, from the well-regarded Infidels in 1983 to the panned Down in the Groove in 1988. Critics such as Michael Gray condemned Dylan's 1980s albums both for showing an extraordinary carelessness in the studio and for failing to release his best songs. The Infidels recording sessions, for example, produced several notable songs that Dylan left off the album. Most well regarded of these were "Blind Willie McTell", a tribute to the dead blues musician and an evocation of African American history, "Foot of Pride" and "Lord Protect My Child". These three songs were later released on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1–3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961–1991.
Between July 1984 and March 1985, Dylan recorded his next studio album, Empire Burlesque. Arthur Baker, who had remixed hits for Bruce Springsteen and Cyndi Lauper, was asked to engineer and mix the album. Baker has said he felt he was hired to make Dylan's album sound "a little bit more contemporary".
Dylan sang on USA for Africa's famine relief fundraising single "We Are the World". on July 13, 1985, he appeared at the climax at the Live Aid concert at JFK Stadium, Philadelphia. Backed by Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood, Dylan performed a ragged version of "Hollis Brown", his ballad of rural poverty, and then said to the worldwide audience exceeding one billion people: "I hope that some of the money ... maybe they can just take a little bit of it, maybe ... one or two million, maybe ... and use it to pay the mortgages on some of the farms and, the farmers here, owe to the banks." His remarks were widely criticized as inappropriate, but they did inspire Willie Nelson to organize a series of events, Farm Aid, to benefit debt-ridden American farmers.
In April 1986, Dylan made a brief foray into the world of rap music when he added vocals to the opening verse of "Street Rock", a song featured on Kurtis Blow's album Kingdom Blow. Dylan's next studio album, Knocked Out Loaded, was released in July 1986 and contained three cover songs (by Little Junior Parker, Kris Kristofferson and the traditional gospel hymn "Precious Memories"), plus three collaborations with other writers (Tom Petty, Sam Shepard and Carole Bayer Sager), and two solo compositions by Dylan. one reviewer commented that "the record follows too many detours to be consistently compelling, and some of those detours wind down roads that are indisputably dead ends. By 1986, such uneven records weren't entirely unexpected by Dylan, but that didn't make them any less frustrating." It was the first Dylan album since Freewheelin' (1963) to fail to make the Top 50. Since then, some critics have called the 11-minute epic that Dylan co-wrote with Sam Shepard, 'Brownsville Girl', a work of genius.
In 1986 and 1987, Dylan toured extensively with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, sharing vocals with Petty on several songs each night. Dylan also toured with The Grateful Dead in 1987, resulting in a live album Dylan & The Dead. This album received some very negative reviews: Allmusic said, "Quite possibly the worst album by either Bob Dylan or the Grateful Dead." After performing with these musical permutations, Dylan initiated what came to be called The Never Ending Tour on June 7, 1988, performing with a tight back-up band featuring guitarist G. E. Smith. Dylan continued to tour with this small but constantly evolving band for the next 20 years.
In 1987, Dylan starred in Richard Marquand's movie Hearts of Fire, in which he played Billy Parker, a washed-up-rock-star-turned-chicken farmer whose teenage lover (Fiona) leaves him for a jaded English synth-pop sensation (played by Rupert Everett). Dylan also contributed two original songs to the soundtrack—"Night After Night", and "I Had a Dream About You, Baby", as well as a cover of John Hiatt's "The Usual". The film was a critical and commercial flop. Dylan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in January 1988, with Bruce Springsteen's introductory speech declaring, "Bob freed your mind the way Elvis freed your body. He showed us that just because music was innately physical did not mean that it was anti-intellectual.
When Dylan released the album Down in the Groove in May 1988, it was even more unsuccessful in its sales than his previous studio album. Michael Gray wrote: "The very title undercuts any idea that inspired work may lie within. Here was a further devaluing of the notion of a new Bob Dylan album as something significant." The critical and commercial disappointment of that album was swiftly followed by the success of the Traveling Wilburys. Dylan co-founded the band with George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, and Tom Petty, and in the fall of 1988 their multi-platinum Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 reached number three on the US album chart, featuring songs that were described as Dylan's most accessible compositions in years. Despite Orbison's death in December 1988, the remaining four recorded a second album in May 1990, which they released with the unexpected title Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3.
