Bob Dylan at 75 – Blonde on Blonde to Modern Times

Bob Dylan at 75

Jim and Greg conclude their two-part celebration of American icon Bob Dylan as he turns 75. This week, they explore the recording of Blonde on Blonde through his late career renaissance.

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Bob Dylan at 75: Blonde on Blonde to Today

Blonde on Blonde

In this episode, we conclude our celebration of the life and music of Bob Dylan, who turned 75 in May. Last week, we looked at Dylan's folkie roots up to the moment he plugged in. In Part II, Jim and Greg dive in to the album they reckon could be Dylan's masterpiece – Blonde on Blonde. The influential double-album was released almost exactly 50 years ago on May 16, 1966. We continue our 2009 conversation with rock legend Al Kooper, who shares memories from the album's recording sessions in Nashville. Al recalls being truly impressed with the local musicians, and describes the vibe as much more refined than during the chaotic sessions of Highway 61 Revisited. Even as he was making history with Blonde on Blonde, Dylan was having fun – messing around with his backup players, improvising bogus song titles for executives, and laughing at Charlie McCoy's attempts to play bass and trumpet simultaneously.

Jim and Greg wrap up the miniseries by focusing on Dylan's unprecedented late career renaissance. Glossing over the '70s and '80s was no easy decision, but with limited time, they feel it's important to showcase the remarkable music Dylan is still making well into his seventies. During his "Modern Times" – to borrow the title of his 2006 record – Dylan returned to amazing form as a live act and released a string of impressive comeback albums. He collaborated with producer Daniel Lanois on Oh Mercy in 1989 and Time Out of Mind in 1997. The engineer on both records was Mark Howard, who spoke to Jim and Greg in 2009 about Dylan's taste for vintage production techniques, motorcycles, and eccentric studio antics.

Check out Part I of our Dylan special.

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