Friday, April 17, 2015

Olof Björner's Bob Dylan Yearly Chronicles

RESEARCH TOOLS DEPT.

Suppose you're writing an article, or maybe even a book, on some facet of Bob Dylan's life and you need to verify some information about, say maybe, a concert in 1974. You know you read about it in one of the many books you'd read about Dylan, but you can't seem to recall just where that reference was.

Well, here's a place where you can turn: Olof Björner's Bob Dylan Yearly Chronicles.

Like you, Olof Björner is a Dylan fan. Unlike you, he is far more organized, and has spent decades documenting Dylan's live performances and recording sessions. His website, bjorner.com, features details of every live concert and studio recording from as early as 1956. That's right, Dylan was just fifteen.

Dylan fans come in all varieties and forms. Some collect the albums, countless others go beyond that and collect the bootlegs. Some collect memorabilia, and others strive to take in as many concerts as possible. The Swedish-born Björner evidently enjoys researching information, and he's spent a lifetime gathering it, ultimately producing a 13-volume set on these subjects, Olof's Files: A Bob Dylan Performance Guide, which was issued by UK publisher Hardinge Simpole, available on Amazon.com.

In short, if you ever have to assemble a Dylan Trivia Contest, you really needn't look any further than to Olof Björner's comprehensive work.

Speaking of trivia contests, Carmody's Pub in Downtown Duluth hosts a trivia night every Sunday at, I believe, 9 p.m. and during our annual Duluth Dylan Fest, the theme is Dylan, as you would expect. Here are some of the kinds of questions you might hear asked on that particular evening.

1. In April 1965, fifty years ago this month, Dylan's single Subterranean Homesick Blues/She Belongs To Me spent eight weeks on the charts, peaking at what number in the U.S.?
a. #4
b. #17
c. #39
d. #51

2. The same release spent nine weeks on the charts in the U.K. and peaked at what number?
a. #1
b. #9
c. #23
d. #44

3. Dylan has been in quite a number of films. In March 1972 what film was released in which Dylan appeared.
a. Billy the Kid
b. Don't Look Back
c. Renaldo and Clara
d. The Concert for Bangla Desh

4. On May 29, 1988 Dylan made a guest appearance in a concert starring what former member of The Band?
a. Levon Helm
b. Robbie Robertson
c. Rick Danko
d. Richard Manuel

5. What was the venue for Dylan's concert in New York on August 28, 1965?
a. Max's Kansas City
b. Madison Square Garden
c. Radio City Music Hall
d. Forest Hills Tennis Stadium

Well, if you want the answers, you know where to look. And maybe we'll see you at Carmody's next month, if not sooner. If you see me, say hello.

Meantime, life goes on all around you. Embrace it.


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