Chapter 10: Subterranean: Bob Dylan’s Passages - Night Beat: A Shadow History of Rock & Roll (2023)

subterranean:

bob dylan’s

passages

Something about that movie, though, that I just can’t get it out of my head

But I can’t remember why I was in it, or what part I was supposed to play

All I remember about it was, is Gregory Peck and the way that people moved

And a lot of them, they seemed to be looking my way.

BOB DYLAN

“BROWNSVILLE

was one of the odder moments in the history of televised rock & roll.

Bob Dylan had been invited to play at the 1991 Grammy Awards ceremony, on the occasion of receiving the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences Lifetime Achievement Award. In theory, these prizes are bestowed to acknowledge a performer’s invaluable contribution to the modern history of popular music. In Dylan’s case, though, it was a ludicrously belated recognition: Though he had affected both folk and popular music more than almost any other figure in American culture, Dylan hadn’t been honored—by NARAS, nor most of the established music industry for that matter—during the period of his greatest innovations, a quarter-century before. Indeed, in 1965—the year that Dylan released “Like a Rolling Stone” and transfigured rock & roll—the Grammy for Record of the Year was awarded to “A Taste of Honey,” by Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass. Dylan himself would not receive a Grammy until 1979, for “Gotta Serve Somebody.”

Maybe Dylan was thinking about this when he took the stage that night. Or maybe he had other matters on his mind. In any event, on this occasion, Bob Dylan proceeded to behave precisely like Bob Dylan. Accompanied by a motley rock & roll outfit, he delivered a snarled, throttled version of his most embittered anti-war song, “Masters of War,” and did so during the peak season of America’s adamant support for the Bush Administration’s Persian Gulf War. It was a transfixingly weird performance: Dylan sang the song in a flat, rushed voice—as if he realized that no matter how passionately or frequently he sang these words, it would never be enough to thwart the world’s appetite for war—while the band behind him blazed like hellfire. For days after, critics would debate whether the performance had been brilliant or embarrassing (why bother to protest a war, some asked, when the song’s lyrics couldn’t even be deciphered?), but this much was plain: Dylan’s appearance was also the only moment of genuine rock & roll abandon that the Grammy Awards had witnessed in years.

Moments later, a deliriously amused Jack Nicholson presented Dylan with his Lifetime Achievement Award. Dylan, dressed in a lopsided dark suit, stood by, fumbling with his gray curl-brim fedora and occasionally applauding himself. When Nicholson passed the plaque to him, Dylan looked confused. “Well, uh, all right,” he said, fumbling some more with his hat. “Yeah. Well, my daddy, he didn’t leave me too much. You know, he was a very simple man. But what he told me was this: He did say, ‘Son . . .’ ” And then Dylan paused, rubbing his mouth while silently reading what was written on the plaque, and then he shook his head. “He said so many things, you know?” he said, and the audience tittered. “He said, ‘Son, it’s possible to become so defiled in this world that your own mother and father will abandon you. And if that happens, God will always believe in your own ability to mend your ways.’ ”

After that, nobody was laughing much. Dylan gave a final tip of his hat, spun on his heels, and was gone. One more time, Bob Dylan had met America, and America didn’t really know what to make of him.

FIRST TIME I met Bob Dylan was in the autumn of 1985—the day he showed up at my front door. He looked like I hoped and feared he would: That is, he looked like Bob Dylan—the keen, fierce man who once tore apart known views of the world with every new song he delivered.

What brought Dylan to my door was simply that we had an interview to do, and since he had to come to Hollywood anyway that day, he figured we may as well do it at my place. While this certainly made the meeting more thrilling for me, it also made it a bit scarier. More than twenty years of image preceded Dylan on that day. This was a man who could be tense, capricious, and baffling, and who was capable of wielding his image—and temper—at a moment’s notice in a way that could stupefy and intimidate not only interviewers, but sometimes friends as well.

What I found instead was a man who didn’t seem too concerned with brandishing his image, even for a moment. He offered his hand, flashed a slightly bashful smile, then walked over to my stereo, kneeled down, and started to flip through a stack of some records on the floor—mostly music by older jazz, pop, and country singers. He commented on most of what he came across. “The Delmore Brothers—God, I really love them. I think they’ve influenced every harmony I’ve ever tried to sing. . . . This Hank Williams thing with just him and guitar—man, that’s something, isn’t it? I used to sing those songs way back, a long time ago, even before I played rock & roll as a teenager. . . . Sinatra, Peggy Lee, yeah, I love all these people, but I tell you who I’ve really been listening to a lot lately—in fact, I’m thinking about recording one of his earlier songs—is Bing Crosby. I don’t think you can find better phrasing anywhere.”

That’s pretty much how Dylan was that afternoon: good-humored and gracious, but also thoughtful in his remarks. And sometimes—when talking about his Minnesota youth, or his early days in the folk scene under the enthrallment of Woody Guthrie—his voice grew softer and more deliberate, as if he were striving to pick just the right words to convey the exact detail of his memory. During these moments he lapsed sometimes into silence, but behind the sunglasses (which he never removed), his eyes stayed active with thought, flickering back and forth, as if reading a distant memory.

For the most part, though, sipping a Corona beer and smoking cigarettes, he seemed surprisingly relaxed as we talked that afternoon. He grew most animated when he talked about a video shoot that he had done a short time before to promote his most recent album at that time, Empire At Dylan’s request, the shoot had been done under the direction of Dave Stewart, who was then a member of Eurythmics. “His stuff had a spontaneous look to it,” said Dylan, “and somehow I just figured he would understand what I was doing. And he did: He put together a great band for this lip-sync video and sets us up with equipment on this little stage in a church somewhere in West L.A. So between all the time they took setting up camera shots and lights and all that stuff, we could just play live for this little crowd that we had gathered there.

“I can’t even express how good that felt—in fact, I was trying to remember the last time I’d felt that kind of direct connection, and finally I realized it must have been back in the 1950s, when I was fourteen or fifteen years old, playing with four-piece rock & roll bands back in Minnesota. Back in those days there weren’t any sound systems or anything that you had to bother with. You’d set up your amplifiers and turn them up to where you wanted to turn them. That just doesn’t happen anymore. Now there are just so many things that get in the way of that kind of feeling, that simple directness. For some reason, making this video just made me realize how far everything has come these last several years—and how far I’d come.”

MONTHS in late spring 1986, my conversations with Dylan continue.

It is just past midnight, and Dylan is standing in the middle of a crowded, smoke-laden recording studio tucked deep into the remote reaches of Topanga Canyon, outside Los Angeles. He is wearing brown-tinted sunglasses, a sleeveless white T-shirt, black vest, black jeans, frayed black motorcycle gloves, and he puffs hard at a Kool while bobbing his head rhythmically to the colossal blues shuffle that is thundering from the speakers above his head.

“Subterranean,” he mutters, smiling delightedly.

Sitting on a sofa a few feet away, also nodding their heads in rapt pleasure, are T-Bone Burnett and Al Kooper—old friends and occasional sidemen of Dylan. Several other musicians—including Los Lobos guitarist Cesar Rosas, R&B saxophonist Steve Douglas, and bassist James Jamerson, Jr., the son of the legendary Motown bass player—fill out the edges of the room. Like everyone else, they are smiling at this music: romping, bawdy, jolting rock & roll—the sort of indomitable music a man might conjure if he were about to lay claim to something big.

The guitars crackle, the horns honk and wail, the drums and bass rumble and clamor wildly, and then the room returns to silence. T-Bone Burnett, turning to Kooper, seems to voice a collective sentiment. “Man,” he says, “that gets it.”

(Video) Bob Dylan - Subterranean Homesick Blues (Official HD Video)

“Yeah,” says Kooper. “So

Everyone watches Dylan expectantly. For a moment, he appears to be in some distant, private place. “Subterranean,” is all he says, still smiling. “Positively subterranean,” he adds, running his hand through his mazy brown hair, chuckling. Then he walks into an adjoining room, straps on his weatherworn Fender guitar, tears off a quick, bristling blues lick and says, “Okay, who wants to play lead on this? I broke a string.”

Dylan has been like this all week, turning out spur-of-the-moment, blues-infused rock & roll with a startling force and imagination, piling up instrumental tracks so fast that the dazed, bleary-eyed engineers who are monitoring the sessions are having trouble cataloging all the various takes—so far, well over twenty songs, including gritty R&B, Chicago-steeped blues, rambunctious gospel, and raw-toned hillbilly forms. In part, Dylan is working fast merely as a practical matter: Rehearsals for his American tour with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers start in only a couple of weeks, and though it hardly seems possible in this overmeticulous, high-tech recording era, he figures he can write, record, mix, and package a new studio LP in that allotted term. “You see, I spend too much time working out the sound of my records these days,” he had told me earlier. “And if the records I’m making only sell a certain amount anyway, then why should I take so long putting them together? . . . I’ve got a lot of different records inside me, and it’s time just to start getting them

Apparently, this is not idle talk. Dylan has started perusing songs for a possible collection of new and standard folk songs and has also begun work on a set of Tin Pan Alley covers—which, it seems safe to predict, will be something to hear. At the moment, though, as Dylan leads the assembled band through yet another roadhouse-style blues number, a different ambition seems to possess him. This is Bob Dylan the rock & roller, and despite all the vagaries of his career, it is still an impressive thing to witness. He leans lustily into the songs’s momentum at the same instant that he invents its structure, pumping his rhythm guitar with tough, unexpected accents, much like Chuck Berry or Keith Richards, and in the process, prodding his other guitarists, Kooper and Rosas, to tangle and burn, like good-natured rivals. It isn’t until moments later, as everybody gathers back into the booth to listen to the playback, that it’s clear that this music sounds surprisingly like the riotous, dense music of Highway 61 that seems as menacing as it does joyful, and that, in any event, seems to erupt from an ungovernable imagination. Subterranean, indeed.

