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The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia is a 2006 compendium of articles written by Michael Gray covering the life and work of Bob Dylan. It includes reviews of varying length for each album and numerous songs in Dylan's musical output, but is not just a work of music criticism. The topics for individual articles encompass Dylan's musical forebears, literary influences, personal acquaintances, key career events, musical associates, cultural context, forays into film and writing, and minutiae of all sorts.
Gray's opinions characterize the content found in the Encyclopedia. Gray connects Dylan to the tradition of country blues, and there are many articles relating to blues music and blues musicians, especially those from the 1920s and 1930s. Gray summarises the life and work of key early rock and roll performers from the 1950s, as well as entries on influential artists from the fields of country music and the folk music revival. There are also articles on historical figures, ranging from Robert Browning to Marshall McLuhan.
First editions of the Encyclopedia included a DVD duplicating its content, making it readable on the home computer.
Highway 61 Revisited is the sixth studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on August 30, 1965 by Columbia Records. Having until then recorded mostly acoustic music, Dylan used rock musicians as his backing band on every track of the album, except for the closing track, the 11-minute ballad "Desolation Row". Critics have focused on the innovative way Dylan combined driving, blues-based music with the subtlety of poetry to create songs that captured the political and cultural chaos of contemporary America. Author Michael Gray has argued that, in an important sense, the 1960s "started" with this album.
Blonde on Blonde is the seventh studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released as a double album on June 20, 1966 by 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.
The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan is the second studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on May 27, 1963 by Columbia Records. Whereas his self-titled debut album Bob Dylan had contained only two original songs, this album represented the beginning of Dylan's writing contemporary words to traditional melodies. Eleven of the thirteen songs on the album are Dylan's original compositions. It opens with "Blowin' in the Wind", which became an anthem of the 1960s, and an international hit for folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary soon after the release of the album. The album featured several other songs which came to be regarded as among Dylan's best compositions and classics of the 1960s folk scene: "Girl from the North Country", "Masters of War", "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall" and "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right".
The Times They Are a-Changin' is the third studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on January 13, 1964 by Columbia Records. Whereas his previous albums Bob Dylan and The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan consisted of original material among cover songs, Dylan's third album was the first to feature only original compositions. The album consists mostly of stark, sparsely arranged ballads concerning issues such as racism, poverty, and social change. The title track is one of Dylan's most famous; many feel that it captures the spirit of social and political upheaval that characterized the 1960s.
Time Out of Mind is the 30th studio album by American musician Bob Dylan, released on September 30, 1997, through Columbia Records. It was released as a single CD as well as a double studio album on vinyl, his first since Self Portrait in 1970.
"Like a Rolling Stone" is a song by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on July 20, 1965 by Columbia Records. Its confrontational lyrics originated in an extended piece of verse Dylan wrote in June 1965, when he returned exhausted from a grueling tour of England. Dylan distilled this draft into four verses and a chorus. "Like a Rolling Stone" was recorded a few weeks later as part of the sessions for the forthcoming album Highway 61 Revisited.
Victoria Regina Spivey, sometimes known as Queen Victoria, was an American blues singer and songwriter. During a recording career that spanned 40 years, from 1926 to the mid-1960s, she worked with Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Clarence Williams, Luis Russell, Lonnie Johnson, and Bob Dylan. She also performed in vaudeville and clubs, sometimes with her sister Addie "Sweet Peas" Spivey (1910–1943), also known as the Za Zu Girl. Among her compositions are "Black Snake Blues" (1926), "Dope Head Blues" (1927), and "Organ Grinder Blues" (1928). In 1962 she co-founded Spivey Records.
"Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" is a song written and performed by Bob Dylan. It was originally recorded on August 2, 1965, and released on the album Highway 61 Revisited. The song was later released on the compilation album Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Vol. II and as two separate live versions recorded at concerts in 1966: the first of which appeared on the B-side of Dylan's "I Want You" single, with the second being released on The Bootleg Series Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live 1966, The "Royal Albert Hall" Concert. The song has been covered by many artists, including Gordon Lightfoot, Nina Simone, Barry McGuire, Judy Collins, Frankie Miller, Linda Ronstadt, the Grateful Dead, Neil Young, The Black Crowes, Townes Van Zandt, and Bryan Ferry. Lightfoot's version was recorded only weeks after Dylan's original had been released and reached #3 on the Canadian RPM singles chart.