Dylan finished the decade on a critical high note with Oh Mercy produced by Daniel Lanois. Dylan critic Michael Gray wrote that the album was: "Attentively written, vocally distinctive, musically warm, and uncompromisingly professional, this cohesive whole is the nearest thing to a great Bob Dylan album in the 1980s." The track "Most of the Time", a lost love composition, was later prominently featured in the film High Fidelity, while "What Was It You Wanted?" has been interpreted both as a catechism and a wry comment on the expectations of critics and fans. The religious imagery of "Ring Them Bells" struck some critics as a re-affirmation of faith.
Dylan's 1990s began with Under the Red Sky (1990), an about-face from the serious Oh Mercy. The album contained several apparently simple songs, including "Under the Red Sky" and "Wiggle Wiggle". The album was dedicated to "Gabby Goo Goo"; this was later explained as a nickname for the daughter of Dylan and Carolyn Dennis, Desiree Gabrielle Dennis-Dylan, who was four at that time. Sidemen on the album included George Harrison, Slash from Guns N' Roses, David Crosby, Bruce Hornsby, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Elton John. Despite the stellar line-up, the record received bad reviews and sold poorly.
In 1991, Dylan was honored by the recording industry with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award from American actor Jack Nicholson. The event coincided with the start of the Gulf War against Saddam Hussein, and Dylan performed his song "Masters of War". Dylan then made a short speech that startled some of the audience.
The next few years saw Dylan returning to his roots with two albums covering old folk and blues numbers: Good as I Been to You (1992) and World Gone Wrong (1993), featuring interpretations and acoustic guitar work. Many critics and fans commented on the quiet beauty of the song "Lone Pilgrim", penned by a 19th century teacher and sung by Dylan with a haunting reverence. In November 1994 Dylan recorded two live shows for MTV Unplugged. He claimed his wish to perform a set of traditional songs for the show was overruled by Sony executives who insisted on a greatest hits package. The album produced from it, MTV Unplugged, included "John Brown", an unreleased 1963 song detailing the ravages of both war and jingoism.
With a collection of songs reportedly written while snowed-in on his Minnesota ranch, Dylan booked recording time with Daniel Lanois at Miami's Criteria Studios in January 1997. The subsequent recording sessions were, by some accounts, fraught with musical tension. Late that spring, before the album's release, Dylan was hospitalized with a life-threatening heart infection, pericarditis, brought on by histoplasmosis. His scheduled European tour was cancelled, but Dylan made a speedy recovery and left the hospital saying, "I really thought I'd be seeing Elvis soon." He was back on the road by midsummer, and in early fall performed before Pope John Paul II at the World Eucharistic Conference in Bologna, Italy. The Pope treated the audience of 200,000 people to a homily based on Dylan's lyric "Blowin' in the Wind".
September saw the release of the new Lanois-produced album, Time Out of Mind. With its bitter assessment of love and morbid ruminations, Dylan's first collection of original songs in seven years was highly acclaimed. one critic wrote: "the songs themselves are uniformly powerful, adding up to Dylan's best overall collection in years." This collection of complex songs won him his first solo "Album of the Year" Grammy Award.
In December 1997, U.S. President Bill Clinton presented Dylan with a Kennedy Center Honor in the East Room of the White House, paying this tribute: "He probably had more impact on people of my generation than any other creative artist. His voice and lyrics haven't always been easy on the ear, but throughout his career Bob Dylan has never aimed to please. He's disturbed the peace and discomforted the powerful."
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Dylan commenced the new millennium by winning his first Oscar; his song "Things Have Changed", penned for the film Wonder Boys, won an Academy Award in March 2001. The Oscar (by some reports a facsimile) tours with him, presiding over shows perched atop an amplifier.
