Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited (1965)
“What’s his appeal?”
– me, as recently as a few years ago
For years I simply didn’t get it.
Could he write songs? Sure, please just give them to Jimi Hendrix or Guns n’ Roses to perform.
Somewhere, at some point (potentially when I was introduced to Blood on the Tracks), the conversion happened. The voice that was initially such a deterrent became essential.
Now I’m a believer & perhaps the only thing worse than a big Dylan fan is a born-again fan!
Where does Highway 61 Revisited rank in his catalogue? Sadly I haven’t explored all 35 (35!) studio albums, not to mention all the live albums, bootlegs and more. A definitive statement proclaiming this as his finest would be misguided, given the lack of complete information.
What I can say:
Rolling Stone probably got it right, naming Like a Rolling Stone as his best song. Superb song to begin with, made greater given that this was an era where a 6-minute single was unthinkable. Mid-60s trailblazing, as per usual.
As a teen, I had a rule where I didn’t want to hear the same song twice in one day, for fear of ‘getting tired of it.’ Every time Desolation Row wrapped up, I was tempted to start all over & often did, teenage rules be darned.
If the mark of a great record is its ability to stay in the rotation, Highway 61 Revisited is exemplary.
Pity the album that would have to follow this one, so that will wrap up Title Track March.
Up next: in honour of people ending their winter hibernation, going out and talking to neighbours, I’ll look at long-winded album titles. Tentatively called Chatty April, enjoy!