THERE WAS any central message to Bob Dylan’s early music, perhaps it was that it isn’t easy for a bright, scrupulous person to live in a society that honors the inversion of its own best values, that increasingly turns from the notions of community and democracy to the twisted politics of death and abundance. To live through such times with conscience and intelligence intact, Dylan said in his music, one had to hold a brave and mean mirror up to the face of cultural corruption.

These days, of course, the politics of corruption and death are doing just fine, and are fairly immune to any single pop star’s acts of sedition. But back in the fevered momentum of the 1960s, when he first asserted himself, Dylan had a colossal impact on the changing face of American culture. In that decade’s early years, folk music (which had been driven underground in the 1950s by conservative forces) was enjoying a popular resurgence, inspired by the (on the surface) wholesome success of the Kingston Trio (though there was nothing wholesome about their 1958 number 1 single, “Tom Dooley”—a century-old song recounting the true story of a man hanged for knifing his girlfriend). Under the influence of Joan Baez and Peter, Paul, and Mary, folk was turning more politically explicit, and was also becoming increasingly identified with civil rights and pacifism, among other causes. But it was with the young nasal-toned, rail-thin Bob Dylan—who had moved from Minnesota to New York to assume the legacy of folk’s greatest hero, Woody Guthrie—that 1960s’ folk would find its greatest hope: a remarkably prolific songwriter who was giving a forceful and articulate voice to the apprehensions and ideals of the emerging resdess generation. With “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall,” Dylan penned songs about racial suffering and the threat of nuclear apocalypse that acquired the status of immediate anthems, and with “The Times They Are a-Changin’,” he wrote an apt and chilling decree of the rising tensions of the coming era. “Come mothers and fathers/Throughout the land,” he sang, in a voice young with anger and old with knowledge, “And don’t criticize/What you can’t understand/Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command/Your old road is/Rapidly agin’/Please get out of the new one/If you can’t lend your hand/For the times they are a-changin’.”

In those first few years, Dylan was already beginning to transform the possibilities of popular songwriting—opening up the entire form to new themes and a new vernacular that were derived as much from the ambitions of literature and poetry as from the traditions of folk music. (In 1963, Peter, Paul, and Mary had two Top 10 hit singles written by Dylan, “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.”) But Dylan would soon go on to change all of what popular music might do. Inspired by both the popularity and the inventive song structures of the Beatles—who had exploded on America’s rock scene in early 1964—Dylan was feeling confined by the limited interests of the folk audience, and by the narrow stylistic range of folk music itself. After witnessing the Beatles’ breakthrough, and after hearing the rawer blues-based rock being made by the Animals and Rolling Stones, Dylan realized it was possible to transform and enliven his music, and to connect with a broader and more vital audience in the process. (When the Byrds scored a June 1965 number 1 hit with their chiming folk-rock cover of Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man,” it only further convinced him.)

On July 25, 1965, Dylan took the stage at the Newport Folk Festival with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and played a brief howling set of the new electric music he had been recording—and shocked folk purists howled back at him in rage. And for fair reason: The fleet, hard-tempered music that Dylan began making on albums like Bringing It All Back Home and Highway 61 unlike any reinvention of folk or pop that we had heard before—effectively killed off any remaining notions that folk was the imperative new art form of American youth, and conferred on rock a greater sense of consequence and a deeper expressiveness. Clearly, it was music worth the killing of old conceits and older ways. In particular, with “Like a Rolling Stone” (the singer’s biggest hit, and the decade’s most liberating, form-stretching single), Dylan framed perfectly the spirit of an emerging generation that was trying to live by its own rules and integrity, and that was feeling increasingly cut off from the conventions and privileges of the dominant mainstream culture. In the same manner that he had once given voice to a new rising political consciousness, Dylan seemed to be speaking our deepest-felt fears and hopes—to be speaking for “How does it he brayed at his brave new audience, “To be without a a complete a ROO-olling STONE?”

How did it feel? It felt scary; it felt exhilarating; and suddenly it felt exactly like rock & roll.

BOTH HIS early folk writing and his mid-1960s switch to electric music, Dylan gave voice to the rising anger of a bold new generation. In the process, he recast rock & roll as an art form that could now mock an entire society’s values and politics, and might even, in the end, help redeem (or at least affront) that society. Also, Dylan proved to be a natural star. He cultivated an impeccable gaunt-and-broody look and a remarkably charismatic arrogance. He was razor-witted, audacious, and dangerous, and he was helping to change the language and aspirations of popular music with his every work and gesture. In addition, Dylan’s interplay with the Beatles had seismic effect on popular music and youth culture. Combined, the two forces changed the soundscape of rock & roll in thorough and irrevocable ways that, a third of a century later, still carry tremendous influence. The two forces also had a sizable impact on each other. The Beatles opened up new possibilities in style and consensus; without their headway, Dylan likely would never have conceived “Like a Rolling Stone,” much less enjoyed a smash hit with it. But if the Beatles opened up a new audience, Dylan determined what could be done with that consensus, what could be said to that audience. His mid-60s work reinvented pop’s known rules of language and meaning, and revealed that rock & roll’s familiar structures could accommodate new unfamiliar themes, that a pop song could be about any subject that a writer was smart or daring enough to tackle. Without this crucial assertion, it is inconceivable that the Beatles would have gone on to write “Nowhere Man,” “Eleanor Rigby,” “Paperback Writer,” “Strawberry Fields Forever,” or “A Day in the Life,” or even that the Rolling Stones would have written the decade’s toughest riff and most taunting and libidinous declaration, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”

Dylan also bore influence on the Beatles in two other important respects. For one thing, he was reportedly the person who introduced them to drugs (marijuana, specifically), during his 1964 tour of England. This brand of experimentation would gradually affect not only the Beatles’ musical and lyrical perspectives, but also the perspectives of an entire generation. Indeed, in the mid-1960s, drug use became increasingly popular with young people and increasingly identified with rock culture—though it certainly wasn’t the first time drugs had been extolled as recreation or sacrament, or exploited for artistic inspiration. Many jazz and blues musicians (and, truth be known, numerous country-western artists) had been using marijuana and narcotics to enhance their improvisational bents for several decades, and in the ’50s, the Beats had brandished dope as another badge of nonconformism. But with ’60s rock, as drugs crossed over from the hip underground (and from research laboratories), stoney references became more overt and more mainstream than ever before. Getting high became seen as a way of understanding deeper truths, and sometimes as a way of deciphering coded pop songs (or simply enjoying the palpable aural sensations of the music). Just as important, getting stoned was a way of participating in private, forbidden experiences—as a means of staking out a consciousness apart from that of the “straight world.” Along with music and politics, drugs—which at this point largely meant marijuana, but would later incorporate psychedelics, amphetamines, barbiturates, opiates, and cocaine—were seen as an agency for a better world, or at least a short-cut to enlightenment or transcendence. And though the Beatles would stay demure on the subject for another year or two, by 1965, hip kids and angry authorities were already citing such songs as Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women #12 and 35” for their “druggy” meanings.

The other thing Dylan did for the Beatles was to help politicize them (in fact, he helped politicize a vast segment of rock culture), inspiring the group to accept their popularity as an opportunity to define and address a vital youth constituency. Following Dylan’s example, Lennon and McCartney came to see that they were not only speaking for a young audience, but for a generation that was increasingly under fire. More and more, their music—and rock at large—became a medium for addressing the issues and events that affected that generation.

A RESULT of all this influence, Bob Dylan was—next to Elvis Presley—the clearest shot at an individual cultural hero that rock & roll ever produced, and though he certainly pursued the occasion of his own moment in history, he would also pay a considerable cost for his ambition. You can see the payment already beginning in Don’t Look Back, D. A. Pennebaker’s documentary of Dylan’s 1965 solo tour of England. At every step of the tour, the young Dylan is met with rapt seriousness and testy curiosity, but also with the kind of pop-minded idolatry he had yet rarely enjoyed in America. And quickly enough, Dylan gets the better of it all—or at least seems to. He subverts an interview with a stuffy Time magazine correspondent into a stinging dismissal of the media, and how it bowdlerizes art, life, and truth. “I’m not gonna read any of these magazines . . . ,” says Dylan, “ ’cause they just got too much to lose by printing the truth, you know that.”

“What kind of truths do they leave out?” asks the interviewer.

“On anything!” answers Dylan. “Even on a worldwide basis. They’d just go off the stands in a day if they printed really the truth.”

“What is really the truth?”

“Really the truth is just a plain picture,” says Dylan.

“Of what?” asks the interviewer. “Particularly.”

“Of, you know,” says Dylan, “a plain picture of, let’s say, a tramp vomiting, man, into the sewer. You know, and next door to the picture, you know, Mr. Rockefeller, you know, or Mr. C. W. Jones, you know, on the subway going to work, you know. . . .”

