Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Anniversary of the First Rock Double Album, Bob Dylan's Blonde On Blonde

May 16 was the birthday of Liberace, Pierce Brosnan, Henry Fonda and Janet Jackson. It's also the 52nd anniversary of the release of Blonde On Blonde, Bob Dylan's seventh studio album, recorded in New York and finished in Nashville. Dylan spent three months recording in New York before making a famously influential decision to complete the album in the heart of Tennessee's country music scene. Only one track from the New York sessions actually a made it to the album.

TRIVIA: What Simon & Garfunkel song purloins a line from the first track of Blonde On Blonde? (answer below)

Why did Dylan go to Nashville after investing so much time in producing something with The Hawks, his backing band whom he'd travelled the world with? Well, the Hawks' background was primarily as performers, not session musicians. It was his encounter Charlie McCoy*, a Nashville studio musician, that prompted him to take his new material to Nashville in search of that famous sound he was seeking to capture.

This saga was the central theme in an exhibit called, Dylan, Cash and the Nashville Cats that was on display from 2015 to late 2016. There was also a book by the same name, which triggered this blog post that fall.

Blonde On Blonde has come to take on new significance for me personally as we head toward the 2018 Duluth Dylan Fest which begins this weekend. Dylan is turning 77 next week, which is obviously a Pair of Sevens. Blonde On Blonde is not only a pair of blondes, but it is also the first Rock Double Album and listed as #9 in Rolling Stone's Greatest 500 Albums of All Time.

But the Double Dylan you see on our pins next week and some of the art you'll see as well as our posters has still more echoes. His zodiac sign (born May 24) is Gemini, The Twins. He was born in the Twin Ports here in the Central Hillside, a relatively short distance from a Skyline Parkway swimming hole called Twin Ponds. The home, where we will celebrate his birthday next week, was a Duplex. Though he grew up in Hibbing his first home away from home was in the Twin Cities.

The visual representation was inspired by Andy Warhol's Double Elvis, which Dylan actually saw in person while in the company of Warhol at his Factory.

* * * *

If you join us at Carmody's for Dylan Trivia on Sunday (9:00 p.m.), there may be a need to memorize all this in order to know one of the answers. Maybe.

...are Still A-Changin'.
Related Links
Inside Dylan's Blonde On Blonde (in case you didn't click the link above)
Robert Zimmerman's Family History
Dylan Fest Schedule (in case you didn't click on the link above)
Billboard piece on 50th Anniversary of this Vivid, Warm, Biting Album.

TRIVIA ANSWER: A Simple Desultory Philippic (Or How I Was Robert McNamara'd Into Submission) from Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. "Everybody must get stoned."

*No relation to the bond trader Sherman McCoy in Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities.


Kevguy said...

I am absolutely certain that the Mother's first release pre-dates Blonde on Blonde. A careful search through reliable sources will back me up on this. Its too early in the morning, or I'd do it myself. Best, Kevguy11

Jake said...

Blonde on Blonde was *not* released on May 16. They were still overdubbing drums for "4th Time Around" on June 16.

Ed Newman said...

Thanks for the correction on release date. I read that it was, and thought Rolling Stone confirmed (NOT at that time, since it did not exist yet) but a couple years ago.
Anyways, one way to find the truth is to post something questionable I guess.
Maybe someone else has info on this.

Anonymous said...

Freak Out! (Mothers of Invention) was released June 27, 1966, on Verve Records. It was a double album. When was Blonde on Blonde released?