Nashville Skyline

Last updated
Nashville Skyline
Bob Dylan - Nashville Skyline.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 9, 1969 (1969-04-09)
RecordedFebruary 12–21, 1969
Genre Country rock, country
Length27:14
Label Columbia
Producer Bob Johnston
Bob Dylan chronology
John Wesley Harding
(1967)
Nashville Skyline
(1969)
Self Portrait
(1970)
Singles from Nashville Skyline
  1. "I Threw It All Away"/"Drifter's Escape"
    Released: May 1969
  2. "Lay Lady Lay"/"Peggy Day"
    Released: July 1969
  3. "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here with You"/"Country Pie"
    Released: October 1969

Nashville Skyline is the ninth studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on April 9, 1969, by Columbia Records as LP record, reel to reel tape and audio cassette.

Bob Dylan American singer-songwriter, musician, author, and artist

Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, author, and visual artist who has been a major figure in popular culture for six decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s, when songs such as "Blowin' in the Wind" (1963) and "The Times They Are a-Changin'" (1964) became anthems for the Civil Rights Movement and anti-war movement. His lyrics during this period incorporated a wide range of political, social, philosophical, and literary influences, defied pop-music conventions and appealed to the burgeoning counterculture.

Columbia Records American record label; currently owned by Sony Music Entertainment

Columbia Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, the North American division of Japanese conglomerate Sony. It was founded in 1887, evolving from the American Graphophone Company, the successor to the Volta Graphophone Company. Columbia is the oldest surviving brand name in the recorded sound business, and the second major company to produce records. From 1961 to 1990, Columbia recordings were released outside North America under the name CBS Records to avoid confusion with EMI's Columbia Graphophone Company. Columbia is one of Sony Music's four flagship record labels, alongside former longtime rival RCA Records, as well as Arista Records and Epic Records.

LP record Analog sound storage medium

The LP is an analog sound storage medium, a vinyl record format characterized by a speed of ​33 13 rpm, a 12- or 10-inch diameter, and use of the "microgroove" groove specification. Introduced by Columbia in 1948, it was soon adopted as a new standard by the entire record industry. Apart from a few relatively minor refinements and the important later addition of stereophonic sound, it has remained the standard format for vinyl albums.

Contents

Building on the rustic style he experimented with on John Wesley Harding , Nashville Skyline displayed a complete immersion into country music. Along with the more basic lyrical themes, simple songwriting structures, and charming domestic feel, it introduced audiences to a radically new singing voice from Dylan, who had temporarily quit smoking [1] —a soft, affected country croon.

<i>John Wesley Harding</i> (album) 1967 studio album by Bob Dylan

John Wesley Harding is the eighth studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on December 27, 1967, by Columbia Records. Produced by Bob Johnston, the album marked Dylan's return to semi-acoustic instrumentation and folk-influenced songwriting after three albums of lyrically abstract, blues-indebted rock music. John Wesley Harding shares many stylistic threads with, and was recorded around the same time as, the prolific series of home recording sessions with the Band, partly released in 1975 as The Basement Tapes, and released in complete form in 2014 as The Bootleg Series Vol. 11: The Basement Tapes Complete.

Country music, also known as country and western, and hillbilly music, is a genre of popular music that originated in the southern United States in the early 1920s. It takes its roots from genres such as folk music and blues.

Crooner type of singer

Crooner is an American epithet given primarily to male singers of jazz standards, mostly from the Great American Songbook, backed by either a full orchestra, a big band or a piano. Originally it was an ironic term denoting a sentimental singing style made possible by the use of microphones. Some performers, such as Russ Columbo, did not accept the term: Frank Sinatra once said that he did not consider himself or Bing Crosby "crooners".

The result received a generally positive reaction from critics, and was a commercial success. Reaching No. 3 in the U.S., the album also scored Dylan his fourth UK No. 1 album.

