If anything further acts as an example of the aging of the 60’s generation, it’s the fact that Bob Dylan is turning 70. The music legend has set the standard for many genres of music including folk, rock, blues, country and gospel. He’s proven one of the most influential musicians and songwriters of all time, and was even a huge influence on other music legends such as Jimi Hendrix who even adopted part of his look from Bob Dylan, as well as recording his own version of “All Along The Watchtower”.
Although Bob Dylan’s music has continued to evolve over the years, fans have stayed true to the legend. And critics have always been in awe of each powerful new metamorphosis of the artist. Like a butterfly emerging for the first time, Bob Dylan provided endless new directions to his music, while remaining one of the greatest songwriters of all time.
Dylan evolved from a protest singer-type folk singer roots in early years to more progressive rock influenced efforts such as HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED and BLONDE ON BLONDE. In 1966, after being involved in a motorcycle crash, the singer took a long break from the spotlight and later emerged with a new voice and sound that energized his work with The Band and his album NASHVILLE SKYLINE. In 1969, Dylan appeared on Johnny Cash’s variety TV show and appeared to be showing a definite country influenced sound.
But by 1970, some critics were confounded by Dylan’s constant and seemingly unpredictable musical directions. But Dylan continued to produce new music such as the hit single, “Watching The River Flow” to satisfy his fans. By 1972, Dylan even signed up for a role in PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID, another Sam Peckinpah classic. Dylan played the role of “Alias” in the film as well as providing songs for the soundtrack.
Bob Dylan briefly jumped ship from his long relationship with Columbia Records to briefly record with Asylum Records. Two albums, including PLANET WAVES came from this brief encounter with another record label before Dylan was lured back to Columbia Records to record more albums, some more inspired than others including the great BOB DYLAN LIVE AT BUDOKAN. In 1978, Dylan released the great album “STREET-LEGAL”. But, in 1979, Dylan made a turn towards a born again Christianity phase, releasing two albums, SLOW TRAIN COMING and later, SAVED, in 1980. His single from SLOW TRAIN COMING, “Gotta Serve Somebody” won Dylan a Grammy Award for Best Male Vocalist, proving that many fans and critics are willing to trust Bob Dylan no matter what he attempts. SLOW TRAIN COMING peaked at #3 on the U.S. album charts.
Although Bob Dylan continued to offer albums in the following years, it wasn’t until TIME OUT OF MIND, LOVE AND THEFT, MODERN TIMES and TOGETHER THROUGH LIFE that Bob Dylan hit a string of successive top ten albums. Both MODERN TIMES and TOGETHER THROUGH LIFE were Dylan’s first #1 albums since 1974’s PLANET WAVES and BLOOD ON THE TRACKS.
Happy Birthday, Bob Dylan. You’ve given fans a lifetime of great music. Here’s to many great releases through your 70’s and beyond.