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Trivia / Bob Dylan

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  • Breakaway Pop Hit: "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" from Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.
  • Breakthrough Hit: "Blowin' in the Wind".
  • Creator Backlash: Dylan has apologized for "Ballad in Plain D", a one-sided document of the disintegration of his relationship with Suze Rotolo. He was quoted in 1985 as saying " I look back at that particular one and say, of all the songs I've written, maybe I could have left that alone." Rotolo claimed she never felt hurt by the song, and said that she understood that Dylan was channeling his emotions into his music. Her sister Carla, on the other hand, quite understandably never forgave Dylan for calling her a "parasite" in the lyrics which also accused her of sabotaging the relationship. One critic compared listening to the song to reading someone else's private mail.
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  • Creator-Preferred Adaptation: He loved Jimi Hendrix's version of "All Along the Watchtower" and has often said that it improved on his own version. Following Hendrix's death Dylan started to perform the song in Hendrix's style as a tribute.
  • Creator Recovery:
    • After his 1966 motorcycle accident he settled into married life and fatherhood, and his next few albums featured a less Word Salad-ish lyrical style, musical Revisiting the Roots (back to folk and country), and quite a few Silly Love Songs.
    • Averted with his albums after his Christian conversion. If anything his lyrics became more strident.
  • Creator's Favorite Episode: He's cited Blonde on Blonde as the album he's most proud of. Judging from his latter-day concert setlists, he also holds Highway 61 Revisited in high regard—"Tombstone Blues" (last played in 2006) and "From a Buick 6" (only played twice in 1965) are the only songs he hasn't played live in the last decade.
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  • Everybody Must Get Stoned: Trope Namer.
  • Fan Community Nickname: Bobcats, though some fans feel like it's a Forced Meme.
  • Fan Nickname:
    • Not universal, but His Bobness is thrown around by fans a bit.
    • Attempts to divine meaning from Dylan's Word Salad Lyrics are sometimes referred to as "the Bobbalah."
    • Some of his past tours have acquired unoffical fan nicknames, like the Alimony Tournote  in 1978 and the Musical Retrospective Tournote  in 1980.
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    • Fans regularly refer to his regular touring since 1988 as the Never Ending Tour, which was originally something Dylan said in an interview but later lampshaded:
    Bob Dylan: Don't be bewildered by the Never Ending Tour chatter. There was a Never Ending Tour but it ended in 1991 with the departure of guitarist G. E. Smith. That one's long gone but there have been many others since then: "The Money Never Runs Out Tour" (Fall of 1991) "Southern Sympathizer Tour" (Early 1992) "Why Do You Look At Me So Strangely Tour" (European Tour 1992) "The One Sad Cry Of Pity Tour" (Australia & West Coast American Tour 1992) "Outburst Of Consciousness Tour" (1992) "Don't Let Your Deal Go Down Tour" (1993) and others, too many to mention each with their own character & design.
  • Hitless Hit Album: John Wesley Harding, Self Portrait, New Morning, Planet Waves, Time Out of Mind, "Love and Theft", Modern Times, Together Through Life, Tempest and Rough and Rowdy Ways all made the Top Ten in the US without a Top 40 hit single.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: To the extent where the 1969 release Great White Wonder is considered the Trope Codifier for unauthorized bootleg albums. Dylan was also (along with Frank Zappa) among the first artists to acknowledge the demand for unreleased music by releasing official versions of songs that hade been bootlegged for years. Still, even with eleven (and counting) volumes of the official Bootleg Series, there are still scores of unreleased songs, one out-of-print album (Dylan) and literally thousands of live recordings.
  • Meaningful Release Date: Tempest hitting the streets on September 11, 2012 was seemingly a nod to "Love and Theft" having infamously been released on 9/11/01. Coincidentally, Under The Red Sky was also issued on September 11 (way back in 1990, though).