"Love and Theft" was released on September 11, 2001. Recorded with his touring band, Dylan produced the album himself under the pseudonym Jack Frost. The album was critically well-received and earned nominations for several Grammy awards. Critics noted that Dylan was widening his musical palette to include rockabilly, Western swing, jazz, and even lounge ballads. "Love and Theft" generated controversy when The Wall Street Journal pointed out similarities between the album's lyrics and Japanese author Junichi Saga's book Confessions of a Yakuza.
In 2003, Dylan revisited the evangelical songs from his "born again" period and participated in the CD project Gotta Serve Somebody: The Gospel Songs of Bob Dylan. That year also saw the release of the film Masked & Anonymous, which Dylan co-wrote with director Larry Charles under the alias Sergei Petrov. Dylan played the central character in the film, Jack Fate, alongside a cast which included Jeff Bridges, Penelope Cruz and John Goodman. The film polarised critics: many dismissed it as an "incoherent mess"; a few treated it as a serious work of art.
In October 2004, Dylan published the first part of his autobiography, Chronicles: Volume one. The book confounded expectations. Dylan devoted three chapters to his first year in New York City in 1961–1962, virtually ignoring the mid-'60s when his fame was at its height. He also devoted chapters to the albums New Morning (1970) and Oh Mercy (1989). The book reached number two on The New York Times' Hardcover Non-Fiction best seller list in December 2004 and was nominated for a National Book Award.
Martin Scorsese's acclaimed film biography No Direction Home was broadcast in September 2005. It was shown on September 26–27, 2005, on BBC Two in the UK and PBS in the US. The documentary focuses on the period from Dylan's arrival in New York in 1961 to his motorcycle crash in 1966, featuring interviews with Suze Rotolo, Liam Clancy, Joan Baez, Allen Ginsberg, Pete Seeger, Mavis Staples, and Dylan himself. The film received a Peabody Award in April 2006 and a Columbia-duPont Award in January 2007. The accompanying soundtrack featured unreleased songs from Dylan's early career.
Dylan earned yet another distinction in a 2007 study of US legal opinions and briefs that found his lyrics were quoted by judges and lawyers more than those of any other songwriter, 186 times versus 74 by The Beatles, who were second. Among those quoting Dylan were US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Antonin Scalia, both conservatives. The most widely cited lines included "you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows" from "Subterranean Homesick Blues" and "when you ain't got nothing, you got nothing to lose" from "Like a Rolling Stone".
May 3, 2006, was the premiere of Dylan's DJ career, hosting a weekly radio program, Theme Time Radio Hour, for XM Satellite Radio, with song selections revolving around a chosen theme. Dylan played classic and obscure records from the 1930s to the present day, including contemporary artists as diverse as Blur, Prince, L.L. Cool J and The Streets. The show was praised by fans and critics as "great radio," as Dylan told stories and made eclectic references with his sardonic humor, while achieving a thematic beauty with his musical choices. In April 2009, Dylan broadcast the 100th show in his radio series; the theme was "Goodbye" and the final record played was Woody Guthrie's "So Long, It's Been Good To Know Yuh". This has led to speculation that Dylan's radio series may have ended.
On August 29, 2006, Dylan released his Modern Times album. Despite some coarsening of Dylan's voice (a critic for The Guardian characterised his singing on the album as "a catarrhal death rattle") most reviewers praised the album, and many described it as the final installment of a successful trilogy, embracing Time Out of Mind and "Love and Theft". Modern Times entered the U.S. charts at number one, making it Dylan's first album to reach that position since 1976's Desire. The New York Times published an article exploring similarities between some of Dylan's lyrics in Modern Times and the work of the Civil War poet Henry Timrod.
Nominated for three Grammy Awards, Modern Times won Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album and Bob Dylan also won Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance for "Someday Baby". Modern Times was named Album of the Year, 2006, by Rolling Stone magazine, and by Uncut in the UK. on the same day that Modern Times was released the iTunes Music Store released Bob Dylan: The Collection, a digital box set containing all of his albums (773 tracks in total), along with 42 rare and unreleased tracks.