Another time in the film, Dylan rails viciously and proudly against a drunken party-goer (“Listen, you’re Bobby Dylan,” slurs the drunk. “You’re a big international noise.” Snaps back Dylan: “I know it, man, I know I’m a big noise. But I’m a bigger noise than you, man.”) And in one particularly funny but cruel scene, Dylan calculatedly picks apart a painfully unassured science student. (“When you meet somebody,” asks the student, “what is your attitude toward them?” Dylan doesn’t pause a beat. “I don’t like them,” he says.)

In each of these encounters, Dylan acquires new and startling traits of self-certainty, and they’re all manifest in the quick, cocky expressiveness of his face. It’s a sharply handsome, mutable-looking face, as vain and brooding as Presley’s, as veiled and vulnerable as James Dean’s. Yet at other times it registers exhaustion, fear, and the demands that come with fame and irrevocable knowledge. Sitting on a train bound for Manchester, his features looking wan and pinched, hands shielding his eyes, you get the sense Dylan probably wanted to crawl out of many of his own best moments. The pressure was under way, and it ate at him quickly. Compare the cover portraits from Highway 61 Revisited (1965) and Blonde on Blonde (1966) and you can find visible evidence of the singer’s increasing strain. In the Highway 61 picture, Dylan looks exactly like what he was: a smart, self-assured street- and pop-wise twenty-four-year-old poet-prodigy, willing to stare down the world with a defiant gaze. By the time of the Blonde on Blonde photo—shot maybe six months later—he looked wasted and wary. In less than a year, Dylan had seemed to pass from youthful assurance to a haunted and dissolute weariness. What you heard on Blonde on Blonde was a wizardly greatness; what you saw on its cover was the visage of a man being consumed by that greatness. It was a bit like coming across a picture of what Robert Johnson might have looked like, just before the end.

In July 1966, shortly after the Blonde on Blonde sessions—and immediately following a tumultuous concert tour of the United Kingdom with his backing group the Hawks (later renamed the Band)—Dylan was riding his motorcycle one morning nearby his home in Woodstock, New York, when the back wheel locked and he was hurtled over his handlebar. He was taken to Middletown Hospital, with a concussion and broken vertebrae of the neck. An impending sixty-date concert tour of America was canceled and so were all future recording sessions. He retreated to his home in Woodstock, with his wife and children, and spent months holed up with his friends in the Band. According to some rumors, Dylan was not as seriously hurt as was widely believed, and had decided to use the time off to immerse himself in his new family life. According to others, Dylan also used the sabbatical to recover from the intense psychological turbulence and rumored drug-and-alcohol bents of his short-but-titanic season as the king of rock & roll.

During that layoff period—in that same season that became known as the Season of Love—Dylan sat around at his Woodstock home and in the basement of a nearby house rented by members of the Band, and in essence reevaluated not just his music, but his political and spiritual tempers as well. All together in that time, Dylan and the Band recorded something over one hundred tracks—many of them new songs (most improvised on the spot) and several others that were covers of old folk, country, and rock & roll songs. What resulted was a set of recordings that many fans and critics regard as Dylan’s most haunting and arcane body of work (author and critic Greil Marcus has written an entire terrific volume on the subject, Invisible Republic, published in 1997). Interestingly, Dylan himself would only rerecord two or three of those songs for release on his own later albums (though several tracks appeared on subsequent collections of his unreleased material, and many of the songs—most notably “I Shall Be Released,” “Tears of Rage,” “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere,” and “Too Much of Nothing,” were soon covered by such artists as Peter, Paul, and Mary, the Byrds, and the Band). Finally, in 1975—eight years after those sessions—Dylan authorized an official release of some of those recordings, The Basement Tapes (though if you look hard enough, you can find a five-CD set called The Original Basement Tapes that pretty much documents the entire affair; it’s well worth the search and the expense).

As Marcus and others have noted, the basement recordings are full of strange parables, biblical references, half-finished tales of humor, flight, death, and abandonment. It is all roughhewn, primitively recorded—as if a ghost were taking it all down in its impalpable memory. And yet there is something about those songs that seems timeless, as if all the tumult going on in the world outside (a tumult that Dylan helped make possible with his earlier mind-challenging style of rock & roll) was simply far removed. At the same time, you do hear America—its joys, its losses, its fears, and betrayals—in those basement recordings as you hear it nowhere else in Dylan’s music, not even in his early, more explicitly political anthems. What remains interesting, though, is how distant Dylan has sometimes seemed from what he and the Band created during that long season.

There is a spooky, unforgettable bootleg video of a visit between Dylan and John Lennon, as they sit in the back of a limousine, winding their way through London in post-dawn hours. It was shot in 1966 (for the singer’s astonishing film, Eat the during Dylan’s wild and dangerous U.K. tour with the Hawks, and in the roughly twenty minutes that the episode lasts, you can see that Dylan was a man clearly close to some sort of breakdown. At first he and Lennon are funny and acerbic—not to mention competitive—in their exchanges, though it also seems apparent that Dylan has been up the entire night, maybe drinking; maybe taking drugs. Suddenly, he starts to come undone. He is sick of having a camera in front of him at every moment, and more than that, he is literally sick. He turns pale and begs the driver to get him back to the hotel as quickly as possible. Lennon, meantime, is cautious, trying to stay clever, though he looks clearly horrified at what he is witnessing. Had Dylan kept up that pace—that pace of indulgence, that pace of making music that challenged almost every aspect of the world, music that outraged his old fans and caused his new fans to want him to push even might well have been dead within a season or two. The psychic costs of that sort of artistry, of that force of invention, can be unimaginable. It was as if Dylan danced extremely close to the lip of an abyss. We wanted to know what he saw there—we wanted to know so that we could have that knowledge without running the ungodly risk of facing that abyss ourselves. Dylan probably got as close to that edge as one can and still remain alive, and finally he decided that the glimpse alone was not worth his obliteration. Dylan, it seems, saw too much too fast, and was afraid of ever getting that close again to chaos.

(Video) Bob Dylan - Masters of War (Official Audio)

At least, that’s one way I have sometimes thought about what informed Dylan’s retreat into Woodstock and into the fraternity of the Band and their music-making. It was a way of finding what could be recovered after one had learned too much about the meanness of not just the world outside, but also about the dark, troubled depths of one’s own heart. Still, periods of retreat can sometimes be as painful to recall as whatever led to the retreat in the first place, and for whatever reason, Dylan has only occasionally incorporated the basement material into his active repertoire. Years after that time, Dylan would tell biographer Robert Shelton: “Woodstock was a daily excursion to nothingness.” The Band’s guitarist Robbie Robertson, in a conversation with Greil Marcus for the purpose of Marcus’s Invisible Republic, seemed to confirm Dylan’s comment: “A lot of stuff, Bob would say, ‘We should destroy this.’ ” In that nothingness, though, Dylan made some of his best music, and—not for the last time—reinvented himself.

MONTHS after his 1966 accident—and at the peak of rock & roll’s psychedelic era—Dylan returned to the pop world with John Wesley Harding: an acoustic-guitar and country rhythm-section album, featuring a man who was now singing in a startlingly mellifluent voice. Along with the basement sessions, John Wesley Harding was music that set out to find what could be salvaged in the American spirit—what values of family and history might endure or help heal in a time of intense generational division and political rancor. It was as if Dylan were trying to work against the era’s context of rebellion and refusal, a context that he, as much as anybody, had helped make prevalent. (Indeed, almost every work Dylan made subsequently would run against the grain and temper of the predominant rock & roll sensibility.) Or perhaps he had simply lost his affection for a cultural momentum that, in his rush to fame and invention, had almost cost him his life and sanity.

But Dylan had changed rock & roll too much to undo or stop its drift, or to be released from the promises of his earlier visions. John Wesley Harding was simply further proof: The album’s stripped-down sound and bare-bones style set in motion a wide-ranging reevaluation—and reaffirmation—of rock & roll root values and had a tremendous impact on everyone from the Beatles and Rolling Stones to the Byrds and Grateful Dead. In effect, John Wesley Harding flattened the visions and ambitions of psychedelia. After hearing John Wesley Harding, the Beatles made “Get Back,” the Stones revivified their blues sensibility with Beggar’s Banquet, the Grateful Dead made their countryish masterpieces, Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty, and the Byrds (who had now acquired the remarkable Gram Parson) became an unabashed, fully-formed country-western band with Sweetheart of the

This trend began to disturb some critics a year later when, in 1969, Dylan recorded his own full LP of lovely and pure country songs, Nashville Skyline, that included a raggedy duet with C&W star Johnny Cash. The immediate effect of this offbeat turn was to complicate the myth of Dylan’s personality, and the meanings of his music. It made him appear more enigmatic, mysterious, and abstruse, and raised questions not only about the validity of his musical departure, but about our political responses to it. Since country music was widely viewed as the music of a working-class sensibility, and since it represented a conservative audience that was seen as stalwart supporters of the war in Vietnam, did this mean that Dylan had now turned political sides? Or had he simply lost faith in political solutions altogether? (“Dylan’s calm sounded smug, tranquilized,” wrote historian Todd Gitlin in The “To settle his quarrel with the world, he had filed away his passions.”) Could music this refined and seemingly apolitical have any real meaning for a young audience still under the shadow of the Vietnam War? After all, rock & roll was supposed to be for a young audience, and in the climate of the late 1960s, that audience was politically concerned—in fact, mortally threatened. How could a rock figure of Dylan’s caliber make music that failed to respond to those concerns? Like Elvis Presley before him, Bob Dylan changed the course of a nation, and then, it seems, attempted to remove himself from the ramifications of such an act.

