Happy Birthday to Bob Dylan, the voice of his generation, who celebrates his 75th birthday today (May 24th)!!! Last Friday, (May 20th) Dylan released his latest album, Fallen Angels. The collection, which is Dylan’s second dip into the “Great American Songbook,” is a followup to his 2015 Top 10 Grammy-nominated Shadows In The Night set. Fallen Angels — which was once again produced under Dylan’s alias “Jack Frost” — features an in-depth dive into the songs of the 1920’s, ’30s, and ’40s, including such evergreens as “Young At Heart,” “Nevertheless,” “It Had To Be You,” “That Old Black Magic,” and “Come Rain Or Come Shine,” among others.
On October 7th and 14th Bob Dylan will close both “Desert Trip” opening night weekend shows in Indio, California, following the Rolling Stones.
In February, Dylan’s The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 snagged the coveted Grammy Award for Best Historical Album. Last November, Dylan released his latest and most expansive volume in his ongoing Bootleg Series. The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series Vol. 12 features outtakes from Dylan’s electric period, culling all the outtakes from the sessions for 1965’s Bringing It All Back Home and Highway 61 Revisited, along with 1966’s Blonde On Blonde.
Among the highlights on the set are performances of such classic Dylan tunes as “Like A Rolling Stone,” “Mr. Tambourine Man, “Love Minus Zero/No Limit,” “It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry,” “Desolation Row,” “She Belongs to Me,” “If You Gotta Go, Go Now,” “Positively 4th Street,” “Highway 61 Revisited,” “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues,” “Queen Jane Approximately,” “Visions Of Johanna,” “Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again,” “Just Like A Woman,” “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35,” and “I Want You.”
Earlier this year, Dylan has sold approximately 6,000-pieces of his private collection to the George Kaiser Family Foundation and the University of Tulsa for an estimated $15 to $20 million. The Bob Dylan Archive will be permanently housed in Tulsa, Oklahoma under the stewardship of TU’s Helmerich Center for American Research, for subsequent public exhibition in the city’s Brady Arts District.
According to the press release, “the archive includes decades of never-before-seen handwritten manuscripts, notebooks and correspondence; films, videos, photographs and artwork; memorabilia and ephemera; personal documents and effects; unreleased studio and concert recordings; musical instruments and many other items.” Plans are currently in the works to select a curator, staff, and advisory committee, before announcing initial plans for public exhibition and academic access to the collection later this year.
Last fall, Dylan became a TV pitchman, starring in a new commercial for IBM. Dylan is seen conversing with the new IBM Watson. IBM’s website stated that the Watson “is built to mirror the same learning process that we have — through the power of cognition. What drives this process is a common cognitive framework that humans use to inform their decisions: Observe, Interpret, Evaluate, and Decide.”
Last August, Dylan led the list of Rolling Stone magazine’s “100 Greatest Songwriters.” The list, compiled by the magazine’s editors, split the songwriting team of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, with McCartney following Dylan at Number Two and Lennon at Number Three. Coming in next was the “Father of Rock n’ Roll” Chuck Berry, and Motown legend Smokey Robinson rounding out the Top Five.
Last year, Dylan appeared as David Letterman’s second-to last musical guest on CBS’s The Late Show, performing “The Night We Called It A Day,” from his critically acclaimed, 2015 standards collection, Shadows In The Night. The album went Top 10 in 17 other countries, hitting Number One on the Irish, Norwegian, UK, and Swedish charts.
Bob Dylan, who was born Robert Allen Zimmerman in Duluth, Minnesota, first gained critical acclaim after he moved to New York City in January 1961 and became a mainstay on the Greenwich Village Folk scene. Dylan had barely written his first songs upon moving to New York, and patterned his act and early material on the work of his idol, folksinger Woody Guthrie.
Dylan’s early-1960’s work, including the classics “Blowin’ In The Wind,” “The Time They Are A Changing’,” “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” “Only A Pawn In Their Game,” and “The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll,” came to define the best of folk music’s topical social commentary.
In 2012, Dylan released a new collection of 86 early-’60s outtakes and live tracks in a limited edition of 100 copies as the new four-CD set, called, 50th Anniversary Collection. The release was an effort to bypass European copyright law by Dylan’s label, Sony, who pressed up the copies of the set to show that Dylan and the label are laying claim on the recordings as they fall out of copyright. As it stands now, Dylan’s 1962 Bob Dylan album can be released by anyone in Europe, as its copyright has expired. The copyright law was amended in 2011 from 50 years to 70 year, protecting recordings issued post-1963 until 2033.
Bob Dylan has been self-producing his albums for over a decade. He told us that after years of working with assorted producers, he feels that they all simply found it too difficult separating his new music from the legend of “Dylan”: “Well, usually when it come to me, whoever is operating the controls is just thinking ‘This is a ‘Bob Dylan’ record, this is a ‘Bob Dylan’ song.’ So, they’re not thinking about what I particularly sound like. And one person who was working with me earlier on did a whole entire record with me and realized that he used the wrong mics on me, and for a variety of reasons.”
June 4, 5 – Woodinville, WA – Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery
June 7 – Eugene, Oregon – Cuthbert Amphitheater
June 9 – Berkeley, CA – Greek Theatre
June 11 – Santa Barbara, CA – Santa Barbara Bowl
June 13, 14 – San Diego, CA – Humphreys Concerts By The Bay
June 16 – Los Angeles, CA – Shrine Auditorium
June 19 – Morrison, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheatre
June 21 – Kansas City, MO – Starlight Theatre
June 22 – Lincoln, NE – Pinewood Bowl Theater
June 24 – Highland Park, IL – Ravinia Festival
June 25 – Indianapolis, IN – Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn at White River State Park
June 26 – Nashville, TN – Carl Black Chevy Woods Amphitheater
June 28 – Kettering, OH – Fraze Pavilion
June 29 – Toledo, OH – Toledo Zoo Amphitheatre
June 30 – Lewiston, NY – Artpark
July 2 – Lenox, MA – Tanglewood
July 3 – Mashantucket, CT – Foxwoods Resort Casino
July 5, 6 – Vienna, VA – Wolf Trap
July 8 – Queens, NY – Forest Hills Stadium
July 10 – Atlantic City, NJ – Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa / Event Center
July 12 – Canandaigua, NY – CMAC
July 13 – Philadelphia, PA – The Mann Center
July 14 – Boston, MA – Blue Hills Bank Pavilion
July 16 – Portland, ME – Thompson’s Point
July 17 – Gilford, NH – Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion
October 7, 14 – Indio, CA – Empire Polo Club
Photo Courtesy of Sony