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Monday, March 19, 2012

50 Year Anniversary Of Bob Dylan's First Album

Apparently it has been exactly 50 years since Bob Dylan released his first album on March 19, 1962. The 70 year old singer/songwriter is still putting out new music and touring after all these years, which may be ever more impressive than 34 studio albums and countless other bootlegs, compilations, and live records. I saw him about a year ago and can attest to the fact that he can still rock out on stage even now. His first album didn't receive much attention, but the first (slightly more than) four years of his career were insanely prolific. He released seven albums in the first four years and three months. If those were all duds, that would be one thing, but it included Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde On Blonde, which both cracked the top 10 of Rolling Stones' greatest records of all-time. Also in that span is The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan and Bringing It All Back Home, which both cracked the top 100 of that same list.

I'm an unabashed Dylan fanatic, and I'm endlessly fascinated by both the man and the legend that he has carved throughout his career. Several years back I picked up a book of interviews that he did. The book is several hundred pages long, and I don't think I've made it through, but few people could be as compelling as he is in interview after interview (although Tom Waits gives him a run for his money). I know his voice or style can rub people the wrong way, but you have to admire his staying power and the way he has inspired countless numbers of people.

In honor of this 50 year anniversary, here is a song from one of those early albums. My favorite Dylan album, Blood On The Tracks, wasn't released until 1975. My favorite Dylan song has been about 15 different songs and changes far too often to really pick one. However, one favorite that has remained constant is my favorite lyric of his. That is courtesy of "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" from Dylan's second album, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan. The line is:

I ain't sayin you treated me unkind
You could have done better, but I don't mind
You just kinda wasted my precious time
Don't think twice, it's alright

I can't really say why I love the line so much. I think it's something about how he feels slighted but has decided to let bygones be bygones and move on. Considering how downright brutal and bitter songs like "Idiot Wind" and "Like A Rolling Stone" can be, whoever inspired this particular gem got off easy. It is really hard to find Dylan songs online, so I couldn't find the original, but this one will do:

A while back, I asked on Facebook what everyone's favorite Bob Dylan song is. The responses were Hurricane, Subterranean Homesick Blues, Tombstone Blues, and I Shall Be Released. Most of those are songs I wouldn't have even thought to consider, but given how many songs the man has recorded over his 50 year career, it's not surprising to see so many different choices. If anyone else cares to contribute their favorite Bob Dylan song in the comments, I'd love to hear it.

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