) Bob Dylan's Tribute to Martin Scorsese | Boardwalk Empire Notes | Arts & Entertainment | Atlantic City Weekly

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT > BOARDWALK EMPIRE NOTES

Bob Dylan's Tribute to Martin Scorsese

Singing for Scorsese, Dylan joins others in honoring the 'Boardwalk Empire' executive producer.

By Jeff Schwachter
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 6 | Posted Jan. 16, 2012

Share this Story:

Bob Dylan (right) with guitarist Charlie Sexton, singing the song "Blind Willie McTell" during a tribute to Martin Scorsese last week.

ATLANTIC CITY — How appropriate it was to have Bob Dylan — on a break from his "Never-ending Tour" — at the Critics Choice Awards last week as part of a tribute to filmmaker Martin Scorsese, singing a live version of "Blind Willie McTell" with his crack touring and recording band (see video below)?

Well, it was very appropriate — and utterly surprising to fans and even Scorsese (by the look of his face after Dylan was introduced to perform) — as both men have a lot in common, including ties with the southern New Jersey and Atlantic City regions.

Instead of writing an essay on the similarities and interesting parallels between these two highly regarded men, in life and in art, here are some things you may not have known in relation to the pair, and probably a few things you did know, including a few interesting links to our area.

1. Atlantic City — Martin Scorsese not only directed the 2010 pilot for HBO's Boardwalk Empire, but remains a very important part of the series set in 1920s Atlantic City, serving as executive producer on the first two completed seasons. He also filmed The Color of Money (1986) in A.C. Dylan, on the other hand, has not only made it a habit to stop at the Borgata in Atlantic City nearly every time his tour comes through the region, but also once sang, in an early 1980s song never released on a proper studio album (just like "Blind Willie McTell" in fact), "Caribbean Wind": "Atlantic City by the cold gray sea / I hear a voice crying 'Daddy' / I always think it's for me." 

2. Woodstock  —Bob Dylan, tired and weak and in need of a break following several years of relentless work recording, writing, touring, fusing rock and folk together, playing across the globe, etc., retreated to this once-quiet artists enclave in upstate New York in 1966, raising his young family there. It was a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, but not for long. By 1969, hordes of hippies and Dylan freaks, moved to Woodstock, N.Y., trying to extend 1967's Summer of Love and even inspiring the August 1969 Woodstock festival. Although Dylan skipped town and didn't perform at the three-day music festival, which was eventually held in Bethel, N.Y., about 45 minutes from Woodstock, Scorsese was there, as a young, budding filmmaker, working on the Woodstock film (1970), which he co-edited for one of his first film credits.

3. "The Last Waltz" — Martin Scorsese directed this concert film documenting the last performance by the rock group The Band, which featured Robbie Robertson, Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel, Levon Helm, and Rick Danko. The highly regarded 1978 concert film features interviews with the members of The Band, a group that had been called Levon & The Hawks while it was playing in Somers Point, N.J., — a mere 15 minutes outside of Atlantic City — over the summer of 1965, as well as performances by the likes of Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell, Ronnie Hawkins, Muddy Waters, Bob Dylan — and more. Not only is Dylan's movie-closing performance with The Band backing him the highlight of The Last Waltz —and possibly one of the best musical performances ever caught on film — it also bookends Dylan's relationship with The Band, which Dylan plucked out of its summer-long residency at Tony Mart's in Somers Point in August 1965 to become his touring electric backing band for the rest of 1965 and through 1966. The Band eventually went up to Woodstock where its members recorded (with Dylan) a number of tunes, many of which would become the basis of the double album The Basement Tapes. The Band would continue to work with Dylan off and on through this "final" 1978 performance caught by Scorsese.

4. The Blues - It was apropos for Dylan to select his song "Blind Willie McTell" to perform at the 2012 Scorsese tribute on many levels (a later incarnation of The Band recorded the song on its Jericho album), the first being the American music's huge influence on Dylan. Secondly, Scorsese was behind the multi-part 2003 PBS series The Blues, serving as executive producer and directing the "Feel Like Going Home" episode.

5. The Oscars — Both gentleman had to put in decades of work before being honored by their respective peers in terms of a Grammy or Oscar award for their work. Scorsese, failing to win Best Picture or Best Director honors for previous films such as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas,  was finally honored in 2006 for his film The Departed, picking up the Oscar for Best Director. Dylan, whose 1997 "come-back" album Time Out of Mind, netted the prolific songwriter his first Album of the Year Grammy, won an Oscar a few years later (and he keeps it on his amplifier for every live concert). Dylan's Oscar came for the apocalyptic 2000 ditty "Things Have Changed," from the film Wonder Boys. Three years later Dylan's second film, Masked & Anonymous, was released. 