Typically, Dylan was rarely helpful when it came to discussing such matters. In a 1968 Sing Out! interview (perhaps the most intriguing Dylan has ever given), Dylan’s friend Happy Traum told the singer that Dylan’s latest songs weren’t as “socially or politically applicable as they were earlier.” Dylan replied: “Probably that is because no one cares to see it the way I’m seeing it now, whereas before, I saw it the way they saw it. . . . Anyway, how do you know that I’m not, as you say, for the war?”

Some detractors accused Dylan of misreading the times, of refusing to commit himself on demanding issues, and perhaps they were right. But all the critical scrutiny only managed to obscure the truth that much of Dylan’s on Blonde music was still wondrous. John Wesley Harding, Nashville Skyline, New Morning, Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid, and Planet Waves comprise a lovely, daring body of work. And even such broadly reviled works as Self Portrait and Street Legal are graced with more affecting music than most critics still care to admit. (If you need proof, play Self “Copper Kettle” some late night, when you have both a dismal—at least melancholy—mood and a strong drink at hand.) If much of Dylan’s early 1970s work would no longer transform pop music or youth style, it was partly because the pop world didn’t much want a Dylan it couldn’t own or define—a Dylan unwilling to make obvious, assuring gestures—and perhaps Dylan didn’t much want that audience.

For a brief period in the mid-1970s, this all changed. In 1974, Dylan mounted his first tour in eight years (again, with the Band), resulting in the raucous Before the At its time, it proved the most successful rock tour to date. Then, Dylan recorded what many critics still view as his single finest work, Blood on the All the singer-songwriter’s old wit and fire were back in fine form—but there was also a new, more aching depth, which many observers attributed to rumors that Dylan’s marriage with Sara Lowndes was beginning to pull apart. In 1976, another fine album, Then, another major tour: Dylan barnstorming across America with the Rolling Thunder Revue, putting on some of the most fanciful and tantalizing shows of the decade, singing and writing like a man newly possessed.

Perhaps, then, it should have come as no surpise that, after this extraordinary season of renewed popularity, Dylan would make his boldest bid at disengaging himself from pop concerns. This time out, he turned his perspective to making “born again” Christian moralist music that had little lasting favor among most rock critics and pop faddists. Indeed, the cut-and-dried piety and matter-of-fact singing in Dylan’s Christian music caused many of us to wonder whether his early greatness had simply been a fluke, or something that had now evaporated. Indeed, some of that music was pretty trying—just about all of Slow Train parts of Saved and Shot of Love were plain bracing, especially the former’s “Solid Rock,” which sounded like the Sex Pistols proclaiming the might and wrath of early Christianity’s world-shattering vision (which, come to think of it, really isn’t that much different than punk’s early world-shattering vision).

After the Christian venture (which, in some ways, I think never really ended for Dylan), it seemed to many fans that Dylan had now lost not just a certain vital sense of commitment, but also much of his relevance. Though Dylan would go on to make much lovely and resourceful music, he would never again produce work that would change or redefine America and its music or culture (“Like a Rolling Stone,” as much as in any work in pop’s history, made the times—in fact, the song didn’t attract an audience so much as simply ran it over with the impact of the inevitable). Dylan’s surpassing moment—among the brightest and most influential moments in modern American culture—had come and then, more quickly than any admirers ever expected, it had passed, and with much of his subsequent music he simply tried to outdistance the claims of his own past. Consequently, Bob Dylan found himself in a dilemma shared by no other rock figure of his era: He had been sidestepped by the pop world he helped transform. For the last thirty years or so, he has had to cope with that knowledge—and he has also had to cope with the knowledge that an increasingly capricious pop world has never really forgiven him for having lost the momentum of his frenzied, world-breaking vision.

AGAIN to 1986—when I speak with Dylan during his recording sessions for what would become, in part, his Knocked Out Loaded and Down in the Groove albums. At that time, Dylan is in the midst of a period of high activity. For one thing, there’s been his participation in the pop world’s increased spate of political and social activism, including his involvement in the USA for Africa and Artists United Against Apartheid projects and his appearance at the Live Aid and Farm Aid programs (the latter, an event inspired by an off-the-cuff remark Dylan had made at Live Aid). More important, there were intriguing indications in 1983’s Infidels and 1985’s Empire Burlesque that the singer seemed interested in working his way back into the concerns of the real-life modern world. The latter album, in particular, plays as an artful attempt at adapting his music to recent advancements in pop sound, style, and technology. Yet the album’s most affecting song, “Dark Eyes,” is also Dylan’s simplest, most ancient-sounding track in years. “Dark Eyes” is a statement of conscience, emotional distance, and moral divergence, and Dylan plays it straight from the heart—just his own voice, guitar, and harmony carrying the reverie, as if it were a dark madrigal. Over wistful staccato chords, and in a lovely high voice, Dylan looks back and ahead at the same time, and directly into the specter of unforgettable memories that seem indivisible from an uncertain future. “I live in another world,” he sings, “where life and death are memorized . . . /Oh time is short and the days are sweet and passion rules the arrow that flies/A million faces at my feet but all I see are dark eyes.” In the mid-1980s, “Dark Eyes” sounds to me like the music Bob Dylan might yet make, when he again cares enough to forget the vagaries and vogues of the modern pop scene.

Of course, Dylan has his own views about all this talk of decline and renewal. A little later in the evening at the Topanga studio, while various musicians are working on overdubs, he sits in a quiet office, fiddling with one of his ever-present cigarettes and taking occasional sips from a plastic cup filled with white wine. We are discussing a column that appeared in the April issue of Artforum, by critic Greil Marcus. Marcus has covered Dylan frequently over the years, but in 1986 he is less than compelled by the artist’s recent output. Commenting on Dylan’s career, and about a recent five-LP retrospective of Dylan’s music, Biograph, Marcus wrote: “Dylan actually did something between 1963 and 1968, and . . . what he did then created a standard against which everything he has putatively done since can be measured. . . . The fact that the 1964 ‘It Ain’t Me, Babe’ can be placed on an album next to the 1974 ‘You Angel You’ is a denial of everyone’s best hopes.”

Dylan seems intrigued by Marcus’s comments, but also amused. “Well, he’s right and he’s wrong,” he says. “I did that accidentally. That was all accidental, as every age is. You’re doing something, you don’t know what it is, you’re just doing it. And later on you’ll look at it and . . .” His words trail off, then he begins again. “To me, I don’t have a ‘career.’ . . . A career is something you can look back on, and I’m not ready to look back. Time doesn’t really exist for me in those kinds of terms. I don’t really remember in any monumental way ‘what I have done.’ This isn’t my career; this is my life, and it’s still vital to me.

“Then again, I never really dwell on myself too much in terms of what I’ve For one thing, so much of it went by in such a flash, it’s hard for me to focus on. I was once offered a great deal of money for an autobiography, and I thought about it for a minute, then I decided I wasn’t ready. I have to be sat down and have this stuff drawn out of me, because on my own I wouldn’t think about these things. You just go ahead and you live your life and you move on to the next thing, and when it’s all said and done, the historians can figure it out. That’s the way I look at it.”

He removes his sunglasses and rubs at his eyes. “I feel like I really don’t want to prove any points,” he continues. “I just want to do whatever it is I do. These lyrical things that come off in a unique or a desolate sort of way, I don’t know, I don’t feel I have to put that out anymore to please anybody. Besides, anything you want to do for posterity’s sake, you can just sing into a tape recorder and give it to your mother, you know?”

Dylan laughs at his last remark. “See,” he says, “somebody once told me—and I don’t remember who it was or even where it was—but they said, give a hundred percent.’ My thing has always been just getting by on whatever I’ve been getting by on. That applies to that time, too, that time in the sixties. It never really occurred to me that I had to do it for any kind of motive except that I just felt like I wanted to do it. As things worked, I mean, I could never have predicted it.”

I tell him it’s hard to believe he wasn’t giving a hundred percent on Highway 61 Revisited or Blonde on

He flashes a shy grin and shrugs. “Well, maybe I was. But there’s something at the back of your mind that says, ‘I’m not giving you a hundred percent. I’m not giving anybody a hundred percent. I’m gonna give you this much, and this much is gonna have to do. I’m good at what I do. I can afford to give you this much and still be as good as, if not better than, the guy over across the street.’ I’m not gonna give it all—I’m not Judy Garland, who’s gonna die onstage in front of a thousand clowns. If we’ve learned anything, we should have learned that.”

A moment later an engineer is standing in the doorway, telling Dylan the overdubs are done. “This is all gonna pass,” Dylan says before getting up to go back into the studio. “All these people who say whatever it is I’m supposed to be doing—that’s all gonna pass, because, obviously, I’m not gonna be around forever. That day’s gonna come when there aren’t gonna be any more records, and then people won’t be able to say, ‘Well this one’s not as good as the last one.’ They’re gonna have to look at it all. And I don’t know what the picture will be, what people’s judgment will be at that time. I can’t help you in that area.”

WEEKS Bob Dylan sits on a dog-eared sofa in the Van Nuys studio where Tom Petty is working, sipping at a plastic cup full of whiskey and water. He blows a curt puff of smoke and broods over it. His weary air reminds me of something he’d said earlier: “Man, sometimes it seems I’ve spent half my life in a recording studio. . . . It’s like living in a coal mine.”

