The legend returns to Borgata for Black Friday show
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 musicians, singers, songwriters, performers, humorists, thinkers, dreamers and — as 2004’s Chronicles, Vol. 1 (Simon & Schuster) exemplified — writers that America has inspired and been inspired by. We could only fit 30 things we love about Dylan in this week's print edition, so don't let the cover image fool you. Here is the entire list of 69 things we love about the 69-year-old troubadour.
1. After performing exclusively on the keyboards for most of the 2000s, he has started playing guitar again. Expect about 4-5 songs with Dylan playing guitar during his Borgata set.
2. He once had Passover with Marlon Brando.
3. Christmas in the Heart — Dylan’s most recent studio album, which came out last October, raised money for charity with all the proceeds going to fight hunger. Time to dust it off for the holidays.
4. John Wesley Harding — Easily one of the most imaginative, spookiest and haunting-sounding albums of all time. Released in 1968 at the height of Flower Power, this acoustic-based record inspired the folk-rock genre that would soon blossom.
5. Dylan turned the Beatles onto pot. There’d be no Sgt. Pepper otherwise. Think about it. [Editor's Note: It was actually the late journalist Al Aronowitz who claimed to introduce the Beatles to Dylan and marijuana. Story goes Aronowitz pulled out some pot to make the meeting between Dylan and the Fab Four a little less anxious].
6. He doesn’t leave his foreign fans hanging out to dry. This year alone he has performed shows in Seoul, South Korea; Istanbul, Turkey; Bucharest, Romania; Sofia, Bulgaria; Skopje, Macedonia; Belgrade, Serbia and Zagreb, Croatia. The dude gets around.
7. There haven’t been just a few or several books written about Bob Dylan, but more like hundreds or even close to thousands worldwide. This includes the latest hailed offering by Princeton professor Sean Wilentz, Bob Dylan in America. Good gift idea for the Dylan fan in your life.
8. His relentless touring around the world since 1988 has caused some to refer to Dylan’s ambitious road trek as the “Never-Ending Tour.”
9. World Gone Wrong — Always prophetic, steeped in old America, and downright funny, Dylan released this solo acoustic album of old (but timeless in their subjects) blues and folk tunes in 1993, following the release of 1992’s Good as I Been To You, another stunning collection of old blues and folk covers showing off Dylan’s fantastic solo acoustic guitar playing and finger-picking.
10. The 1965 album that changed the course of rock ‘n’ roll: Highway 61 Revisited. Featuring the first six-minute single, “Like a Rolling Stone.”
11. Other Firsts — Some would call Dylan’s 1965 video for “Subterranean Homesick Blues” one of the first music videos and his 1985 career-spanning, multi-disc set Biograph one of the first of the modern box sets. Another first: 1966’s Blonde on Blonde was the first double album in the pop music field and the album’s final song, the 11-minute “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands,” was the first of its kind for sure, taking up the entire fourth side of the set. His 1974 tour with The Band was also one of the first arena tours of that type and scope that America has ever witnessed.
12. In 2000, for the soundtrack album The Sopranos: Peppers and Eggs, Dylan sang the Dean Martin classic “Return to Me.” In Italian!
13. He rapped on a 1980s Kurtis Blow record. Ask him.
14. In 2002, Dylan made first appearance at the Newport Folk Festival since he historically went “electric” there in 1965. And he wore a fake beard and a dirty-blonde wig to celebrate the occasion.
15. For reasons still not understood, some of Dylan’s most brilliant songs (“Blind Willie McTell,” “Nobody ’Cept You,” “Mississippi,” “Series of Dreams,” and “Girl from the Red River Shore,” are mere examples) were left on the cutting-room floor and not officially released on the albums they were recorded/intended for.
16. In December 1960, when Dylan left his home in Minnesota at just 19 years old, he changed his name from Robert Zimmerman to Bob Dylan and accomplished two of his early goals: to find his hero Woody Guthrie, who was holed up in a New Jersey hospital, and to start his professional music career. A year later, his first album Bob Dylan was released on Columbia and he had befriended the sick Guthrie. Dreams can come true. But you got to work hard.
17. He was the subject of one of the great rock docs of all time: the 1967 D.A. Pennebaker film Don’t Look Back. Some classic and hilarious press mockery by Dylan throughout.
18. He made a cameo appearance in a Wyclef Jean video. Seriously.
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"We felt that divine intervention came in some place, to put this group together, because this is a group that didn’t know each other. We didn’t grow up together; we all grew up in different parts of the South, different states. And we all came to New York, around the same time, and moved into the same neighborhood, and we would go in the park everyday and play basketball and start singin’."
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By Jeff Schwachter AS BOB DYLAN IS ONCE again set to roll into the Jersey Shore this weekend, I got to thinking about the similarities between the legendary performer and this, his coastal destination. What immediately comes to mind is how, like the coastline, Dylan's music has shifted and fluctuated throughout his 40-plus year career. His constant transformations as an artist are what have helped him become such a unique one. From 1963's "The Times They Are A-Changin'" to 2001's Oscar-winning track from the film, The Wonder Boys, "Things Have Changed," Dylan's music has evolved again and again. Yet, like the sand on the beach, the enduring and ineffable qualities of his work remain. Like the coastline, Dylan, who just turned 63 last month, has always symbolized the edge of things -- with one foot on land and the other in the fluid supernatural. His ability to stand between the two for so many years is his gift. Whether he was fusing the writing style of the beat poets with the popular sounds of rock 'n' roll or combining the elements of early American mountain music with the "wild, thin mercury sound" he heard in his head in the mid-60s, Dylan...
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