Saturday, January 28, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Bob Dylan

Artist:Bob Dylan
Song:Like A Rolling Stone
Album:The Essential Bob Dylan

Today the mid-60s resistance to Bob Dylan's use of electric instruments seems awfully silly. But he was booed at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival. And Columbia Records didn't want to release the six minute long Like A Rolling Stone as a single. It's still his biggest chart single. Bob Dylan's influence as a songwriter is immeasurable. I'm not a fan of his singing because he mumbles too much. But his legacy especially in the 60s can't be denied. He was born Robert Zimmerman May 24, 1941 in Duluth, MN and grew up in nearby Hibbing. He got into music at an early age and played in bands while attending the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. He was influenced by poet Dylan Thomas to adopt the stage name Bob Dylan. Of course Dylan's main influence was folk music legend Woody Guthrie. So he moved to New York in 1961 to emulate his idol. By then Guthrie was very ill and Dylan visited him in the hospital and he became friends with Guthrie's pal Ramblin' Jack Elliott. After playing local clubs, legendary talent scout John Hammond signed Dylan to Columbia Records. His 1962 debut album was standard folk album of mostly covers. He started recording more of his own songs on the 1963 album The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan. The Guthrie influence was still there and Pete Seeger influenced the topical nature of the songs. Others started to record his songs and Dylan became involved in the civil rights movement with Joan Baez. He eventually became disillusioned with the protest movement and folk music in general. So with the 1965 album Bringing It All Back Home, he started recording with electric instruments. The turning point for this change was when Dylan performed at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival backed by The Paul Butterfield Blues Band. The hostile response from folk music purists convinced Dylan that he was on the right track. His next album Highway 61 Revisited started with the six minute Like A Rolling Stone featuring Al Kooper's organ riffs. Columbia didn't want to release it as a single but DJs played it and it reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Remember back then most singles were less than three minutes long. So the song was very influential in changing that. Of course since then Bob Dylan has had a long career. This 2CD comp is a good intro to his music. I haven't been a Dylan fan for years because I don't like his singing or I guess it could be called mumbling. But there's no question that his 60s recordings shaped pop music. Here's Bob Dylan performing Like A Rolling Stone 1966.

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