  • Name's the Same: There was a Green Bay Packers defensive back named Bobby Dillon in the 1950s. There was also silent-era film director Robert Dillon, and a different Robert Dillon who was a screenwriter (Prime Cut, French Connection II). When a mutual acquantaince introduced Dylan to Robert Altman, Atlman wasn't familiar with Dylan or his work and mistook him for the screenwriter.
  • Old Shame: The panned movie Hearts of Fire, which he starred in. He's done everything possible to keep it unmentioned in his official biographies. Even his official song database omits one of the songs he did for the film and the other two are listed without mentioning the soundtrack.
  • Reclusive Artist: While he still plays nearly 100 concerts a year, he rarely does interviewsnote  and is known for keeping his recording sessions top secret, only announcing new albums on short notice before they're released. He's played out the more literal version of this trope from time-to-time as well, taking breaks from his work.
  • Trolling Creator: Arguably one of this trope's main codifiers.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • There was talk of Dylan recording an album backed by The Byrds in 1969, which made sense since they shared a label (Columbia Records) and a producer (Bob Johnston). But Dylan seemed to lose interest in the idea quickly, and The Byrds fired Johnston after just one album.
    • Dylan and The Band spent much of the summer of 1967 in the basement of their house, fooling around with covers and original songs, and recording snippets of it on an old tape machine. The Basement Tapes, as released 8 years later, contains only a handful of the songs recorded, often with obvious overdubs, and padded with The Band originals recorded years later. A lot of fans agree that some of the songs left off are among his best ever - or at least would have been if they'd been finished. It took until 2014 and the release of vol 11 of the Bootleg Series for most of the songs to see daylight.
    • Similarly, from 1974 (Blood on the Tracks) onward, Dylan has frequently second-guessed his studio performances, leaving off songs or performances from his studio albums that fans, critics, producers and backup musicians consider far better than what ended up on the album. Some of the more obvious examples include "Blind Willie McTell", "Mississippi", "Caribbean Wind", "Abandoned Love" and "Series of Dreams". A lot of these have since ended up on the various Bootleg Series releases.
    • He was asked to play at the Monterey Pop Festival, but he was still recovering from his motorcycle accident the previous year. Jimi Hendrix paid tribute to him by covering "Like a Rolling Stone".
    • Could Dylan have played Woodstock in 1969? The organizers asked him, expecting he'd say no, and while he seemed negative about the idea (mainly fearing for his safety) he didn't formally say no. A few days before the festival he told an associate that he was still considering it. He was ultimately a no-show, but two weeks later appeared at Woodstock's Transatlantic Equivalent on The Isle of Wight, suggesting that money may have been the issue all along. He did play Woodstock '94 and the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts on the original site in 2000s (with jokey stage banter implying that he'd played there in '69 after all).
      • Woodstock's location was chosen because it was near where Dylan was living at the time. When Dylan returned from Europe, he was angry about hippies lingering around his house days after the festival had been completed.
    • He was reportedly Warren Beatty's first choice to play Clyde Barrow in Bonnie and Clyde before Beatty decided to star as well as produce. Dylan recently confirmed this but suggested that Albert Grossman didn't pass along the offer to him because they were on poor terms at the time. There's still a Dylan presence in the final film: Michael J. Pollard based C.W. Moss' voice on Dylan's.
  • Working Title: Blonde on Blonde boasts such classic tunes as "A Long-Haired Mule and a Porcupine Here", "What You Can Do For Your Wigwam" and "Seems Like a Freeze-Out"...or, as they ended up becoming, "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35", "Pledging My Time" and "Visions of Johanna".
  • Writing by the Seat of Your Pants: He's gone both ways with this when it comes to songwriting. For many of his albums he arrived at the studio with the songs already written in advance. For Blonde on Blonde he wrote a good deal of it in the studio, leaving the musicians to jam or play cards while they waited ("Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands" was recorded with the ink still drying on the lyrics). Nashville Skyline was also largely written during the recording sessions.


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