Highway 61 Revisited

Highway 61 Revisited was released on 30th August 1965. It is now more than fifty years old and yet, it still sounds as fresh as when I first heard it, hidden away in my bedroom – turn that awful music down Robin – this minute!  Except it wasn’t awful and I didn’t – so the rebellion began.

Michael Gray, author of the first critical study of Dylan’s work, Song & Dance Man: The Art of Bob Dylan, argues that the sixties started with this album.  By contrast, Joe Boyd suggests the sixties began in the summer of 1956, ended in October of 1973 and peaked just before dawn on 1st July 1967 (from his memoir, White Bicycles).

I was born too late.  My sixties began on 25th April 1969 and ended on 6th October 1973. Regardless of beginnings and endings, it is certain that this album and these songs were an essential part of the mix. I remain eternally grateful for its sound and influence, so this post is a brief tribute:

Highway 61 Revisited ...

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20 comments

  1. Mo Claydon · August 31, 2015

    I’ve got the album but no way of playing it anymore (along with all those essential scratches and hiccups caused by playing it to death in-the-day, listening to a ‘digital’ version isn’t quite the same;-))

    • northumbrianlight · August 31, 2015

      I guess it is no surprise that there is something of a vinyl revival – there was something wonderfully tactile about holding LPs at their edges and carefully placing them on the deck. No skipping the tracks either – play them in order. Walking around with those iconic covers under your arm was also a passport to street cred. I think we have lost something magical. Many thanks for stopping by and making me think.

  2. Cate Franklyn · August 31, 2015

    Always loved rock and roll and grew up with it in the 60’s. My brother and I were in various basement bands during the 1970’s, I sang he played drums. We loved hard driving rock and roll and would crank it up in the apartment, turning my mother’s hair white. “Turn THAT down, now!!!” She would yell. Like you, we paid her no mind.

    • northumbrianlight · August 31, 2015

      I would love to see some pictures of your band – are there any? I am quite envious of your relative proximity to Greenwich Village.

  3. Sue · August 31, 2015

    Good old Bob Dylan…..my mother always referred to him as “the first singing goat”…… Not a fan, then!

    • northumbrianlight · August 31, 2015

      😀 I think your mum would have got on well with my dad – he switched off the television when the BBC broadcast the Albert Hall concerts. “I am not having that communist singing in my house!” Of course I was fuming.

      • Sue · August 31, 2015

        😳

      • northumbrianlight · August 31, 2015

        This is strange but true – not many months later, when he was away on a rare business trip to Glasgow, my dad brought me back a copy of Dylan’s latest single – Rainy Day Women. I don’t think he would have understood the meaning of ‘everyone must get stoned’ which is not surprising. What I can’t imagine though, and is therefore very surprising, is the image of my dad going into a record store and buying it! Not such a bad chap after all 😉

  4. easyweimaraner · September 1, 2015

    I was born too late too… and I turn a little green when I hear the stories of my mother about that time … she wasn’t a fan of Bob, she preferred Adamo (uhoh!)

    • northumbrianlight · September 1, 2015

      There is much to be said for being born too late – not so sure about Adamo though, I must investigate 🙂

  5. LaVagabonde · September 3, 2015

    I can hear that shrill voice ringing in my ears. Your mothers, not Bob’s 😉

    • northumbrianlight · September 4, 2015

      I can still hear her though – she was more Kate Bush than Bob Dylan when issuing commands 🙂

  6. litadoolan · September 7, 2015

    Epic tribute. I love Bob Dylan. Enjoyed this post so much. A valuable shared experience of appreciating a master poet. What a genius and his work is so timeless. It always sounds fresh everytime I hear his work. So rebel rousing! Thanks for reminding me to listen more to Dylan. Love it.

    • northumbrianlight · September 7, 2015

      Many thanks Lita – I trust you were singing along 😉 . I was no great fan of Cilla Black but there was a real sense of losing touch with a certain time and place when she passed. I dread to think how I will feel when Bob takes a similar journey through the Gates of Eden (always assuming I outlive him 🙂 )

      At times I think there are no words
      But these to tell what’s true
      And there are no truths outside the Gates of Eden.

  7. Thom Hickey · September 7, 2015

    Thanks. I remember vividly the sheer shock of the brilliance and power of the album. If he had done nothing else his place in history would have been secure. Of course, he has always been a history maker! Agree about the vinyl – I can have an enjoyable hour just rifling through my collections covers – so many memories of time, place, people evoked! Regards Thom.

    • northumbrianlight · September 7, 2015

      Exactly Thom, the shock of the new – and then came Blonde on Blonde! I felt so cool carrying that album around. All the best, Robin

  8. Timelesslady · September 7, 2015

    My husband loves Dylan, I like him for a bit, and then I want to move on if I listen too long, but as for uniqueness…there are not many with the capacity to be so unlike everyone else.

    • northumbrianlight · September 8, 2015

      Your husband is a man of very fine taste 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to talk.

  9. enmanscamera · September 8, 2015

    ah..Dylan. I grew up listening to his music. I remember High School friends telling me their parents forbad Dylan and all the rest of the popular music in the 50’s and 60’s, but I guess I was lucky that my parents never changed the radio station or complained about my choice’s in music.
    His songs mark places in my life…gosh, into the 70’s.
    Thanks for the reminder.

    • northumbrianlight · September 8, 2015

      It was a fine and entirely original soundtrack to our lives – there is still plenty of good new music around but, to these older ears, nothing that has the same impact as Dylan in his prime. Thanks for the comment and stopping by.

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