6. "No Direction Home" — In 2005, Scorsese directed this American Masters PBS special on Bob Dylan, featuring candid interviews with Dylan, as well as many other related figures, putting forth an interesting portrait of the artist within the context of his place in the 20th century as well as his influences and some of what he and his work inspired.

7. Oliver Stone - Aside from being one of the most important modern-day American filmmakers, along with Scorsese, did you know that Scorsese taught fellow filmmaker Oliver Stone at New York University? The main connection here is that an unreleased song from Dylan's 1992 album, Good as I Been to You, a wistful, acoustic cover of the 1950s pop ballad "You Belong to Me," was used to extraordinary effect in Stone's 1994 masterpiece Natural Born Killers and appears on the film's soundtrack.

8. Cameos — Over the past 50 years, both Scorsese and Dylan have had cameo roles on TV shows and in film. Scorsese played the gunman in the final scene of his own Mean Streets (1973), and has appeared in numerous other films, sometimes as himself. Dylan, who is the focus of the legendary 1967 rock film doc Don't Look Back, as well as his own 1978 four-hour film Renaldo & Clara, has also had cameo roles in films such as the western Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973), Catchfire (1990) and on TV's Dharma & Greg (1999) as himself. As an aside, although Dylan has been a part of a few major film disasters — especially Hearts of Fire, the 1987 British-made film he co-stars in, which even the most devoted Dylan fans cannot bear to watch — Scorsese's record is a lot cleaner, with most of his on-screen "performances" a lot easier on the eyes and soul. 

9. "Like a Rolling Stone" —  Possibly Dylan's most well-known and inspirational song, a live version of "Like a Rolling Stone" — sounding as if it was recorded during the Dylan & The Band 1974 tour — played an important role in Scorsese's Life Lessons, the director's awesome contribution to 1989's New York Stories, starring Nick Nolte and Rosanna Arquette.

10. Influence — While Dylan turned the big 7-0 last May, Scorsese's 70th birthday will be this November. Similar in age, it's easy to see how big of an influence both Bob Dylan and Martin Scorsese have been in their respective mediums over the past 50 years. When the dust clears, these two men will be revered as two of the most highly regarded artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. Further, it's interesting to note how these two large figures in film and music, who have inspired and influenced so many who came after them, were both very much inspired by old films and old music (in both cases). One lasting message when comparing Bob Dylan and Martin Scorsese is how the two have always believed in dreams — whether in film or song form — and they have constantly turned to the art of the past to inspire their current works. The historic landmarks of their respective mediums have inspired them greatly, and as each have continued to inspire throughout their individual careers, likewise each has revisited the art (film for Scorsese, music for Dylan) forms that preceded them, viewing them as achievements as important as anything else in the modern world, and constantly referring to them and acknowledging their power. It was Dylan who told a Newsweek writer in 1997 that "the songs are my religion." Meanwhile, although Scorsese initially planned to become a priest, and although religion has played a crucial role in many of his films, from Mean Streets to The Last Temptation of Christ, Scorsese has a similarly high regard for the films that were made — around the world — in the early centuries of the 20th century. Finally, it doesn't take a movie or music critic to tell you that music has always played an important role in Scorsese's films, just as film has played an important part in Dylan's art.   

  
Now, let's watch the video of Dylan singing "Blind Willie McTell" in tribute to Martin Scorsese:
 

Get More: Bob Dylan Performs "Blind Willie McTell" In Honor Of Martin Scorsese, Music Videos, Live Performances

RELATED: How Bob Dylan Found His Electric Band in Somers Point.

RELATED: Levon Helm's Recent Success Has More Than One Link to Jersey Shore

RELATED: Click here for AC Weekly's Boardwalk Empire page.

Add to favoritesAdd to Favorites PrintPrint Send to friendSend to Friend

COMMENTS

Comments 1 - 6 of 6
Report Violation

1. Marcus said... on Jan 16, 2012 at 09:33PM

“Awesome performance by Bob who is the real "war horse." You can put Bob out on a stage and he can just wow you. He keeps going. The Growl was so fitting and icy cool. Great lively harmonica as well. He looked younger also for some reason. Full of life. It was such a great performance that I forgot it was in honor of one of the greatest film makers of our time.”