Dylan and Petty have been holed up in this room the better part of the night, working on a track called “Got My Mind Made Up,” which they have co-written for Dylan’s album. By all appearances, it’s been a productive session: The tune is a walloping, Bo Diddley-like raveup with Delta blues-style slide guitar, and Dylan has been hurling himself into the vocal with a genuinely staggering force. Yet there’s also a note of tension about the evening. The pressure of completing the album has reportedly been wearing on Dylan, and his mood is said to have been rather dour and unpredictable these last several days. In fact, somewhere along the line he has decided to put aside most of the rock & roll tracks he had been working on in Topanga, and is apparently now assembling the album from various sessions that have accrued over the last year. “It’s all sorts of stuff,” he says. “It doesn’t really have a theme or a purpose.”

While waiting for his backup singers to arrive, Dylan tries to warm up to the task of the evening’s interview. But in contrast to his manner in our earlier conversations, he seems somewhat distracted, almost edgy, and many questions don’t seem to engender much response. After a bit, I ask him if he can tell me something about the lyrical tenor of the songs. “Got My Mind Made Up,” for example, includes a reference to Libya. Will this be a record that has something to say about our national mood?

He considers the subject. “The kinds of stuff I write now come out over all the years I’ve lived,” he says, “so I can’t say anything is really that current. There may be one line that’s current. . . . But you have to go on. You can’t keep doing the same old thing all the time.”

I try a couple more questions about political matters—about whether he feels any kinship with the new activism in pop music—but he looks exhausted at the possibility of seriously discussing the topic. “I’m opposed to whatever oppresses people’s intelligence,” he says. “We all have to be against that sort of thing, or else we have nowhere to go. But that’s not a fight for one man, that’s everybody’s fight.”

Over the course of our interviews, I’ve learned you can’t budge him on a subject if he’s not in the mood, so I move on. We chat a while, but nothing much seems to engage him until I ask if he’s pleased by the way the American public is responding to the upcoming tour. Demand has been so intense that the itinerary has been increased from twenty-six to forty shows, with more dates likely. In the end, it’s estimated that he’ll play to a million people.

“People forget it,” he says, “but since 1974, I’ve never stopped working. I’ve been out on tours where there hasn’t been any publicity. So for me, I’m not getting caught up in all this excitement of a big tour. I’ve played big tours and I’ve played small tours. I mean, what’s such a big deal about this one?”

(Video) Bob Dylan - Murder Most Foul (Official Audio)

Well, it is his first cross-country tour of America in eight years.

“Yeah, but to me, an audience is an audience, no matter where they are. I’m not particularly into this American thing, this Bruce Springsteen-John Cougar-‘America first’ thing. I feel just as strongly about the American principles as those guys do, but I personally feel that what’s important is more eternal things. This American pride thing, that don’t mean nothing to me. I’m more locked into what’s real forever.”

Quickly, Dylan seems animated. He douses one cigarette, lights another, and begins speaking at a faster clip. “Listen,” he says, “I’m not saying anything bad about these guys, because I think Bruce has done a tremendous amount for real gutbucket rock & roll—and folk music, in his own way. And John Cougar’s great, though the best thing on his record, I thought, was his grandmother singing. That knocked me out. But that ain’t what music’s about. Subjects like ‘How come we don’t have our jobs?’ Then you’re getting political. And if you want to get political, you ought to go as far out as you can.”

But certainly he understands, I say, that Springsteen and Mellencamp aren’t exactly trying to fan the flames of American pride. Instead, they’re trying to say that if the nation loses sight of certain principles, it also forfeits its claim to greatness.

“Yeah? What are those principles? Are they biblical principles? The only principles you can find are the principles in the Bible. I mean, Proverbs has got them all.”

They are such principles, I say, as justice and equality.

“Yeah, but . . .” Dylan pauses. As we’ve been talking, others—including Petty, guitarist Mike Campbell, the sound engineers, and the backup singers—have entered the room. Dylan stands up and starts pacing back and forth, smiling. It’s hard to tell whether he is truly irked or merely spouting provocatively for the fun of it. After a moment, he continues. “To me, America means the Indians. They were here and this is their country, and all the white men are just trespassing. We’ve devastated the natural resources of this country, for no particular reason except to make money and buy houses and send our kids to college and shit like that. To me, America is the Indians, period. I just don’t go for nothing more. Unions, movies, Greta Garbo, Wall Street, Tin Pan Alley, or Dodgers baseball games.” He laughs. “It don’t mean shit. What we did to the Indians is disgraceful. I think America, to get right, has got to start there first.”

I reply that a more realistic way of getting right might be to follow the warning of one of his own songs, “Clean Cut Kid,” and not send our young people off to fight in another wasteful war.

“Who sends the young people out to war?” says Dylan. “Their parents do.”

But it isn’t the parents who suited them up and put them on the planes and sent them off to die in Vietnam.

“Look, the parents could have said, ‘Hey, we’ll talk about it.’ But parents aren’t into that. They don’t know how to deal with what they should do or shouldn’t do. So they leave it to the government.”

Suddenly, loudly, music blares up in the room. Perhaps somebody—maybe Petty—figures the conversation is getting a little too tense. Dylan smiles and shrugs, then pats me on the shoulder. “We can talk a little more later,” he says.

For the next couple of hours, Dylan and Petty attend to detail work on the track—getting the right accent on a ride cymbal and overdubbing the gospel-derived harmonies of the four female singers who have just arrived. As always, it is fascinating to observe how acutely musical Dylan is. In one particularly inspired offhand moment, he leads the four singers—Queen Esther Morrow, Elisecia Wright, Madelyn Quebec, and Carol Dennis—through a lovely a cappella version of “White Christmas,” then moves into a haunting reading of an old gospel standard, “Evening Sun.” Petty and the rest of us just stare, stunned. “Man,” says Petty frantically, “we’ve got to get this on tape.”

Afterward, Dylan leads me out into a lounge area to talk some more. He leans on top of a pinball machine, a cigarette nipped between his teeth. He seems calmer, happy with the night’s work. He also seems willing to finish the conversation we were having earlier, so we pick up where we left off. What would he do, I ask, if his own sons were drafted?

Dylan looks almost sad as he considers the question. After several moments, he says: “They could do what their conscience tells them to do, and I would support them. But it also depends on what the government wants your children to do. I mean, if the government wants your children to go down and raid Central American countries, there would be no moral value in that. I also don’t think we should have bombed those people in Libya.” Then he flashes one of those utterly guileless, disarming smiles of his. “But what I want to know,” he says, “is, what’s all this got to do with folk music and rock & roll?”

Quite a bit, since he, more than any other artist, raised the possibility that folk music and rock & roll could have political impact. “Right,” says Dylan, “and I’m proud of that.”

And the reason questions like these keep coming up is because many of us aren’t so sure where he stands these days—in fact, some critics have charged that, with songs like “Slow Train” and “Union Sundown,” he’s even moved a bit to the right.

Dylan muses over the remark in silence for a moment. “Well, for me,” he begins, “there is no right and there is no left. There’s truth and there’s untruth, y’know? There’s honesty and there’s hypocrisy. Look in the Bible: You don’t see nothing about right or left. Other people might have other ideas about things, but I don’t, because I’m not that smart. I hate to keep beating people over the head with the Bible, but that’s the only instrument I know, the only thing that stays true.”

Does it disturb him that there seem to be so many preachers these days who claim that to be a good Christian one must also be a political conservative?

“Conservative? Well, don’t forget, Jesus said that it’s harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven than it is for a camel to enter the eye of a needle. I mean, is that conservative? I don’t know, I’ve heard a lot of preachers say how God wants everybody to be wealthy and healthy. Well, it doesn’t say that in the Bible. You can twist anybody’s words, but that’s only for fools and people who follow fools. If you’re entangled in the snares of this world, which everybody is . . .”

Petty comes into the room and asks Dylan to come hear the final overdubs. Dylan likes what he hears, then decides to take one more pass at the lead vocal. This time, apparently, he nails it. “Don’t ever try to change me/I been in this thing too long/There’s nothing you can say or do/To make me think I’m wrong,” he snarls at the song’s outset, and while it is hardly the most inviting line one has ever heard him sing, tonight he seems to render it with a fitting passion.

Another midnight in Hollywood, and Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and the Heartbreakers are clustered in a cavernous room at the old Zoetrope Studios, working out a harmonica part to “License to Kill,” when Dylan suddenly begins playing a different, oddly haunting piece of music. Gradually, the random tones he is blowing begin to take a familiar shape, and it becomes evident that he’s playing a plaintive, bluesy variation of “I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine.” Keyboardist Benmont Tench is the first to recognize the melody, and quickly embellishes it with a graceful piano part; Petty catches the drift and underscores Dylan’s harmonica with some strong, sharp chord strokes. Soon, the entire band, which tonight includes guitarist Al Kooper, is seizing Dylan’s urge and transforming the song into a full and passionate performance. Dylan never sings the lyrics himself but instead signals a backup singer to take the lead, and immediately “I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine” becomes a full-fledged, driving spiritual.

Five minutes later, the moment has passed. According to Petty and Tench, Dylan’s rehearsals are often like this: inventive versions of wondrous songs come and go and are never heard again, except in those rare times when they may be conjured onstage. In a way, an instance like this leaves one wishing that every show in the True Confessions Tour were simply another rehearsal: Dylan’s impulses are so sure-handed and imaginative, they’re practically matchless.

