ALBUM REVIEW – BLONDE ON BLONDE, BOB DYLAN

BLONDE ON BLONDE
BOB DYLAN
COLUMBIA RECORDS, 1966
5/5

By:Chris Gullo

For many, Bob Dylan is considered the greatest songwriter of the past century. Rolling Stone has two of Dylan’s albums in their list of top ten albums of all time. My first experience with a Bob Dylan album was this summer, when I heard a live concert of his from 1966. I thought that the instrumentation and the lyrics were at a level I had rarely seen before. Like a good book or poem, his songs have the power to perfectly paint a picture of what Dylan wants you to see and what your imagination creates for you.

Last month, a documentary released on DVD and shown on PBS called No Direction Home chronicled Dylan’s life from his small-town beginnings to the apex of his rise to fame in 1966, when Blonde on Blonde was released. I watched it and found his story to be fascinating. By 1966, he had released a few amazing albums that were critical successes. However, he had changed his style from traditional folk guitar to one that was electric, loud, and instrument-filled. Some early fans didn’t like this transition. In fact, they disliked it so much that at that 1966 concert, a man in the crowd shouted “Judas!” Dylan didn’t believe this, called the man a liar, then told his band to play “(expletive deleted) loud”, as they started his most famous song, “Like A Rolling Stone”.

That same year, he released the double LP Blonde on Blonde, the first of its kind. What this meant was that the album consisted of two whole records, lasting 71 minutes. The last song, “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands,” was over ten minutes in length, another first for a rock record. This album is full of wonderfully crafted songs, including some of his greatest hits. It starts off with “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35”, which created an anthem for the hippies of the decade with it’s chorus “everybody must get stoned.” though the phrase was a pun on the figurative stone-throwing his audience had been giving him. That song is followed by classics such as “Visions of Johanna” and “Just Like A Woman”.

Dylan sings coolly then with emotion, as the album moves between playfulness and bittersweet reflection on his relationships (of which there were many). “Fourth Time Around” should sound familiar to any Beatles fan. It’s similarities with the song “Norwegian Wood” are intentional. Dylan thought the Beatles had already ripped him off with the melodies of some of their songs. Bob Dylan and this album are quirky, wildly imaginative, poetic, and provocative. In short, “Blonde on Blonde” is a classic.

Bob Dylan

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One Response to “ALBUM REVIEW – BLONDE ON BLONDE, BOB DYLAN”

  1. hillnews Says:

    Bob Dylan is a really old guy and should retire from the music industry.

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