Report Violation

2. steve alten said... on Jan 16, 2012 at 10:18PM

“Jeff, terrific article and great link. you consistently write great pieces about AC music and entertainment. you "get it".”

Report Violation

3. JoeyB said... on Jan 17, 2012 at 12:23AM

“I'll give the author $1000 cash if he can make it from the site of the Woodstock festival to Woodstock, NY in 45 minutes.”

Report Violation

4. Jeff S said... on Jan 17, 2012 at 09:48AM

“cash?”

Report Violation

5. Paul Kirkman said... on Jan 17, 2012 at 12:51PM

“Three McTelling omissions that "do not relate to Scorsese’s award as the Music Film honoree":

1) Harold Lepidus wrote the other day:

Instead, Dylan performed “Blind Willie McTell,” a song Scorsese used in his PBS documentary series, The Blues. It was possibly the only major omission in the introduction that did not relate to Scorsese’s award as the Music Film honoree .";

2) The numerous Messianic allusions on Blood on the Tracks are partially indebted to the Nikos Kazantzakis novel, The Last Temptation of Christ, on which the Scorsese film is based (your space or other restrictions have messed with my attempt to include this);

3) The above may be a contributing factor to John Hinchey's disingenuous attempt to relate the narrator of Tangled Up in Blue's "feeling a little uneasy" to Mary Magdalene and fellatio in Judas! Number 7 Oct 2003”

Report Violation

6. Wondering! said... on Jan 20, 2012 at 11:48AM

“does anybody know how to find the version of LARS used in "Life Lessons" ? I LOVE the version, always have, and have never found info on it...it def sounds like 74 tour w Band, but not version from Before the Flood. Help!!!”

ADD COMMENT

Rate:
(HTML and URLs prohibited)

Related Content

Truth and Soul, Boardwalk Empire and a Short White Mule
By Jeff Schwachter

The fifth annual AC Cinefest, presented by the Downbeach Film Festival, will feature Robert Downey Sr. in addition to Terry Winter, award-winning creator of the HBO series Boardwalk Empire, and actor Peter Dobson.

RELATED: Sixth Atlantic City Cinefest Tats and 'Tiques Back in Atlantic City 'Boardwalk Empire' Wins Emmy; Season 3 Gets Intense 2012 Oscar Nominations and Predictions ‘Boardwalk Empire’ Season Three Preview
 Terry Winter Interview: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 3 A Grammy for Atlantic City: 'Boardwalk Empire' Soundtrack Wins Grammy Free Screening of Season 2 Premiere of 'Boardwalk Empire' at Caesars Atlantic City Behind the Commodore: Dabney Coleman

Related Content

Discover 'Alley Art'
By AC Weekly Staff

Plus, the Atlantic City Triathlon, the Album of the Week (Bob Dylan's superb 'Tempest') and Drew Toonz.

RELATED: Coasting - The Art of Rock ‘n’ Roll
 Partying Hard at the 
Atlantic City Marathon The Atlantic City Marathon Comes of Age Saving 26.2 Miles of Tradition Somers Point '65 2012 Spring Guide


Related Content

Classic Car Show Returns to Atlantic City

By AC Weekly Staff

Plus the Mummers return to Boardwalk Hall, the Album of the Week ('Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan') and Drew Toonz on Metallica

RELATED: Orion Music + More Festival Rolls into Atlantic City Gary Clark Jr. Added to Orion Fest Slate Lars Ulrich at AC Fest A Philly Strut on the Boardwalk Mark Knopfler: Sultan of Songs Dylan Wraps Up Tour, Surprises Atlantic City Fans Lars Ulrich on Why Metallica Chose Atlantic City for June Music Festival

Related Content

Boardwalk Empire Season 3 Updates
By Jeff Schwachter

Justified and True Blood actor Stephen Root will appear on Boardwalk Empire starting in season three as "recurring lawman," according to Hollywood Reporter. Root will play "Gaston Means, a former swindler and murder suspect who now works for the Department of Justice."

RELATED: Coasting: Lance Fung to Speak at Stockton 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 4 Snapshots Robert Klein Kicks Off Cape May Comedy Series 'Boardwalk Empire' Set To Return in September on HBO Life After Jimmy Embracing ‘Boardwalk Empire’ Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire Win Again The Sounds of ‘Boardwalk Empire’ Vince Giordano on 'Boardwalk Empire' Soundtrack Grammy Win Vince Giordano: The Man Behind the Music of 'Boardwalk Empire' Stephen DeRosa: Eddie Cantor in 'Boardwalk Empire' The Sophie Tucker of 'Boardwalk Empire' How 'Boardwalk Empire' Found Nelson Johnson

Related Content

69 Things to Love About Bob Dylan
By Jeff Schwachter

Here, in celebration of what will most likely be Bob Dylan’s final Atlantic City performance before he becomes a septuagenarian next May 24, are 69 things to love about one of the greatest ...