Trying to get Dylan to talk about where such moments come from—or trying to persuade him to take them to the stage—is, as one might expect, not that easy. “I’m not sure if people really want to hear that sort of thing from me,” he says, smiling ingenuously. Then he perches himself on an equipment case and puts his hands into his pockets, looking momentarily uncomfortable. Quickly, his face brightens. “Hey,” he says, pulling a tape from his pocket, “wanna hear the best album of the year?” He holds a cassette of AKA Grafitti Man, an album by poet John Trudell and guitarist Jesse Ed Davis. “Only people like Lou Reed and John Doe can dream about doing work like this. Most don’t have enough talent.”

Dylan has his sound engineer cue the tape to a song about Elvis Presley. It is a long, stirring track about the threat that so many originally perceived in Presley’s manner and the promise so many others discovered in his music. “We heard Elvis’s song for the first time/Then we made up our own mind,” recites Trudell at one point, followed by a lovely, blue guitar solo from Davis that quotes “Love Me Tender.” Dylan grins at the line, then shakes his head with delight. “Man,” he says, “that’s about all anybody ever needs to say about Elvis Presley.”

(Video) Bob Dylan - Things Have Changed (Official HD Video)

I wonder if Dylan realizes that the line could also have been written about him—that millions of us heard his songs, and that those songs not only inspired our own but, in some deep-felt place, almost seemed to be our own. But before there is even time to raise the question, Dylan has put on his coat and is on his way across the room.

IS NOW eleven years later, 1997, and Bob Dylan—presently in his late fifties—is still an active figure in rock & roll. Over the last several years he has been busier than at any time since the mid-1960s, releasing several collections of new recordings—even at one point writing and singing with the first major group he has ever joined (the Traveling Wilburys, including George Harrison, Tom Petty, and the late Roy Orbison).

Yet despite this renascence, and despite the enduring influence of his 1960s work, the modern pop world has lost much of its fascination with Dylan. In the last several years, artists like Bruce Springsteen, Prince, Madonna, Public Enemy, Metallica, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Nine Inch Nails, Kurt Cobain, Beck, Pearl Jam, U2, and Courtney Love have all produced (more or less) vital work that has transformed what popular music is about and what it might accomplish, and some of that work has affected the culture at large, fueling ongoing social and political debate. Dylan hasn’t made music to equal that effect for many years, nor has he really tried to. At best, he has tried occasionally to render work that taps into pop’s commercial and technological vogues (such as Empire Burlesque and 1989’s Oh or has mounted tours designed to interact with the massive audiences that his backing bands attract (such as his 1980s ventures with the Grateful Dead and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers). More typically, he has produced records that many observers regard as haphazard and uncommitted (like Knocked Out Loaded, Down in the Groove, and 1990’s Under the Red to my tastes, they are among his best latter-day records and hold up wonderfully). In the early 1990s, he also released a mesmerizing set recorded for MTV, Bob Dylan Unplugged, plus two all-acoustic albums of folk material by other artists, Good as I Been to You and the exceptional World Gone The latter two records feature some of the most deeply felt, spectral singing of Dylan’s entire career—the equal of his best vocals on Blonde on Blonde, The Basement Tapes, John Wesley Harding, Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid, and Blood on the (They also feature his all-time best liner notes. “STACK A LEE,” he writes “is Frank Hutchinson’s version, what does the song say exactly? it says no man gains immortality through public acclaim.” Later he writes: “LONE PILGRIM is from an old Doc Watson record, what attracts me to the song is how the lunacy of trying to fool the self is set aside at some given point. salvation & the needs of mankind are prominent & hegemony takes a breathing spell.”)

Good as I Been to You and World Gone Wrong remind me of something Dylan told me during our first conversation, back in 1985. We had been talking about the music of Bruce Springsteen and Dylan said: “Bruce knows where he comes from—he has taken what everybody else has done and made his own thing out of it—and that’s great. But somebody will come along after Bruce, say ten or twenty years from now, and maybe they’ll be looking to Bruce as their primary model and somehow miss the fact that his music came from Elvis Presley and Woody Guthrie. In other words, all they’re gonna get is Bruce; they’re not gonna get what Bruce got.

“If you copy somebody—and there’s nothing wrong with that—the top rule should be to go back and copy the guy that was there first. It’s like all the people who copied me over the years, too many of them just got me, they didn’t get what I got.” Over thirty years after Bob Dylan’s first album (which was also a testament to his folk sources), Good as I Been to You and World Gone Wrong are reminders of what the singer “got”—and still gets—from American folk music’s timeless mysteries and depths.

In addition, Dylan has been touring almost incessantly for over a generation now. Beyond his stylistic, political, philosophical, and personal changes, beyond the sheer weight of his legend, Dylan continues to play music simply because, in any season, on almost any given night, it is what he would prefer to be doing; it isn’t just a career, but instead, a necessary way of living. It’s as if Dylan were committed once again to the restless troubadour life that he effectively renounced following his motorcycle accident, and as if he is now more invested in music’s sustaining power than ever before.

In short, there remains much that is illuminating and beautiful—and also profoundly unsettling—to be found in Dylan’s ongoing work. On his best nights onstage, for example, he might take a song like “Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again” or “Desolation Row,” and turn it upside down, filling it with new wit and craziness. Moments later, he may turn around and deliver a folk ballad like “One Too Many Mornings” with a heart-stopping grace, in a voice as sweet as the voice with which he first recorded it, over thirty years ago, or he can take “John Brown” (for my money, his best anti-war song) and render it with a force that is truly breathtaking. In addition, Dylan’s best post-1970s songs—including “The Groom’s Still Waiting at the Altar,” “Man in the Long Black Coat,” “Under the Red Sky,” “Dark Eyes,” “Every Grain of Sand,” “Death Is Not the End,” “Blind Willie McTell,” and “Dignity”—aren’t that much of a departure from such earlier touchstones as “Like a Rolling Stone” and “I Shall Be Released.” That is, they are the testaments of a man who isn’t aiming to change the world so much as he’s simply trying to find a way to abide all the heartbreaks and disillusion that result from living in a morally centerless time. In the end, that stance may be no less courageous than the fiery iconoclasm that Dylan once proudly brandished.

IS of course, to read some of Dylan’s recent music as a key to his current life and sensibility—but then that has long been the case. That’s because, in the aftermath of his motorcycle accident, Dylan became an intensely private man. He did not divulge much about the details of his life or the changing nature of his beliefs, and so when he made records like Nashville Skyline, Self Portrait, and New that extolled the value of marriage and family as the redemptive meaning of life, and that countless critics cited as Dylan’s withdrawal from “significance”—many fans assumed that these works also signified the truths of Dylan’s own private life. Later, in the mid-1970s, when Dylan’s marriage began to come apart, and he made Blood on the Tracks and those records’ accounts of romantic loss and disenchantment—his songs seemed to be confessions of his suffering, and the pain appeared to suit his artistic talents better than domestic bliss had. Well, maybe . . . but also maybe not. The truth is, there is still virtually nothing that is publicly known about the history of Bob Dylan’s marriage to Sara Lowndes—how it came together, how it survived for a time, or how and why it ultimately failed.

Since that period, there is even less that is known about Dylan, beyond a few simple facts: namely, that he has never remarried (and has apparently never found a love to take the place of his wife, except, perhaps, his love for God), and he reportedly maintains an attentive and close relationship with his children. Past that, Dylan’s personal life pretty much remains hidden; in fact, it is one of the best-guarded private lives that any famous celebrity has ever managed to achieve. Dylan’s friends do not disclose much about his secrets—except, that is, when they leak his unreleased recordings—and Dylan himself likes discussing these matters even less than he likes discussing the meanings of his songs.

Which only causes one to wonder: Are Dylan’s songs truly the key to Dylan? Does his life still pour into his work? And is he a happy man—or have his history and vision instead robbed him of the chance for peace and happiness forever?

There are, of course, no definitive answers to questions like these, and maybe they aren’t even the right questions to be asking. Then again, with Dylan it isn’t always easy to know just what are the right questions to ask. During those recording sessions for Knocked Out Loaded, back in 1986, I once or twice tried broaching some of these topics with him. One night, at about 2 Dylan was leaning in a hallway in an L.A. recording studio, talking about 1965, when he toured England and made the film Don’t Look Though it was a peak period in his popularity and creativity, it was also a time of intense pressure and unhappiness—a time not long prior to his bizarre, early-morning limousine ride with John Lennon. “That was before I got married and had kids of my own,” he told me. “Having children: That’s the great equalizer, you know? Because you don’t care so much about yourself anymore. I know that’s been true in my case. I’m not sure I’d always been that good to people before that time, or that good to myself.”

I asked him: Did he think he was a happier man these days than twenty years before?

“Oh man, I’ve never even thought about that,” Dylan said, laughing. “Happiness is not on my list of priorities. I just deal with day-to-day things. If I’m happy, I’m happy—and if I’m not, I don’t know the difference.”

He fell silent for a few moments, and stared at his hands. “You know,” he said, “these are yuppie words, happiness and It’s not happiness or unhappiness, it’s either blessed or unblessed. As the Bible says, ‘Blessed is the man who walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly.’ Now, that must be a happy man. Knowing that you are the person you were put on this earth to be—that’s much more important than just being happy.

“Anyway, happiness is just a balloon—it’s just temporary stuff. Anybody can be happy, and if you’re not happy, they got a lot of drugs that can make you happy. But trust me: Life is not a bowl of cherries.”

