BOB DYLAN – ” Blonde On Blonde ” Classic Albums Released 16th May 1966

Posted: May 16, 2016 in Classic Albums, MUSIC
Tags: ,

blonde on blonde

On the 24th May singer-songwriter genius Bob Dylasn turns 80 years of age and
one of his solid gold masterpieces, double LP “Blonde On Blonde” is 55 years old today, released on 16 May 1966.

It was the final LP of a trilogy the eternal troubadour recorded in 1965/1966. The other two being classic LPs “Bringing It All Back Home” and “Highway 61 Revisited”.

Rolling Stone Magazine called Blonde on Blonde: “the most mysterious, majestic and seductive of Bob Dylan albums, not to mention the greatest. It remains the pinnacle of Dylan’s genius. It’s his most expansive music, with nothing that resembles a folk song, just the rock & roll laments of a vanishing American, the doomed outsider who’s given
up on ever belonging anywhere.”.

Recorded October 5th, 1965; November 30th, 1965; and January 25th, 1966, Studio A, Columbia Recording studios, New York; February 14th–17th and March 8th–10th, 1966, Columbia Music Row Studios, Nashville, Tennessee

“Blonde on Blonde” is the seventh studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on May 16th, 1966 on Columbia Records. Recording sessions began in New York in October 1965 with numerous backing musicians, including members of Dylan’s live backing band, The Hawks. Though sessions continued until January 1966, they yielded only one track that made it onto the final album—”One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)”. At producer Bob Johnston’s suggestion, Dylan, keyboardist Al Kooper, and guitarist Robbie Robertson moved to the CBS studios in Nashville, Tennessee. These sessions, augmented by some of Nashville’s top session musicians, were more fruitful, and in February and March all the remaining songs for the album were recorded.

Blonde on Blonde completed the trilogy of rock albums that Dylan recorded in 1965 and 1966, starting with Bringing It All Back Home and Highway 61 Revisited. Critics often rank Blonde on Blonde as one of the greatest albums of all time. Combining the expertise of Nashville session musicians with a modernist literary sensibility, the album’s songs have been described as operating on a grand scale musically, while featuring lyrics one critic called “a unique blend of the visionary and the colloquial”. It was one of the first double albums in rock music.

The album peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard 200 chart in the USA, where it eventually went double-platinum, and reached No. 3 in the UK. Blonde on Blonde spawned two singles that were top twenty hits in the USA: “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” and “I Want You”. Two further songs, “Just Like a Woman” and “Visions of Johanna”, have been described as among Dylan’s greatest compositions and were featured in Rolling Stone‘s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list.

He had a piano in his room at the hotel and during the day I would go up there and he would teach me a song. I would be like a cassette machine. I would play the song over and over on the piano for him. This served a double purpose. One, he could concentrate on writing the lyrics and didn’t have to mess with playing the piano; two, I could go to the studio early that night and teach it to the band before he even got there, so they could be playing the song before he even walked through the door.
~Al Kooper (talking about BoB recording sessions)

Blonde on Blonde is all resonance. The songs and their stories and evocative lines and seductive melodies inhabit a realm of sound unique to this album, different from anything created before or since by Dylan or anyone else. Dylan called it “that thin, that wild mercury sound-metallic and bright gold, with whatever that conjures up.

To have followed up one masterpiece with another was Dylan’s history making achievement here…Where Highway 61 Revisited has Dylan exposing and confronting like a laser beam in surgery, descending from outside the sickness, Blonde on Blonde offers a persona awash inside the chaos…We’re tossed from song to song…The feel and the music are on a grand scale, and the language and delivery are a rich mixture of the visionary and the colloquial.

As with so many rock masterpieces from 1966 – the Stones’ Aftermath and the Beatles’ Revolver, the Kinks’ Face to Face and the Who’s A Quick One, the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds and Otis Redding’s Dictionary of Soul and the Byrds’ 5th Dimension – there’s a sense of competition, as all these artists set out to top each other. Blonde on Blonde came a few months after Rubber Soul, and it clearly spurred Dylan to step up his melodic game. “4th Time Around” was his famous parody of “Norwegian Wood” – a song he cruelly played in person for John Lennon. (As Lennon told Rolling Stone in 1968, “He said, ‘What do you think?’ I said, ‘I don’t like it.'”) But talk about the anxiety of influence: Maybe Dylan had to mock “Norwegian Wood” just to hide how much Rubber Soul was lurking behind “Visions of Johanna” or “Sad Eyed Lady.”

Track listing

All songs written by Bob Dylan.

Side one
“Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” – 4:36
“Pledging My Time” – 3:50
“Visions of Johanna” – 7:33
“One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)” – 4:54
Side two
“I Want You” – 3:07
“Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again” – 7:05
“Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat” – 3:58
“Just Like a Woman” – 4:52
Side three
“Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I’ll Go Mine)” – 3:30
“Temporary Like Achilles” – 5:02
“Absolutely Sweet Marie” – 4:57
“4th Time Around” – 4:35
“Obviously 5 Believers” – 3:35
Side four
“Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands” – 11:23

bob dylan blonde on blonde photshoot
Personnel

Bob Dylan – vocals, guitar, harmonica, piano
Additional musicians
Bill Aikins – keyboards
Wayne Butler – trombone
Kenneth Buttrey – drums
Rick Danko or Bill Lee – bass guitar (New York)
Bobby Gregg – drums (New York)
Paul Griffin – piano (New York)
Jerry Kennedy – guitar
Al Kooper – organ, guitar
Charlie McCoy – bass guitar, guitar, harmonica, trumpet
Wayne Moss – guitar, vocals
Hargus “Pig” Robbins – piano, keyboards
Robbie Robertson – guitar, vocals
Henry Strzelecki – bass guitar
Joe South – bass guitar, guitar

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.