In August 2007, the award-winning film biography of Dylan I'm Not There, written and directed by Todd Haynes, was released—bearing the tagline "inspired by the music and many lives of Bob Dylan". The movie uses six distinct characters to represent different aspects of Dylan's life, played by Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Marcus Carl Franklin, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger and Ben Whishaw. Dylan's previously unreleased 1967 recording from which the film takes its name was released for the first time on the film's original soundtrack; all other tracks are covers of Dylan songs, specially recorded for the movie by a diverse range of artists, including Eddie Vedder, Mason Jennings, Stephen Malkmus, Jeff Tweedy, Karen O, Willie Nelson, Cat Power, Richie Havens, and Tom Verlaine.
On October 1, 2007, Columbia Records released the triple CD retrospective album Dylan, anthologising his entire career under the Dylan 07 logo. As part of this campaign, Mark Ronson produced a re-mix of Dylan's 1966 tune "Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)," which was released as a maxi-single. This was the first time Dylan had sanctioned a re-mix of one of his classic recordings.
The sophistication of the Dylan 07 marketing campaign was a reminder that Dylan's commercial profile had risen considerably since the 1990s. This first became evidenced in 2004, when Dylan appeared in a TV advertisement for Victoria's Secret lingerie. Three years later, in October 2007, he participated in a multi-media campaign for the 2008 Cadillac Escalade. Then, in 2009, he gave the highest profile endorsement of his career, appearing with rapper Will.i.am in a Pepsi ad that debuted during the telecast of Super Bowl XLIII. The ad, broadcast to a record audience of 98 million viewers, opened with Dylan singing the first verse of "Forever Young" followed by Will.i.am doing a hip hop version of the song's third and final verse.
In October 2008, Columbia released Volume 8 of Dylan's Bootleg Series, Tell Tale Signs: Rare And Unreleased 1989–2006 as both a two-CD set and a three-CD version with a 150-page hardcover book. The set contains live performances and outtakes from selected studio albums from Oh Mercy to Modern Times, as well as soundtrack contributions and collaborations with David Bromberg and Ralph Stanley. The pricing of the album—the two-CD set went on sale for $18.99 and the three-CD version for $129.99—led to complaints about "rip-off packaging" from some fans and commentators. The release was widely acclaimed by critics. The plethora of alternative takes and unreleased material suggested to Uncut's reviewer: "Tell Tale Signs is awash with evidence of (Dylan's) staggering mercuriality, his evident determination even in the studio to repeat himself as little as possible."
Bob Dylan released his album Together Through Life on April 28, 2009. In a conversation with music journalist Bill Flanagan, published on Dylan's website, Dylan explained that the genesis of the record was when French film director Olivier Dahan asked him to supply a song for his new road movie, My Own Love Song; initially only intending to record a single track, "Life Is Hard," "the record sort of took its own direction". Nine of the ten songs on the album are credited as co-written by Bob Dylan and Robert Hunter.
The album received largely favorable reviews, although several critics described it as a minor addition to Dylan's canon of work. Andy Gill wrote in The Independent that the record "features Dylan in fairly relaxed, spontaneous mood, content to grab such grooves and sentiments as flit momentarily across his radar. So while it may not contain too many landmark tracks, it's one of the most naturally enjoyable albums you'll hear all year."
In its first week of release, the album reached number one in the Billboard 200 chart in the U.S., making Bob Dylan (67 years of age) the oldest artist to ever debut at number one on that chart. It also reached number one on the UK album chart, 39 years after Dylan's previous UK album chart topper New Morning. This meant that Dylan currently holds the record for the longest gap between solo number one albums in the UK chart.
On October 13, 2009, Dylan released a Christmas album, Christmas in the Heart, comprising such Christmas standards as "Little Drummer Boy", "Winter Wonderland" and "Here Comes Santa Claus". Dylan's royalties from the sale of this album will benefit the charities Feeding America in the USA, Crisis in the UK, and the World Food Programme.
