Bob Dylan 1965: Evolving to Electric

This ad appeared in the April 10, 1965 issue of Record World On the second day of Spring 1965, Bob Dylan released his fifth studio album, Bringing It All Back Home . An ad from Columbia Records in the April 10 issue of music industry trade magazine Record World touted the LP’s first single, “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” which had been released on March 8: “Bob has the fastest-breaking single you’ve ever seen,” it said. “Check the charts and watch it climb higher every week!” Record label hype aside, the song had a modest jump that week from #77 to #69. And though it would stall on the RW chart a few weeks’ later at #53, it reached #39 on rival Billboard ‘s Hot 100, thus becoming the first Dylan single to chart. The ad’s headline–No One Sings Dylan Like Dylan!–perhaps referred to the success that Peter, Paul and Mary had with their cover of his “Blowin’ in the Wind,” which reached #2 in 1963. (Dylan’s original, from The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan , had failed to chart.) As Columbia’s legendary talent scout, John Hammond, recalled in this 1972 Record World interview , “I must say that his first records didn’t sell all that much, but he got an awful lot of attention.” Unlike Dylan’s previous efforts that he had performed solo, Bringing It All Back Home had the singer-songwriter backed by a band. Side one, which also features “Maggie’s Farm” and “Outlaw Blues” among its seven tracks, is performed electrically. Side two’s acoustic numbers include “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” and “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue.” Watch film director D.A. Pennebaker’s iconic clip for Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” featuring renowned poet Allen Ginsberg standing off to Dylan’s left On April 12, just two days after […]

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