I asked him if, in that case, he felt he was a blessed man.

“Oh yeah,” he said, nodding his head and smiling broadly. “Yeah, I do. But not because I’m a big rock & roll star.” And then he laughed, and excused himself to go back to his recording session.

That was about as far as we got with that line of questioning.

A couple of nights later, I saw Dylan during another post-midnight visit. “I’m thinking about calling this album Knocked Out Dylan said. He repeated the phrase once, then laughed. “Is that any good, you think, Knocked Out

Dylan was in that album’s final stages, and he wanted to play me the tape of a song called “Brownsville Girl,” that he had co-written with playwright Sam Shepard and had just finished recording. It was a long, storylike song, and it opened with the singer intoning a half-talked, half-sung remembrance about the time he saw the film The Gunfighter, starring Gregory Peck: the tale of a fast-gun outlaw trying to forsake his glorious, on-the-run life when another fast-gun kid comes along and shoots him in the back. The man singing the song sits in a dark theater, watching the gunslinger’s death over and over. As he watches it, he is thinking about how the dying cowboy briefly found a better meaning of life to aspire to—a life of family and love and peace—but in the end, couldn’t escape his past. And then the singer begins thinking about all the love he has held in his own life, and all the hope he has lost, all the ideals and lovers he gave up for his own life on the run—and by the time the song is over, the singer can’t tell if he is the man he is watching in the movie, or if he is simply stuck in his own memory. It was hard to tell where Dylan ends and Shepard begins in the lyrics, but when “Brownsville Girl” came crashing to its end, it was quite easy to hear whom the song really belongs to. I’ve only known of one man who could put across a performance that exhilarating, and he was sitting there right in front of me, concentrating hard on the tale, as if he too were hearing the song’s wondrous involutions for the first time—as if it were the first time Bob Dylan was hearing about the life he has led and can never leave behind.

I didn’t really know what to say, so I said nothing. Dylan lit a cigarette and took a seat on a nearby sofa and started talking. “You know, sometimes I think about people like T-Bone Walker, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters—these people who played into their sixties. If I’m here at eighty, I’ll be doing the same thing I’m doing now. This is all I want to do—it’s all I can do. . . . I think I’ve always aimed my songs at people who I imagined, maybe falsely so, had the same experiences that I’ve had, who have kind of been through what I’d been through. But I guess a lot of people just haven’t.”

He watched his cigarette burn for a moment, and then offered a smile. “See,” he said, “I’ve always been just about being an individual, with an individual point of view. If I’ve been about anything, it’s probably that, and to let some people know that it’s possible to do the impossible.

“And that’s really all. If I’ve ever had anything to tell anybody, it’s that: You can do the impossible. is possible. And that’s it. No more.”

On that night, as on so many nights before and since, I realized that it has indeed been something special to be around during a time when Bob Dylan has been one of our foremost American artists. I thought back to my youth and how Dylan’s music had helped inspire my values and also helped nurture my spirit through several seasons of difficult and exciting changes. I was not alone in these responses, of course. Dylan managed to speak to and for the best visions and boldest ideals of an entire emerging generation, and he also spoke to our sense of scary and liberating isolation: the sense that we were now living on our own, with “no direction home,” and that we would have to devise our own rules and our own integrity to make it through all the change. In the process, Dylan not only heroically defined the moment, he also invented rock & roll’s future: He staked out a voice and style that countless other budding visionaries, including Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith, Elvis Costello, Sinéad O’Connor, and Beck would later seek to emulate and make their own. And because he did this so affectingly, it became easy to take him and his work personally, to believe that he was still tied to our dreams and our hopes for pronouncements that might yet deliver us. Tom Petty’s drummer, Stan Lynch, once told me: “I saw many people who were genuinely moved by Dylan, who felt they had to make some connection with him, that this was an important thing in their life. They wanted to be near him and tell him they’re all right, because they probably feel that Bob was telling them that it was going to be all right when they weren’t all right, as if Bob knew they weren’t doing so well at the time.

“They forget one important thing: Bob doesn’t know them; they just know him. But that’s all right. That’s not shortsightedness on their part. That’s just the essence of what people do when you talk to them at a vulnerable time in their lives. It doesn’t matter that he was talking to them by way of a record; he was still talking to them.”

(Video) Bob Dylan - Thunder On The Mountain (Official HD Video)

Or, as Bruce Springsteen once noted, in some remarks directed to Dylan on the occasion of Dylan’s induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, “When I was fifteen and I heard ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ for the first time, I heard a guy like I’ve never heard before or since. A guy that had the guts to take on the whole world and made me feel like I had ’em too. . . . To steal a line from one of your songs, whether you like it or not, ‘You was the brother that I never had.’ ”

It’s an understandable sentiment; to some of us, the epiphanies of youth count as deeply as the bonds of family. But as Dylan himself once told an interviewer: “People come up to me on the street all the time, acting like I’m some long-lost brother—like they know me. Well, I’m not their brother, and I think I can prove that.”

It may be the only thing that he has left to prove—that he is not, after all, his brother’s keeper—though in a sense, it hardly matters. The truth is, Dylan is still attempting to sort out the confusion of the day in the most honest and committed way that he knows. That is probably about as much as you can ask of somebody who has already done a tremendous amount to deepen our consciousness and our time. In the end, Bob Dylan remains a vital American artist—and one who we should be proud to claim as our own.

FAQs

What was Dylan's biggest all time hit? ›

Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits (1967)
  • The Times They Are A-Changin' iTUNES.
  • It Ain't Me, Babe iTUNES.
  • Like a Rolling Stone iTUNES.
  • Mr. Tambourine Man iTUNES.
  • Subterranean Homesick Blues iTUNES.
  • I Want You iTUNES.
  • Positively 4th Street iTUNES.
  • Just Like a Woman iTUNES.

Is Bob Dylan currently married? ›

Bob Dylan

How to contact Bob Dylan? ›

Contact Bob Dylan by sending a letter to his fan club. The address is: Bob Dylan, P.O. Box 1234, New York, NY 10001.

How many songs did Bob Dylan write? ›

Fifty-eight years, more than 600 songs and one Nobel Prize later, the cultural and economic value of Dylan's songwriting corpus have both grown exponentially.

What was Bob Dylan's addiction? ›

Bob Dylan was addicted to heroin and contemplated suicide at the height of his fame, according to previously unheard interviews unearthed by the BBC.

Did Elvis ever cover Dylan? ›

Presley was a fan of Dylan's songwriting and, in 1971, recorded versions of the folk singer's popular anthems “Blowin' In The Wind” and “I Shall Be Released,” the latter an impassioned song first released by The Band on their debut album, Music From Big Pink.

Why is Bob Dylan's voice so raspy? ›

How'd His Voice Get That Way in the First Place? Like many of his '60s peers, Dylan was a smoker, and Amin says cigarettes can cause significant structural changes in the vocal cords, making them “fat and swollen,” which results in gruffer sound.

Who is Bob Dylan's best friend? ›

And it belonged to Louie Kemp, Dylan's best friend since summer camp in Wisconsin in 1953.

Why does Bob Dylans voice sound like that? ›

Nashville Skyline marked a stark change in Dylan's vocals: He had developed a baritone country croon that he claimed was a result of his decision to quit smoking cigarettes. “When I stopped smoking, my voice changed…so drastically, I couldn't believe it myself,” he told Rolling Stone founder Jann S.

What is considered Bob Dylan's best song? ›

Bob Dylan's 20 greatest songs of all time:
  • 'It's All Over Now, Baby Blue'
  • 'Lay Lady Lay. ...
  • 'Idiot Wind' ...
  • 'Sign On The Window' ...
  • 'All Along the Watchtower' ...
  • 'The Man In Me' ...
  • 'Tangled Up In Blue' ...
  • 'Murder Most Foul' ...
May 5, 2021

Was Bob Dylan bigger than the Beatles? ›

Dylan is almost universally acclaimed as the No. 2 most influential music artist/group of all time, behind only The Beatles.

Who has written the most number one songs? ›

The most successful songwriters in terms of number one singles are John Lennon (1940-80) and Paul McCartney (b. 18 Jun 1942). McCartney is credited as the writer on 32 number one hits in the US to Lennons 26 (with 23 co-written), whereas Lennon authored 29 UK number ones to McCartney's 28 (25 co-written).

How did Bob Dylan make so much money? ›

On top of making money from album sales and concert tours, Dylan continued to earn from his songs' royalties. In 2020, he sold all of his music catalog to Universal Music Publishing Group for $400 million. According to sources, the deal consisted of Dylan's lyrics and compositions, involving at least 600 of his songs.

How much money did Bob Dylan make? ›

Bob Dylan Net Worth
NameBob Dylan
Net Worth (2023)$520 Million
ProfessionAmerican singer-songwriter
Monthly Income And Salary$3 Million +
Yearly Income And Salary$42 Million +
1 more row
Jan 13, 2023

Was Bob Dylan religious? ›

Dylan had a very public conversion to Christianity in the 1970s after being raised Jewish. He would later make gospel music and speak openly about the impact his faith had on his life. Father God, Thank you for the gift of music and those who work within its industry.

Why was Bob Dylan's face white? ›

In the movie, Dylan says he got the idea to wear white face makeup on the Rolling Thunder Revue after Scarlet Rivera took him to a Kiss concert in Queens. But Kiss haven't played a show in Queens since February 1973 when they were first starting out and long before Dylan met Rivera.

