Desolation Row

In 1963, the director Federico Fellini released his film 8 ½ with the following scene opening the movie: The scene depicts a man feeling a panic attack come over him during a traffic jam in the inner city. Smoke or steam pours into his car. He struggles to leave the car while faces from theContinue reading “Desolation Row”

Where Are You Tonight? (Journey Through Dark Heat)

In an interview for Spin in December 1985, Bob Dylan said the following about the act of songwriting: “The best songs are the songs you write that you don’t know anything about. They’re an escape. I don’t do too much of that because maybe it’s more important to deal with what’s happening rather than toContinue reading “Where Are You Tonight? (Journey Through Dark Heat)”

Visions of Johanna

On Valentine’s Day 1966 in Nashville, TN, Bob Dylan was finally able to record a version of the song “Visions of Johanna” to his liking: He had debuted the song in concert the previous October in Baltimore and had struggled with various arrangements and instrumentation during a recording session in November 1965 in New YorkContinue reading “Visions of Johanna”

Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here with You

In 1971, Bob Dylan was interviewed by his friend Tony Glover, though the conversation was not published until 2020. Dylan was direct in his answers throughout and provided an interesting perspective on the relationship between two of his albums, 1967’s John Wesley Harding and 1969’s Nashville Skyline: “The songs of John Wesley Harding were allContinue reading “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here with You”

Tell Me, Momma

Bob Dylan’s tour of the world in 1966 was a bizarre traveling circus. This description by Robbie Robertson, guitar player of The Hawks who was backing Dylan on this tour, described the experience to Cameron Crowe in 1985 for the Biograph liner notes: “That tour was a very strange process…We’d go from town to town,Continue reading “Tell Me, Momma”

She’s Your Lover Now

On January 21, 1966, Bob Dylan entered Studio A of the Columbia Recording Studios in New York City to continue recording the follow up to his 1965 album Highway 61 Revisited. The goal for the day was a composition by Dylan called “Just a Little Glass of Water” as noted on the recording sheet. HeContinue reading “She’s Your Lover Now”

Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands

“This is the best song I ever wrote.” So said Bob Dylan with evident pride about “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands” to journalist Robert Shelton in a Denver hotel room during an impromptu performance on March 12, 1966. Dylan was showing off the song and a few others (including “Positively Van Gogh” covered previously onContinue reading “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands”

Positively Van Gogh

Music collecting takes on many forms. For some, the collecting attraction is about the physical object itself; to be the only one or one of a select few to obtain a copy of a certain record. Collectors can focus on a certain type of recorded format, such as the search for old-time 78s as documentedContinue reading “Positively Van Gogh”

One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)

The established narrative around the making of Blonde on Blonde is that in early 1966, Dylan was dissatisfied with the music he was recording in New York City, and so, with the urging of his producer Bob Johnston, shifted operations to Nashville where the bulk of the album was recorded with the so-called Nashville A-Team.Continue reading “One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)”

Mr. Tambourine Man

Bob Dylan recorded “Mr. Tambourine Man” in January 1965 as the first track on the acoustic side of Bringing It All Back Home, which was released in March 1965. By all accounts, Dylan had written the song a year previously in the first months of 1964 until it was recorded during the Another Side ofContinue reading “Mr. Tambourine Man”