Background

By the time Nashville Skyline was recorded, the political climate in the United States had grown more polarized. In 1968, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert Kennedy (a leading candidate for the presidency) were assassinated. Riots broke out in several major cities, including a major one surrounding the Democratic National Convention in Chicago and racially motivated conflagrations spurred by King's assassination. A new president, Richard Nixon, was sworn into office in January 1969, but the U.S. engagement in Southeast Asia, particularly the Vietnam War, would continue for several years. Protests over a wide range of political topics became more frequent. Dylan had been a leading cultural figure, noted for political and social commentary throughout the 1960s. Even as he moved away from topical songs, he never lost his cultural stature. However, as Clinton Heylin wrote of Nashville Skyline, "If Dylan was concerned about retaining a hold on the rock constituency, making albums with Johnny Cash in Nashville was tantamount to abdication in many eyes." [2]

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Martin Luther King Jr. U.S. civil rights movement leader

Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968. Born in Atlanta, King is best known for advancing civil rights through nonviolence and civil disobedience, tactics his Christian beliefs and the nonviolent activism of Mahatma Gandhi helped inspire.

1968 Democratic National Convention protest activity

Protest activity against the Vietnam War took place prior to and during the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

"Our generation owes him our artistic lives," observed Kris Kristofferson, who later sang with Cash in The Highwaymen, "because he opened all the doors in Nashville when he did Blonde on Blonde and Nashville Skyline. The country scene was so conservative until he arrived. He brought in a whole new audience. He changed the way people thought about it – even the Grand Ole Opry was never the same again." [3]

Kris Kristofferson American country music singer, songwriter, musician, and film actor

Kristoffer Kristofferson is an American actor and singer-songwriter. Among his songwriting credits are the songs "Me and Bobby McGee", "For the Good Times", "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down", and "Help Me Make It Through the Night", all of which were hits for other artists. Kristofferson composed his own songs and collaborated with Nashville songwriters such as Shel Silverstein. In 1985, Kristofferson joined fellow country artists Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash in forming the country music supergroup The Highwaymen, and formed a key creative force in the Outlaw country music movement that eschewed the Nashville music machine in favor of independent songwriting and producing. In 2004, Kristofferson was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. He is also known for his starring roles in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, Heaven's Gate, Blade and A Star Is Born, the latter of which earned him a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor.

The Highwaymen was an American country music supergroup, composed of four of the genre's biggest artists, that pioneered the outlaw country subgenre: Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson. Between 1985 and 1995, the group recorded three major label albums as The Highwaymen: two on Columbia Records and one for Liberty Records. Their Columbia works produced three chart singles, including the number one "Highwayman" in 1985.

<i>Blonde on Blonde</i> 1966 studio album by Bob Dylan

Blonde on Blonde is the seventh studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released June 20, 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 ". 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.

Helped by a promotional appearance on The Johnny Cash Show on June 7, Nashville Skyline went on to become one of Dylan's best-selling albums. Three singles were pulled from it, all of which received significant airplay on AM radio.

Critical reception

Retrospective professional reviews
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg [4]
Chicago Tribune Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [5]
MusicHound Rock 3.5/5 [6]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [7]

Despite the dramatic, commercial shift in direction, the press also gave Nashville Skyline a warm reception. A critic for Newsweek wrote of "the great charm... and the ways Dylan, both as composer and performer, has found to exploit subtle differences on a deliberately limited emotional and verbal scale." [8] In Rolling Stone , Paul Nelson wrote, "Nashville Skyline achieves the artistically impossible: a deep, humane, and interesting statement about being happy. It could well be... his best album." [9] However, Nelson would reconsider his opinion in a review for Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Vol. II less than three years later, writing, "I was misinformed. That's why no one should pay any attention to critics, especially the artist." [10] In The Village Voice , Robert Christgau argued that "the beauty of the album" was in the "totally undemanding" and "one-dimensional" quality of the songs, believing Dylan had toyed with the public's expectations again by embracing a country tenor voice and aesthetic. [11] He later included it in his "Basic Record Library" of 1950s and 1960s recordings, published in Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981). [12]

Newsweek is an American weekly news magazine founded in 1933.

<i>Rolling Stone</i> American magazine focusing on popular culture, based in New York City

Rolling Stone is an American monthly magazine that focuses on popular culture. It was founded in San Francisco, California in 1967 by Jann Wenner, who is still the magazine's publisher, and the music critic Ralph J. Gleason. It was first known for its musical coverage and for political reporting by Hunter S. Thompson. In the 1990s, the magazine shifted focus to a younger readership interested in youth-oriented television shows, film actors, and popular music. In recent years, it has resumed its traditional mix of content.

Paul Nelson was an A&R executive, magazine editor, and music critic best known for writing for Sing Out!, The Village Voice and Rolling Stone.

