By Benjamin Leatherman
By Glenn BurnSilver
By Glenn BurnSilver
By Troy Farah
By Roger Calamaio
By Mark Deming
By Glenn BurnSilver
By Brian Palmer
41. He spent most of 1972 in seclusion, writing the soundtrack to the Sam Peckinpah movie Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, which included "Knockin' On Heaven's Door." He also appeared in the film as an outlaw named Alias.
42. He jumped ship from Columbia to Asylum on a handshake deal with David Geffen in November 1973. Columbia retaliated by releasing Dylan, a collection of horrid outtakes and rejected covers from Self Portrait. Dylan's Asylum debut, Planet Waves, was his first No. 1 album in the U.S., topping the charts for four weeks. Shortly after Planet Waves was released, however, Dylan smoked the peace pipe with CBS bigcheese Clive Davis and returned to Columbia.
43. His 1974 tour of the U.S. (his first in eight years) generated six million ticket orders in one week, according to producer Bill Graham.
44. He returned to his old haunts in Greenwich Village in the fall of 1975, and a series of impromptu jams at the Other End inspired him to put together an informal communal tour. The Rolling Thunder Revue started out playing surprise shows at small venues (the revue made its debut before a crowd of 200 in Plymouth, Massachusetts, on October 30), but quickly built up to stadium shows, including one in Fort Collins, Colorado, where NBC-TV filmed the raw footage for the concert movie Hard Rain. Revue members included Joan Baez, Allen Ginsberg, Joni Mitchell and violinist Scarlet Rivera.
45. He and the revue played two Night of the Hurricane benefit concerts for boxer and convicted murderer Ruben "Hurricane" Carter (subject of the song "Hurricane" on Desire) in late 1975. After expenses, the gigs raised just under $10. His efforts did get the cause cŽlbre a new trial. However, Carter also went down in round two.
46. He was quoted by Jimmy Carter in the president's 1977 inaugural address.
47. He lost $2 million on Renaldo and Clara, a four-hour film released early in 1978. Dylan wrote, directed, co-edited and, with Joan Baez, starred in the film.
Renaldo included live concert footage of 47songs by the Rolling Thunder Revue and a scene of Dylan and Allen Ginsberg visiting the grave of Jack Kerouac, widely interpreted as a symbolic statement that a true artist's work outlasts the artist.
48. He sold out the 90,000-seat venue Lloyd's Court in London in less than eight hours (May 7, 1978).
49. He announced he was a born-again Christian in 1979 after his girlfriend at the time, an L.A. actress named Mary Alice Artes, and Rolling Thunder Revue guitarist TBone Burnett hit him with a tag-team evangelical effort. Dylan's next album, the overtly religious Slow Train Coming, rose toNo.3 on the album charts. The single "Gotta Serve Somebody" earned Dylan his first Grammy (Best Rock Vocal Performance, Male).
Dylan recorded one more born-again theme album (Saved, released in 1980) before renouncing Christianity in 1983.
50. He founded his own record label, Accomplice Records, in January of 1979, but never really did anything with it.
51. He was elected to the Songwriters Hall of Fame in March 1982.
52. He told Los Angeles Times writer Robert Hilburn in 1984 that the Sixties was a decade when "everything happened so quick. There was just electricity in the air. It's hard to explain--I mean, you didn't ever want to go to sleep because you didn't want to miss anything. It wasn't there in the Seventies and it isn't there now. But if you really want to be an artist and not just be successful, you'll go and find the electricity. It's somewhere."
53. He traveled to the Soviet Union in 1985 at the invitation of Soviet poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko and performed at an international gathering of poets. Yevtushenko introduced him as a "famous singing poet."
54. He made a truly bad movie called Hearts of Fire in 1987--generally considered to be his worst career blunder ever.
55. He was "Lucky" in the Traveling Wilburys, joining "Nelson" (George Harrison), "Lefty" (Roy Orbison), "Charlie T. Jr." (Tom Petty) and "Otis" (Jeff Lynne) to record the short-lived supergroup's first album in October 1988.
56. His 33rd LP, Down in the Groove, was areturn to form after a series of feeble, unfocused efforts in the early and mid-Eighties. Released in 1988, the album sported a stellar lineup of guest artists, including Eric Clapton, Ron Wood, Steve Jones, Jerry Garcia, and exClash bassist Paul Simonon.
57. His first album of the Nineties, Under the Red Sky, was his worst since Self Portrait, a sad stab at recovering the elegant simplicity of John Wesley Harding that yielded only drivel for lyrics.
58. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in January 1988, performing "Like a Rolling Stone" at the ceremony with George Harrison, Neil Young, John Fogerty, Les Paul, and Jeff Beck on guitar. Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen, and former Supreme Mary Wilson sang back-up.
59. His singing voice is technically awful, but critics defended his nasal mumbles and whines, saying that since he introduced several new musical languages, it's appropriate that his voice be so startlingly bad that people shut up and listen. "Dylan's singing struck some of the radio-ears of his moment as ugly or funny, but as an interpretive vehicle it soon became understood as a revelation," wrote Rolling Stone critic Paul Evans in 1979. "Dylan sang with the immediacy of talking, of sharing secrets and conveying intimate truths."