RELATED: Mr. Smith Goes to Stockton
 Cheech & Chong: A Smoke House of Laughs Coasting: Internet Gambling Gets Go-Ahead in Atlantic City Jimmy Webb: Still on the Line
 Walk, Run to Help Fight Cancer May 11 in A.C. Jimmy Hayes of the Persuasions: The Interview All in the Guthrie Family
 Graham Nash Works 
 Interview with Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stone
s Nearly Naked Drawing Sessions at the Tropicana
 Top 7 Hurricane Irene Songs (Videos) ... by Bob Dylan Interview with Leon Russell Is Vinyl Making a Comeback? Another Tide of Bob Dylan

Related Content

Six Degrees of Dylan
By Jeff Schwachter

Bob Dylan Where: Bogata Event Center When: June 22 & 23, 8pm Tickets: $97-$137 Bob Dylan, who kicks off the latest leg of his Never Ending Tour this weekend with two shows at the Borgata (June ...

RELATED: A Chat With … Kenny Wayne Shepherd
 COASTING: Gateway Making Strides in Somers Point She’s a ...
 Katz JCC Celebrates 100 Years
 The Band's Levon Helm Dead at 71 Bob Dylan Spending Night After Thanksgiving at Borgata

Related Content

Scorsese's Valentine to Cinema

By Lori Hoffman


With the family film Hugo, Martin Scorsese, who is not only one of the world’s finest filmmakers but also a noted film historian and film preservationist, unleashes his devotion to the magic of movies with a zeal that is enchanting.


RELATED: Baseball, 'Boardwalk Empire' and Arnold Rothstein 'Boardwalk Empire' Renewed for Another Season Sympathy for the Devil


Related Content

Watch the Making of HBO's 'Boardwalk Empire' Right Now
By Jeff Schwachter

HBO has uploaded the approximately 14-minute behind-the-scenes documentary "The Making of Boardwalk Empire," which premiered...

RELATED: Boardwalk Empire’s Agent Sebso Stars in New Rap Video
 2011 Holiday Gift Guide Complete First Season of 'Boardwalk Empire' on DVD 5 Questions with TV Critic David Bianculli on Boardwalk Empire's Second Season Atlantic City Library Roars Back to the ‘20s ‘Boardwalk Empire’ Soundtrack 
 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 2 Premiere Date News Battling Booze
 Song, Dance . . . Demeaning? Antique ‘Empire’ Hump Day Report: Boost From ‘Boardwalk Empire’ HBO: ‘Boardwalk Empire’ Will ‘Resonate’ This Fall ‘Boardwalk Empire’ Premiere Date Set and More Sex, HBO, Charity and the New Disco ‘Boardwalk Empire’ Inspires Local Restaurant Menus ‘Boardwalk Empire’ Photo Shoot in Atlantic City Today New Trailer for HBO’s ‘Boardwalk Empire’ Meet Me at the Ritz Atlantic City Area Restaurants Offering $19.20 Menu Deals Prior to 'Boardwalk Empire' Debut Gov. Christie, 'Boardwalk Empire' and the Big Phish Paz de la Huerta: Nucky's (Show) Girl on 'Boardwalk Empire' Watch the Conversations and Storytelling Web Video Series! Atlantic City History: Conversations & Storytelling - The Boardwalk, Pt. 1 'Boardwalk Empire' Trivia! HBO's 'Boardwalk Empire' Picks Up Golden Globe Nominations Atlantic City History - Conversations & Storytelling: The Boardwalk, Pt. 2 Alantic City History - Conversations & Storytelling: Success in Atlantic City, Pt. 1 Behind the Digital Masks of HBO's 'Boardwalk Empire'

Related Content

Scorsese’s ‘Shutter’
By Lori Hoffman

In order to put us in the right frame of mind, Scorsese’s take on the genre is set in the 1950s, with a screenplay by Laeta Kalogridis, based on the novel by Dennis Lehane (Mystic River). We are introduced to Shutter Island via a ferry ride to the island off the coast of Boston taken by U.S. Marshalls Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo). They are coming to the spooky Ashecliffe Hospital to solve the mystery of a missing inmate.



 


ACW EVENT SERIES