The album received generally favorable reviews. The New Yorker commented that Dylan had welded a pre-rock musical sound to "some of his croakiest vocals in a while", and speculated that Dylan's intentions might be ironic: "Dylan has a long and highly publicized history with Christianity; to claim there's not a wink in the childish optimism of 'Here Comes Santa Claus' or 'Winter Wonderland' is to ignore a half-century of biting satire." In USA Today, Edna Gundersen pointed out that Dylan was "revisiting yuletide styles popularized by Nat King Cole, Mel Tormé, and the Ray Conniff Singers." Gundersen concluded that Dylan "couldn't sound more sentimental or sincere".
In an interview published by Street News Service, journalist Bill Flanagan asked Dylan why he had performed the songs in a straightforward style, and Dylan responded: "There wasn't any other way to play it. These songs are part of my life, just like folk songs. You have to play them straight too."
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On October 18, 2010, Dylan released Volume 9 of his Bootleg Series, The Witmark Demos. This comprised 47 demo recordings of songs taped between 1962 and 1964 for Dylan's earliest music publishers: Leeds Music in 1962, and Witmark Music from 1962 to 1964. one reviewer described the set as "a kind of alternate early history of Dylan's songwriting process, 'writing five new songs before breakfast,' as he once famously quipped". The critical aggregator website Metacritic awarded the album a Metascore of 86, indicating "universal acclaim". In the same week, Sony Legacy released Bob Dylan: The Original Mono Recordings, a box set which for the first time presented Dylan's eight earliest albums, from Bob Dylan (1962) to John Wesley Harding (1967), in their original mono mix in the CD format, accompanied by new liner notes by Dylan critic Greil Marcus.
On April 12, 2011, Legacy Recordings released Bob Dylan in Concert – Brandeis University 1963 . The recording was taped at Brandeis University on May 10, 1963, two weeks prior to the release of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan. The tape had been discovered in the archive of music writer Ralph J. Gleason, and had previously been available as a limited edition supplement to The Bootleg Series Vol. 9. The recording carries liner notes by Dylan scholar Michael Gray. Gray writes, "(The) Dylan performance it captured, from way back when Kennedy was President and the Beatles hadn't yet reached America, wasn't even on fans' radar.... It reveals him not at any Big Moment but giving a performance like his folk club sets of the period... This is the last live performance we have of Bob Dylan before he becomes a star."
The extent to which his work was studied at an academic level was demonstrated on Dylan's 70th birthday on May 24, 2011, when three universities organised symposia on his work. The University of Mainz, the University of Vienna, and the University of Bristol invited literary critics and cultural historians from Europe and the US to give papers on aspects of Dylan's work. Other events, including tribute bands, intellectual debates and simple singalongs, took place around the world, as reported in The Guardian: "From Moscow to Madrid, Norway to Northampton and Malaysia to his home state of Minnesota, self-confessed "Bobcats" will gather today to celebrate the 70th birthday of a giant of popular music."
On October 4, 2011, Dylan's label, Egyptian Records, released an album of previously unheard Hank Williams songs, The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams. Dylan had helped to curate this project, in which songs unfinished when Williams died in 1953 were completed and recorded by a variety of artists, including Dylan himself, his son Jakob Dylan, Levon Helm, Norah Jones, Jack White, and others.
The Never Ending Tour commenced on June 7, 1988, and Dylan has played roughly 100 dates a year for the entirety of the 1990s and the first decade of the 21st century—a heavier schedule than most performers who started out in the 1960s. By the end of 2010, Dylan and his band had played more than 2300 shows, anchored by long-time bassist Tony Garnier, multi-instrumentalist Donnie Herron and guitarist Charlie Sexton. To the dismay of some of his audience, Dylan's performances remain unpredictable as he alters his arrangements and changes his vocal approach night after night. Critical opinion about Dylan's shows remains divided. Critics such as Richard Williams and Andy Gill have argued that Dylan has found a successful way to present his rich legacy of material. Others have criticised his vocal style as a one-dimensional growl with which he chews up, mangles and spits out the greatest lyrics ever written so that they are effectively unrecognisable", and his lack of interest in bonding with his audience.
