Bob Dylan

Joan Baez: 60 Years of Sound and Still Counting

Sandra Bertrand

A film about such a folk legend must include highlights of performances to satisfy the fans, especially those whose own lives have witnessed the messy, yet often glorious days that Baez’s own life reflects. These clips are golden moments, surely, with memorable songs performed by Joan and Mimi; one of Dylan’s hits sung by the pair at the height of their performing together; and on the Farewell Tour, “There But For Fortune” by Phil Ochs.

Did Bob Dylan Deserve the Nobel? Maybe, But He Wasn’t the First Musician

Hasan Zillur Rahim

The decision by the Swedish Academy to award Bob Dylan the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition" was lauded by many and lamented by a few. But there was universal acknowledgment that the Academy had broken new ground by awarding the Nobel “for the first time” to a singer-songwriter since the French poet and essayist Sully Prudhomme first won it in 1901.

Bob Dylan and the Holy Grail: Basement Tapes Officially Released After 47 Years

Benjamin Wright

While recovering from the crash, Dylan spent some time in Woodstock, New York, joined soon after by other members of his band, the Hawks – Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel and Garth Hudson – the group who would soon become well-known simply as “The Band.” In those months of his absence from the public view Dylan and the Band recorded over 100 tracks in houses in and around Woodstock.

Genius and Addiction: Creative Fuel or Speedway to Self-Destruction?

Benjamin Wright

We, as a society, feel a certain loss when we lose prematurely great actors like Philip Seymour Hoffman, comic geniuses like John Belushi, music legends like Jimi Hendrix, Keith Moon and Janis Joplin, and brilliant poets like Dylan Thomas who open up our understanding of our world. But, it is also very possible that these figures, all geniuses in their own right, may never have fully realized their potential if not for their use of mind-expanding substances. It is likely that their addictions fanned the flames of their creative genius. 

Simple As This: Is Jake Bugg the New Bob Dylan?

Melinda Parks

To see him play live, you would hardly know that Jake Bugg is just a kid. Feet planted before the microphone, head bobbing up and down to the rhythm of his guitar strumming, he exudes the subdued confidence of a more seasoned performer. His voice – distinctively nasal, irresistibly British – carries strongly over the crowd, sounding impressively similar to his studio recordings. He strolls along the edge of the stage at intervals and glances casually about the room, as if to demonstrate just how easily this comes to him. 

‘Ain’t in It for My Health’: An Intimate Look at the Life of Levon Helm

Benjamin Wright

Ain’t in It for My Health: A Film About Levon Helm, directed by Jacob Hatley, is not seeped with nostalgia like so many other music documentaries (Martin Scorsese’s treatments of Bob Dylan or George Harrison, the Jim Brown directed tribute to Pete Seeger or even – though to a lesser extent – Lian Lunson’s documentary on Leonard Cohen). It is grittier and, one would believe, more truthful – a candid look into the final years of the life of Levon Helm, in many ways the special ingredient that really gave The Band their flavor.


Exploring the Roots of One of the World’s Most Famous and Kitschiest Songs

Benjamin Wright

It’s a number that has been sung by many diverse artists: Elvis and Bob Dylan, Connie Francis, Harry Belafonte, Chubby Checker, Allan Sherman, Josephine Baker, Regina Spektor, Dick Dale, Glen Campbell and countless others. Harry Belafonte glorified it. Campbell viewed it as an essential tool to earn extra money playing the wedding and bar mitzvah circuit when he first arrived in Los Angeles. Dylan’s version, scholar and music critic Josh Kun explains in the documentary, “is an embrace and a refusal. It’s the smartest song about Jewish identity I’ve ever heard and it only lasts 30 seconds.” Sherman mocked it as he celebrated it, singing “Harvey and Sheila.”

The Weird and Wonderful Literary World of Bob Dylan

Benjamin Wright

On September 11, 2012, Bob Dylan released his 35th studio album, Tempest. The reviews poured in, many hailing the album as an instant classic, and simultaneously labeling it Dylan’s darkest album to date, filled with tracks about death and disaster, including the nearly 14-minute long title track about the sinking of the Titanic. When the album’s title was revealed, a firestorm of speculation broke out, particularly among music historians and Dylanologists who hypothesized that Tempest might be the last album in the “Bard from Hibbing’s” 50-year career, as The Tempest was what many critics believe to have been Shakespeare’s final play. 

Acclaimed Author Jonah Lehrer Discusses ‘Imagine,’ His Latest Best Seller, and Mysteries of Creativity

Elizabeth Pyjov

What do the “a-ha” moments in our minds mean, and where do they come from? The connections between art and science and the mystery of creativity have become the specialties of author and journalist Jonah Lehrer. What makes Lehrer stand out as a writer is that even while explaining the science behind a phenomenon such as creativity, he takes away none of its magic, and even as he acknowledges the complexity of his subject, he still illuminates it beautifully. Lehrer recently spoke with Highbrow Magazine.

Subscribe to RSS - Bob Dylan