The Bob Dylan portal
Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman, May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, author, and artist who has been an influential figure in popular music and culture for more than five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s, when he became a reluctant "voice of a generation" with songs such as "Blowin' in the Wind" and "The Times They Are a-Changin'" that became anthems for the Civil Rights Movement and anti-war movement. In 1965, he controversially abandoned his early fan-base in the American folk music revival, recording a six-minute single, "Like a Rolling Stone", which enlarged the scope of popular music.
Dylan's lyrics incorporate a wide range of political, social, philosophical, and literary influences. They defied existing pop-music conventions and appealed to the burgeoning counterculture. Initially inspired by the performances of Little Richard and the songwriting of Woody Guthrie, Robert Johnson, and Hank Williams, Dylan has amplified and personalized musical genres. In his recording career, Dylan has explored many of the traditions in American song—from folk, blues, and country to gospel, and rock and roll, and from rockabilly to English, Scottish, and Irish folk music, embracing even jazz and the Great American Songbook. Dylan performs on guitar, keyboards, and harmonica. Backed by a changing lineup 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 songwriting is considered his greatest contribution.
Having become synonymous with acoustic folk music and having performed as a professional musician with little instrumentation prior to the incident in question, singer-songwriter Bob Dylan was the subject of much controversy at Newport Folk Festival on Sunday July 25, 1965. During his performance Dylan "went electric", by playing with an electric blues band in concert for the first time. This seeming rejection of what had gone before made Dylan unpopular in parts of the folk community, alienating some fans, and is considered to have deeply affected both folk and rock 'n' roll.
In the American folk music revival taking place at the time, Dylan had emerged as one of the country's leading young folk singers, and was greeted warmly at the 1963 and 1964 Newport festivals. He was the Sunday-night headliner in 1965, and had just released the album Bringing It All Back Home (in March), which was half-electric and half-acoustic. Dylan performed three songs acoustically ("All I Really Want to Do", "If You Gotta Go, Go Now", and "Love Minus Zero/No Limit") at a Newport workshop on Saturday, July 24, before he told organist Al Kooper that he wanted to play with a pickup band the following evening.
As Dylan recovered from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident in July 1966, he summoned the Band and began to record both new compositions and traditional material with them. 
All of the sixteen Dylan compositions are thought to have been recorded in 1967 in the basement of Big Pink, a house shared by three of the members of the Band, while the eight Band songs were recorded at various times and locations between 1967 and 1975; overdubs were also added in 1975 to some of the Dylan songs.
The sleeve notes of the album were written by Greil Marcus; in these notes, Marcus compared Dylan's compositions to what he termed "the most mysterious songs" in American culture, Elvis Presley's "Mystery Train" and Robert Johnson's "Love in Vain". In his subsequent book Invisible Republic (later reissued as The Old, Weird America) Marcus expanded his interpretation of The Basement Tapes songs in order to link them to the world of pre-war traditional music which Harry Smith compiled on his Anthology of American Folk Music.
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- ^ Rollingstone.com: "Dylan Goes Electric in 1965"
- ^ Sounes, 2001, Down The Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan, pp. 222–225.
- ^ Heylin, Clinton. Bob Dylan: The Recording Sessions, 1960–1994 (New York: St. Martin's Press 1995), p. 55–56.
- ^ a b Griffin, Sid. Million Dollar Bash: Bob Dylan, the Band, and the Basement Tapes (London: Jawbone 2007) p. 293-303.
- ^ Griffin, Sid. Million Dollar Bash: Bob Dylan, the Band, and the Basement Tapes (London: Jawbone 2007) p. 85, 177, 190-221.
- ^ Heylin, Clinton. Bob Dylan: The Recording Sessions, 1960–1994 (New York: St. Martin's Press 1995), p. 59, 67–68.