Bob Dylan at 75

Bob Dylan at 75 – Blonde on Blonde to Modern Times

Jim and Greg conclude their two-part celebration of American icon Bob Dylan as he turns 75. This week, they explore the recording of Blonde on Blonde through his late career renaissance.

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Special: Bob Dylan at 75: Blonde on Blonde to Today

Blonde on Blonde

In this episode, we conclude our celebration of the life and music of Bob Dylan, who turned 75 in May. Last week, we looked at Dylan's folkie roots up to the moment he plugged in. In Part II, Jim and Greg dive in to the album they reckon could be Dylan's masterpiece – Blonde on Blonde. The influential double-album was released almost exactly 50 years ago on May 16, 1966. We continue our 2009 conversation with rock legend Al Kooper, who shares memories from the album's recording sessions in Nashville. Al recalls being truly impressed with the local musicians, and describes the vibe as much more refined than during the chaotic sessions of Highway 61 Revisited. Even as he was making history with Blonde on Blonde, Dylan was having fun – messing around with his backup players, improvising bogus song titles for executives, and laughing at Charlie McCoy's attempts to play bass and trumpet simultaneously.

Jim and Greg wrap up the miniseries by focusing on Dylan's unprecedented late career renaissance. Glossing over the ‘70s and ’80s was no easy decision, but with limited time, they feel it's important to showcase the remarkable music Dylan is still making well into his seventies. During his "Modern Times" – to borrow the title of his 2006 record – Dylan returned to amazing form as a live act and released a string of impressive comeback albums. He collaborated with producer Daniel Lanois on Oh Mercy in 1989 and Time Out of Mind in 1997. The engineer on both records was Mark Howard, who spoke to Jim and Greg in 2009 about Dylan's taste for vintage production techniques, motorcycles, and eccentric studio antics.

Check out Part I of our Dylan special.

Featured Songs

  1. Bob Dylan, Like A Rolling Stone, Highway 61 Revisited, Columbia, 1965
  2. Bob Dylan, She's Your Lover Now, The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1-3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961-1991, Sony Music Distribution, 1991
  3. Bob Dylan, Pledging My Time, Blonde On Blonde, Columbia, 1966
  4. Bob Dylan, Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine), Blonde On Blonde, Columbia, 1966
  5. Bob Dylan, Rainy Day Woman #12 & 35, The Original Mono Recordings, Columbia/Legacy, 2010
  6. Bob Dylan, I Want You, Blonde On Blonde, Columbia, 1966
  7. Bob Dylan, Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands, Blonde On Blonde, Columbia, 1966
  8. Bob Dylan, Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again, Blonde On Blonde, Columbia, 1966
  9. Bob Dylan, Love Sick, Time Out of Mind, Columbia, 1997
  10. Bob Dylan, Political World, Oh Mercy, Columbia, 1989
  11. Bob Dylan, 'Til I Fell in Love With You, Time Out of Mind, Columbia, 1997
  12. Bob Dylan, Highlands, Time Out of Mind, Columbia, 1997
  13. Bob Dylan, Man in the Long Black Coat, Oh Mercy, Columbia, 1989
  14. Bob Dylan, Tears of Rage, Not Dark Yet Live, Vol. 2, Sony, 2001
  15. Bob Dylan, Can't Wait, The Bootleg Series, Vol. 8, Columbia, 2008
  16. Bob Dylan, Not Dark Yet, Time Out of Mind, Columbia, 1997
  17. Bob Dylan, Tryin' to Get to Heaven, Time Out of Mind, Columbia, 1997
  18. Bob Dylan, Mississippi, The Bootleg Series, Vol. 8, Columbia, 2008
  19. Bob Dylan, Ain't Talkin, Modern Times, Columbia, 2006
  20. Bob Dylan, Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You, Nashville Skyline, Columbia, 1969
  21. The Kinks, Party Line, Face to Face, PRT, 1966
  22. Bob Dylan, Oxford Town, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, Columbia, 1963
  23. Bob Dylan, Masters of War, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, Columbia, 1963
  24. Radiohead, Daydreaming, A Moon Shaped Pool, XL, 2016
  25. The Tragically Hip, Ahead By a Century, Trouble at the Henhouse, MCA, 1996

Footnotes Dylan at 75: Part I Bob Dylan Al Kooper Jim on Blonde on Blonde