A few critics expressed some disappointment. Ed Ochs of Billboard wrote, "the satisfied man speaks in clichés, and blushes as if every day were Valentine's Day." Tim Souster of the BBC's The Listener magazine wrote, "One can't help feeling something is missing. Isn't this idyllic country landscape too good to be true?" [13]

Track listing

All songs written by Bob Dylan. [14]

Side one
No.TitleLength
1."Girl from the North Country" (duet with Johnny Cash)3:41
2."Nashville Skyline Rag"3:12
3."To Be Alone with You"2:07
4."I Threw It All Away"2:23
5."Peggy Day"2:01
Side two
No.TitleLength
1."Lay Lady Lay"3:18
2."One More Night"2:23
3."Tell Me That It Isn't True"2:41
4."Country Pie"1:37
5."Tonight I'll Be Staying Here with You"3:23

Personnel

Musicians

Production

Charts

Weekly charts

YearChartPeak
position
1969Billboard 200 [15] 3
1969 Cash Box Album Charts [16] 3
1969 Record World Album Charts [17] 1
1969UK Top 75 [18] 1

Singles

YearSingleChartPeak
position
1969"I Threw it All Away" Billboard Hot 100 [19] 85
1969"I Threw it All Away" UK Top 100 [20] 30
1969"Lay Lady Lay" Billboard Hot 100 [19] 7
1969"Lay Lady Lay" UK Top 75 [21] 5
1969"Tonight I'll Be Staying Here with You" Billboard Hot 100 [19] 50

Certifications

RegionCertification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada) [22] Gold50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI) [23] Gold100,000 [24]
United States (RIAA) [25] Platinum1,000,000 [26]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

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References

  1. "How Bob Dylan Found His New Voice on 'Nashville Skyline'". rollingstone.com.
  2. Heylin (2003), p. 301.
  3. Bell, Max: "Q&A: Kris Kristofferson"; Classic Rock #148, August 2010, p34
  4. "Nashville Skyline". AllMusic . Retrieved January 11, 2012.
  5. Kot, Greg (October 25, 1992). "Dylan Through the Years: Hits and Misses". Chicago Tribune . Retrieved November 1, 2016.
  6. Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds) (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide (2nd ed.). Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 371. ISBN   1-57859-061-2.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  7. Brackett, Nathan; with Hoard, Christian (eds) (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. New York, NY: Fireside. p. 262. ISBN   0-7432-0169-8 . Retrieved August 22, 2015.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  8. Quoted in Heylin (2003), p. 302.
  9. Nelson, Paul (May 31, 1969). "Records". Rolling Stone . San Francisco: Straight Arrow Publishers, Inc. (34): 36. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  10. Nelson, Paul (January 6, 1972). "Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits, Vol. 2". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
  11. Christgau, Robert (May 1969). "Obvious Believers". The Village Voice . Retrieved November 1, 2016.
  12. Christgau, Robert (1981). "A Basic Record Library: The Fifties and Sixties". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies . Ticknor & Fields. ISBN   0899190251 . Retrieved March 16, 2019 via robertchristgau.com.
  13. Both quoted in Heylin (2003), p. 303.
  14. "Bob Dylan – Nashville Skyline". Discogs.
  15. "Bob Dylan – Chart history". www.billboard.com. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  16. "CASH BOX MAGAZINE: Archive of all issues from1942 to 1996". www.americanradiohistory.com. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
  17. "RECORD WORLD MAGAZINE: 1942 to 1982". www.americanradiohistory.com. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
  18. "Chart Stats – Bob Dylan – Nashville Skyline". chartstats.com. Archived from the original on July 21, 2012. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
  19. 1 2 3 "Bob Dylan – Chart history". www.billboard.com. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  20. "I Threw it All Away UK Chart". officialcharts.com. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  21. "Lay Lady Lay – UK Charts". officialcharts.com. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  22. "Canadian album certifications – Bob Dylan – Nashville Skyline". Music Canada . Retrieved July 18, 2017.
  23. "British album certifications – Bob Dylan – Nashville Skyline". British Phonographic Industry . Retrieved July 18, 2017.Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Nashville Skyline in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  24. "BPI Search". www.bpi.co.uk. Retrieved July 18, 2017.
  25. "American certifications". Recording Industry Association of America.
  26. "Gold & Platinum - RIAA". RIAA. Retrieved July 18, 2017.