"Ballad of Hollis Brown" is a folk song written by Bob Dylan, released in 1964 on his third album The Times They Are A-Changin'. The song tells the story of a South Dakota farmer who, overwhelmed by the desperation of poverty, kills his wife, children and then himself.
"Black Crow Blues" is a song written by Bob Dylan, released on his 1964 album Another Side of Bob Dylan.
"Changing of the Guards" is a song written by Bob Dylan, released in 1978 as a single and as the first track on his album Street-Legal. As a single it failed to reach the Billboard Top 100. However, the song has been included on compilation albums: Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Volume 3, released in 1994, and the Deluxe Edition of Dylan, released in 2007.
Robert Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, author and visual artist. Often regarded as one of the greatest songwriters of all time, Dylan has been a major figure in popular culture during a career spanning nearly 60 years. 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 and anti-war movements. His lyrics during this period incorporated a range of political, social, philosophical, and literary influences, defying pop music conventions and appealing to the burgeoning counterculture.
"Pledging My Time" is a blues song written and recorded by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan for his 1966 album Blonde on Blonde. The song was recorded on March 8, 1966, in Nashville, Tennessee, with veteran Nashville musicians and Canadian guitarist Robbie Robertson. "Pledging My Time" was released the next month by Columbia Records as the B-side of the single "Rainy Day Women#12 & 35", a hit record in both the United States and Great Britain. The two songs also led off Blonde on Blonde, which was officially released on May 16, 1966, and today is considered among the best albums of all time.
Michael Gray is a British author who has written extensively about Bob Dylan and popular music.
Colin Larkin is a British writer and entrepreneur. He founded, and was the editor-in-chief of, the Encyclopedia of Popular Music, described by The Times as "the standard against which all others must be judged".
Dennis Edward Freeman was an American Texas and electric blues guitarist. Although he is primarily known as a guitar player, Freeman also played piano and electronic organ, both in concert and on various recordings. He worked with Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmie Vaughan, Bob Dylan, Angela Strehli, Lou Ann Barton, James Cotton, Taj Mahal, Barry Goldberg and Percy Sledge amongst others.
"Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues", also known as "Talkin' John Birch Society Blues" and "Talkin' John Birch Blues", is a protest song and talking blues song written by singer-songwriter Bob Dylan in 1962. It is a satirical song, in which a paranoid narrator is convinced that communists, or "Reds" as he calls them, are infiltrating the country. He joins the John Birch Society, an anti-communist group, and begins searching for Reds everywhere. The narrator decries Betsy Ross as a communist and four U.S. Presidents as Russian spies, while lauding Adolf Hitler and George Lincoln Rockwell. After exhausting the possibilities of new places to find communists, he begins to investigate himself.
Gil Turner was an American folk singer-songwriter, magazine editor, Shakespearean actor, political activist, and for a time, a lay Baptist preacher. Turner was a prominent figure in the Greenwich Village scene of the early 1960s, where he was master of ceremonies at New York City's leading folk music venue, Gerde's Folk City, as well as co-editor of the protest song magazine Broadside. He also wrote for Sing Out!, the quarterly folk music journal.
"Talkin' Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre Blues" is a song by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. It was written by Dylan in June 1961, and recorded on April 25, 1962, at Studio A, Columbia Recording Studios, New York, produced by John Hammond. The song was released on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1–3 1961–1991 in 1991.
"I Shall Be Free" is a song by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. It was recorded on 6 December 1962 at Studio A, Columbia Recording Studios, New York, produced by John Hammond. The song was released as the closing track on The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan on 27 May 1963, and has been viewed as a comedic counterpoint to the album's more serious material. Dylan has never performed the song in concert.