Dylan's performances in China in April 2011 generated controversy. Some criticised him for not making any explicit comment on the political situation in China, and for, allegedly, allowing the Chinese authorities to censor his set-list. Others defended Dylan's performances, arguing that such criticism represented a misunderstanding of Dylan's art, and that no evidence for the censorship of Dylan's set-list existed.
Dylan responded to these allegations of censorship by posting a statement on his website: "As far as censorship goes, the Chinese government had asked for the names of the songs that I would be playing. There's no logical answer to that, so we sent them the set lists from the previous 3 months. If there were any songs, verses or lines censored, nobody ever told me about it and we played all the songs that we intended to play."
In April 2011, Dylan performed concerts in Taiwan, China, Singapore, Vietnam and Australia. He toured Europe, Israel and the US from June to August 2011, commencing in Cork, Ireland, and concluding in Boston, Massachusetts. Accompanied by Mark Knopfler as a supporting act, Dylan undertook a second European tour in October and November, which began in Dublin and ended in London.
Over a decade after Random House had published Drawn Blank (1994), a book of Dylan's drawings, an exhibit of his art, The Drawn Blank Series, opened in October 2007 at the Kunstsammlungen in Chemnitz, Germany. This first public exhibition of Dylan's paintings showcased more than 200 watercolors and gouaches made earlier in 2007 from the original drawings. The exhibition coincided with the publication of the book Bob Dylan: The Drawn Blank Series, which includes 170 reproductions from the series. From September 2010 until April 2011, the National Gallery of Denmark exhibited 40 large-scale acrylic paintings by Dylan, The Brazil Series.
In July 2011, a leading contemporary art gallery, Gagosian Gallery, announced their representation of Dylan's paintings. An exhibition of Dylan's art, The Asia Series, opened at the Gagosian Madison Avenue Gallery on September 20, displaying Dylan's paintings of scenes in China and the Far East. The New York Times reported that "some fans and Dylanologists have raised questions about whether some of these paintings are based on the singer’s own experiences and observations, or on photographs that are widely available and were not taken by Mr. Dylan." The Times pointed to close resemblances between Dylan's paintings and six historic photos of Japan and China which had been posted on the Flickr website. Dylan's paintings also appeared to be based on photographs taken by Dmitri Kessel, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Jacob Aue Sobol. The Magnum photo agency confirmed that Dylan had licensed the reproduction rights of these photographs.
Dylan married Sara Lownds on November 22, 1965. Their first child, Jesse Byron Dylan, was born on January 6, 1966, and they had three more children: Anna Lea (born July 11, 1967), Samuel Isaac Abraham (born July 30, 1968), and Jakob Luke (born December 9, 1969). Dylan also adopted Sara's daughter from a prior marriage, Maria Lownds (later Dylan, born October 21, 1961). Maria married musician Peter Himmelman, an Orthodox Jew, in 1988. In the 1990s, Dylan's son Jakob became well known as the lead singer of the band The Wallflowers. Jesse Dylan is a film director and a successful businessman. Bob and Sara Dylan were divorced on June 29, 1977.
In June 1986, Dylan married his longtime backup singer Carolyn Dennis (often professionally known as Carol Dennis). Their daughter, Desiree Gabrielle Dennis-Dylan, was born on January 31, 1986. The couple divorced in October 1992. Their marriage and child remained a closely guarded secret until the publication of Howard Sounes' Dylan biography, Down the Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan in 2001. Dylan now lives in Malibu, California, when not on the road. In total, Bob Dylan has six children (five biological and one adopted) and eleven grandchildren as of 2011.
Growing up in Hibbing, Minnesota, Dylan and his family were part of the area's small but close-knit Jewish community, and in May 1954 Dylan had his Bar Mitzvah. Around the time of his 30th birthday, in 1971, Dylan visited Israel, and also met Rabbi Meir Kahane, founder of the New York-based Jewish Defense League. Time Magazine quoted Dylan saying about Kahane, "He's a really sincere guy. He's really put it all together." Subsequently, Dylan downplayed the extent of his contact with Kahane.
