Portal:Bob Dylan

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Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman on May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, author, and visual artist who has been a major figure in popular culture for six decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s, when songs such as "Blowin' in the Wind" (1963) and "The Times They Are a-Changin'" (1964) became anthems for the Civil Rights Movement and anti-war movement. His lyrics during this period incorporated a wide range of political, social, philosophical, and literary influences, defied pop-music conventions and appealed to the burgeoning counterculture.

Following his self-titled debut album in 1962, which mainly comprised traditional folk songs, Dylan made his breakthrough as a songwriter with the release of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan the following year. The album featured "Blowin' in the Wind" and the thematically complex "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall". For many of these songs he adapted the tunes and sometimes phraseology of older folk songs. He went on to release the politically charged The Times They Are a-Changin' and the more lyrically abstract and introspective Another Side of Bob Dylan in 1964. In 1965 and 1966, Dylan encountered controversy when he adopted electrically amplified rock instrumentation, and in the space of 15 months recorded three of the most important and influential rock albums of the 1960s: Bringing It All Back Home (1965), Highway 61 Revisited (1965) and Blonde on Blonde (1966). The six-minute single "Like a Rolling Stone" (1965) radically expanded what a pop song could convey.

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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[1], before he told organist Al Kooper that he wanted to play with a pickup band the following evening.

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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. [2]

All of the sixteen Dylan compositions are thought to have been recorded in 1967 in the basement of Big Pink,[3][4] a house shared by three of the members of the Band,[5] 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.[4][6]

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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"Like a Rolling Stone" is a song by American songwriter Bob Dylan. One of his best-known and most influential compositions,[7][8][9] the song's origins lie in an extended piece of verse which Dylan had written in June 1965 following his tour of England. Subsequently transforming his sprawling verse into a confrontational song,[8][9] Dylan recorded "Like a Rolling Stone" a few weeks later, but Columbia Records, unhappy with the single's length and sound, held up its release for a full month.[10] It is considered an extremely influential track in early rock and roll, and acclaimed as one of the greatest compositions ever in that genre.

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Dylan at the Azkena Rock Festival 2010.

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References

  1. ^ Rollingstone.com: "Dylan Goes Electric in 1965"
  2. ^ Sounes, 2001, Down The Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan, pp. 222–225.
  3. ^ Heylin, Clinton. Bob Dylan: The Recording Sessions, 1960–1994 (New York: St. Martin's Press 1995), p. 55–56.
  4. ^ a b Griffin, Sid. Million Dollar Bash: Bob Dylan, the Band, and the Basement Tapes (London: Jawbone 2007) p. 293-303.
  5. ^ Griffin, Sid. Million Dollar Bash: Bob Dylan, the Band, and the Basement Tapes (London: Jawbone 2007) p. 85, 177, 190-221.
  6. ^ Heylin, Clinton. Bob Dylan: The Recording Sessions, 1960–1994 (New York: St. Martin's Press 1995), p. 59, 67–68.
  7. ^ Erlewine, Stephen. "Bob Dylan". Allmusic. Retrieved September 9, 2009.
  8. ^ a b "Like A Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 9, 2009.
  9. ^ a b Gerard, James. "Like A Rolling Stone". Allmusic. Retrieved October 24, 2009.
  10. ^ Considine, Shaun (December 3, 2004). "The Hit We Almost Missed". The New York Times. Retrieved January 13, 2010.