What was Bob Dylan's impact on society? ›

Bob Dylan was a folk singer was involved with the Civil Rights Movement and even performed with other prominent singers. His impact in the music world by being one of the first musicians to take an active role on moral issues. Dylan was essential, by getting uniting people through his music.

Why is Dylan so popular? ›

Hailed as the Shakespeare of his generation, Dylan sold tens of millions of albums, wrote more than 500 songs recorded by more than 2,000 artists, performed all over the world, and set the standard for lyric writing. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016. (See Editor's Note: About the author.)

What Mick Jagger said about Elvis? ›

Mick Jagger on Elvis Presley (1974): “I never really liked him. Presley hasn't got anyone to tell him what to do and really that's what he needs more than anything else. His trouble is that it was always a question of making money.

Did Bob Dylan ever meet The Beatles? ›

On Friday 28 August 1964, in a room in the Delmonico hotel at Park Avenue and 59th in New York City – at a rendezvous brokered with a keen eye to a story by journalist, mutual friend and assiduous self-publicist Al Aronowitz – the Beatles encountered Bob Dylan for the first time.

Did Elvis cover any Beatles songs? ›

As The Beatles' time began to wind down, Elvis started incorporating some of their music into his sets. Presley recorded a studio version of 'Hey Jude' in 1969, eventually releasing it on the Elvis Now album three years later.

Who has the best voice ever? ›

The greatest singing voices of all time
  • 1 of 35. Celine Dion. Kevin Winter/Getty Images. ...
  • 2 of 35. Barbra Streisand. Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for BSB. ...
  • 3 of 35. Etta James. ...
  • 4 of 35. Nina Simone. ...
  • 5 of 35. Aretha Franklin. ...
  • 6 of 35. Whitney Houston. ...
  • 7 of 35. Smokey Robinson. ...
  • 8 of 35. Mariah Carey.
4 days ago

Are raspy voices more attractive? ›

A deep husky voice in men and a high-pitched breathy voice in women is perceived as most attractive, a new study has found.

Why did Dylan paint his face? ›

Dylan claimed he'd been inspired to wear the face paint after seeing Kiss perform in Queens, New York City. He said he was taken to the show by violinist Scarlet Rivera, who performed on the Rolling Thunder Revue and was allegedly in a relationship at the time with the band's bassist and singer, Gene Simmons.

Has Bob Dylan ever had a #1 hit? ›

Bob Dylan may have won a Nobel Prize, but he's never had a No. 1 song on the Hot 100. Dylan has had two No. 2s, though: "Like a Rollin' Stone" and "Rainy Day Women # 12 and 35." His one other top 10, "Lay Lady Lay," reached No.

Were Bob Dylan and The Beatles friends? ›

Bob Dylan has spoken in depth about his longstanding friendship with The Beatles and his particular bond with George Harrison. Talking to Rolling Stone magazine, Dylan talked freely about Harrison's struggle to find his voice within the songwriting collective of John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

Who was Bob Dylan's favorite singer? ›

In his 2004 memoir Chronicles: Volume One, Bob Dylan wrote, "My favorite singer…was Karen Dalton. Karen had a voice like Billie Holiday and played guitar like Jimmy Reed… I sang with her a couple of times."

Was Bob Dylan an introvert? ›

Folk singer and rocker Bob Dylan

There are several signs from Dylan's biographies, and his own words, that he is probably an introvert. While has not been hesitant for his songs to be widely used, that doesn't mean he puts all of himself out there.

Is Bob Dylan tone deaf? ›

Contrary to what many of his critics would assert, Dylan actually sings in tune but his harsh, barbed-wire timbre & attacking delivery has been inspiration for every tone deaf poet with a guitar.

Why did Dylan change his name? ›

Common wisdom dictates that Robert Zimmerman changed his name based on his love of the poet Dylan Thomas; all the way back in 1961, he swatted that down. "Straighten out in your book that I did not take my name from Dylan Thomas," he told The New York Times.

What is the #1 song of all time? ›

Blinding Lights

What is the #1 most popular song of all time? ›

According to Guinness World Records, Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" (1942) as performed by Bing Crosby is the best-selling single worldwide, with estimated sales of over 50 million copies.

What song was #1 the longest? ›

"Old Town Road" holds the record for the longest stretch at No. 1 with 19 weeks.

Who was a bigger star Elvis or The Beatles? ›

Perhaps unsurprisingly, British rock band The Beatles are top of the list for best-selling artists worldwide, with 183 million units certified sales. Second is Garth Brooks with over 157 million units sales, followed by Elvis Presley with 139 million units.

What is the heaviest song by The Beatles? ›

The 10 Heaviest Beatles Songs
  • 8. " Ticket to Ride"
  • 7. " Paperback Writer"
  • 6. " Tomorrow Never Knows"
  • 5. " Hey Bulldog"
  • 4. " Yer Blues"
  • 3. " I Want You (She's So Heavy)"
  • 2. " Revolution"
  • 1. " Helter Skelter"
May 31, 2022

Who has more #1 hits than The Beatles? ›

The King of Pop, Michael Jackson, topped the charts 13 times. This is just as a solo artist — Jackson had even more as part of his childhood band, The Jackson 5. But as a solo artist, he had 13 No.

Who is considered the best songwriter ever? ›

Bob Dylan

What is the highest selling album of all time? ›

Michael Jackson's Thriller, estimated to have sold 70 million copies worldwide, is the best-selling album ever. Jackson also currently has the highest number of albums on the list with five, Celine Dion has four, while the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Madonna and Whitney Houston each have three.

Did Bob Dylan ever have a #1 hit? ›

More Stories by Kevin Rutherford. For the first time in his storied career, Bob Dylan has a No. 1 song on a Billboard chart under his name. “Murder Most Foul,” the iconic singer-songwriter's nearly 17-minute chronicle of the 1963 assassination of President John F.

What is Bob Dylan's best hit? ›

See our picks for his 10 greatest songs below, and for more, check out our epic list of his 100 greatest songs right here.
  • 'Mr. ...
  • 'It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)' ...
  • 'I Shall Be Released' ...
  • 'All Along the Watchtower' ...
  • 'Just Like a Woman' ...
  • 'Tangled Up in Blue' ...
  • 'A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall' ...
  • 'Like a Rolling Stone'
Aug 29, 2019

What is the longest song to ever hit number 1? ›

"Old Town Road" holds the record for the longest stretch at No. 1 with 19 weeks.

Was Bob Dylan bigger than The Beatles? ›

Dylan is almost universally acclaimed as the No. 2 most influential music artist/group of all time, behind only The Beatles.

Who has the most #2 hits without a #1? ›

Creedence Clearwater Revival

The group has the most No. 2-peaking hits without a No. 1: five. They reached the runner-up slot with “Proud Mary,” “Bad Moon Rising,” “Green River,” “Travelin' Band/Who'll Stop the Rain” and “Lookin' Out My Back Door/Long As I Can See the Light.”

What singer has the most number 1 hits? ›

Mariah Carey (USA) has topped the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart on 19 different occasions.

Who holds the record for most #1 songs? ›

1 The Beatles Top The Ranks With 20 Songs

To no one's surprise, the greatest rock band of all time holds the record to the most number-one hits, though it was very close.

How much money did Bob Dylan get for his songs? ›

The announcement comes more than a year after Dylan sold his entire catalog of songs to Universal Music Group, which involves the rights to his lyrics and compositions. A source familiar with that deal told NBC News that the sale price was “a sizable nine figure amount, north of $200M.”

What is considered the best song of all time? ›

The Top 50 most iconic songs of all time
  • Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana.
  • Imagine - John Lennon.
  • One - U2.
  • Billie Jean - Michael Jackson.
  • Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen.
  • Hey Jude - The Beatles.
  • Like A Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan.
  • I Can't Get No Satisfaction - Rolling Stones.

Why is Bob Dylan's voice so different? ›

Nashville Skyline marked a stark change in Dylan's vocals: He had developed a baritone country croon that he claimed was a result of his decision to quit smoking cigarettes. “When I stopped smoking, my voice changed…so drastically, I couldn't believe it myself,” he told Rolling Stone founder Jann S.

What are Dylan fans called? ›

ObjectFanbase nicknameType
Bob DylanDylanologistsMusician
Boston Red SoxRed Sox NationSports team
The BoyzThe BMusic group
Bree RunwayRunwayzMusician
27 more rows

Who was Bob Dylan's best friend? ›

And it belonged to Louie Kemp, Dylan's best friend since summer camp in Wisconsin in 1953.

Did Bob Dylan ever have a top 40 hit? ›

Today in 1965, Bob Dylan's single "Subterranean Homesick Blues" peaked at No. 39 in the U.S. charts, giving Dylan his first U.S. top 40 hit.

Videos

1. Bob Dylan, Theme Time Radio Hour ~ Doctors
(nightly moth)
2. Bob Dylan, Theme Time Radio Hour ~ Truth & Lies
(nightly moth)
3. Bob Dylan - It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) (Official Audio)
(Bob Dylan)
4. Bob Dylan - Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues (Official Audio)
(Bob Dylan)
5. Bob Dylan - Every Grain of Sand (Rehearsal) (Official Audio)
(Bob Dylan)
6. Bob Dylan - Shelter from the Storm (Official Audio)
(Bob Dylan)
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