For a period during the late 1970s and early 1980s, Dylan was a public convert to Christianity. From January to April 1979, he participated in Bible study classes at the Vineyard School of Discipleship in Reseda, California. Pastor Kenn Gulliksen has recalled: "Larry Myers and Paul Emond went over to Bob's house and ministered to him. He responded by saying, 'Yes he did in fact want Christ in his life.' And he prayed that day and received the Lord."
By 1984, Dylan was distancing himself from the "born-again" label. He told Kurt Loder of Rolling Stone magazine: "I've never said I'm born again. That's just a media term. I don't think I've been an agnostic. I've always thought there's a superior power, that this is not the real world and that there's a world to come." In response to Loder's asking whether he belonged to any Church or synagogue, Dylan laughingly replied, "Not really. Uh, the Church of the Poison Mind." In 1997 he told David Gates of Newsweek:
|“||Here's the thing with me and the religious thing. This is the flat-out truth: I find the religiosity and philosophy in the music. I don't find it anywhere else. Songs like "Let Me Rest on a Peaceful Mountain" or "I Saw the Light"—that's my religion. I don't adhere to rabbis, preachers, evangelists, all of that. I've learned more from the songs than I've learned from any of this kind of entity. The songs are my lexicon. I believe the songs.||”|
Dylan has been described, in the last 20 years, as a supporter of the Chabad Lubavitch movement and has privately participated in Jewish religious events, including the bar mitzvahs of his sons and attending Hadar Hatorah, a Chabad Lubavitch yeshiva. In September 1989 and September 1991, Dylan appeared on the Chabad telethon. Jewish news services have reported that Dylan has visited Chabad synagogues; on September 22, 2007 (Yom Kippur), he attended Congregation Beth Tefillah, in Atlanta, Georgia, where he was called to the Torah for the sixth aliyah.
Dylan has continued to perform songs from his gospel albums in concert, occasionally covering traditional religious songs. He has also made passing references to his religious faith—such as in a 2004 interview with 60 Minutes, when he told Ed Bradley that "the only person you have to think twice about lying to is either yourself or to God." He also explained his constant touring schedule as part of a bargain he made a long time ago with the "chief commander—in this earth and in the world we can't see."
In a 2009 interview with Bill Flanagan promoting his Christmas LP, Christmas in the Heart, Flanagan commented on the "heroic performance" Dylan gave of "O Little Town of Bethlehem" and that Dylan "delivered the song like a true believer". Dylan replied: "Well, I am a true believer."
Bob Dylan is one of the most influential figures of the 20th century, musically and culturally. Dylan was included in the Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century where he was called "master poet, caustic social critic and intrepid, guiding spirit of the counterculture generation". Biographer Howard Sounes placed him among the most exalted company when he said, "There are giant figures in art who are sublimely good—Mozart, Picasso, Frank Lloyd Wright, Shakespeare, Dickens. Dylan ranks alongside these artists."
Initially modeling his writing style on the songs of Woody Guthrie, and lessons learned from the blues of Robert Johnson, Dylan added increasingly sophisticated lyrical techniques to the folk music of the early 60s, infusing it "with the intellectualism of classic literature and poetry". Paul Simon suggested that Dylan's early compositions virtually took over the folk genre: "[Dylan's] early songs were very rich ... with strong melodies. 'Blowin' in the Wind' has a really strong melody. He so enlarged himself through the folk background that he incorporated it for a while. He defined the genre for a while."
When Dylan made his move from acoustic music to a rock backing, the mix became more complex. For many critics, Dylan's greatest achievement was the cultural synthesis exemplified by his mid-'60s trilogy of albums—Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde. In Mike Marqusee's words: "Between late 1964 and the summer of 1966, Dylan created a body of work that remains unique. Drawing on folk, blues, country, R&B, rock'n'roll, gospel, British beat, symbolist, modernist and Beat poetry, surrealism and Dada, advertising jargon and social commentary, Fellini and Mad magazine, he forged a coherent and original artistic voice and vision. The beauty of these albums retains the power to shock and console."
One legacy of Dylan's verbal sophistication was the increasing attention paid by literary critics to his lyrics. Professor Christopher Ricks published a 500-page analysis of Dylan's work, placing him in the context of Eliot, Keats and Tennyson, and claiming that Dylan was a poet worthy of the same close and painstaking analysis. Former British poet laureate, Andrew Motion, argued that Bob Dylan's lyrics should be studied in schools. Since 1996, academics have lobbied the Swedish Academy to award Dylan the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Dylan's voice was, in some ways, as startling as his lyrics. New York Times critic Robert Shelton described Dylan's early vocal style as "a rusty voice suggesting Guthrie's old performances, etched in gravel like Dave Van Ronk's." David Bowie, in his tribute, "Song for Bob Dylan", described Dylan's singing as "a voice like sand and glue". Dylan's voice continued to develop as he began to work with rock'n'roll backing bands; critic Michael Gray described the sound of Dylan's vocal on his hit single, "Like a Rolling Stone", as "at once young and jeeringly cynical". As Dylan's voice aged during the 1980s, for some critics, it became more expressive. Christophe Lebold writes in the journal Oral Tradition, "Dylan's more recent broken voice enables him to present a world view at the sonic surface of the songs—this voice carries us across the landscape of a broken, fallen world. The anatomy of a broken world in "Everything is Broken" (on the album Oh Mercy) is but an example of how the thematic concern with all things broken is grounded in a concrete sonic reality."
Dylan's influence has been felt in several musical genres. As Edna Gundersen stated in USA Today: "Dylan's musical DNA has informed nearly every simple twist of pop since 1962." Many musicians have testified to Dylan's influence, such as Joe Strummer, who praised Dylan as having "laid down the template for lyric, tune, seriousness, spirituality, depth of rock music." Other major musicians to have acknowledged Dylan's importance include John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Pete Townshend, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, Bryan Ferry, Nick Cave, Patti Smith, Syd Barrett, Cat Stevens,Joni Mitchell, and Tom Waits. More directly, both The Byrds and The Band, two 1960s contemporary groups with some measure of influence on popular music themselves, largely owed their initial success to Dylan: the Byrds with their hit of "Mr. Tambourine Man" and subsequent album; and the Band for their association with him on tour in 1966, on retreat in Woodstock, and on their debut album featuring three previously unreleased Dylan songs.
There have been dissenters. Because Dylan was widely credited with imbuing pop culture with a new seriousness, the critic Nik Cohn objected: "I can't take the vision of Dylan as seer, as teenage messiah, as everything else he's been worshipped as. The way I see him, he's a minor talent with a major gift for self-hype." Similarly, Australian critic Jack Marx credited Dylan with changing the persona of the rock star: "What cannot be disputed is that Dylan invented the arrogant, faux-cerebral posturing that has been the dominant style in rock since, with everyone from Mick Jagger to Eminem educating themselves from the Dylan handbook." Joni Mitchell described Dylan as a "plagiarist" and his voice as "fake" in a 2010 interview in the Los Angeles Times, in response to a suggestion that she and Dylan were similar since they had both changed their birthnames. Mitchell's comment led to discussions of Dylan's use of other people's material, both supporting and criticizing Dylan.
If Bob Dylan's legacy in the 1960s was seen as bringing intellectual ambition to popular music, now that he has reached the age of 70, he has been described as a figure who has greatly expanded the folk culture from which he initially emerged. As J. Hoberman wrote in The Village Voice, "Elvis might never have been born, but someone else would surely have brought the world rock 'n' roll. No such logic accounts for Bob Dylan. No iron law of history demanded that a would-be Elvis from Hibbing, Minnesota, would swerve through the Greenwich Village folk revival to become the world's first and greatest rock 'n' roll beatnik bard and then—having achieved fame and adoration beyond reckoning—vanish into a folk tradition of his own making."