DVD review::Bob Dylan – The Golden Years 1962-1978

I recently sat down with the new Bob Dylan: The Golden Years 1962-1978 2 DVD set. The Golden Years cover Dylan from his school days to the later seventies on the cusp of his christian period. The following are some insights and synopsis of the material.

Bob Dylan is undoubtedly the poet laureate of popular music. He has always been an artist without limits and an everchanging icon. The first dvd shows interviews with a high school teacher of his who introduced him to poetry. We also get to hear from some old friends of his and members of his high school band which he formed in 1956. We see the transformation of Dylan as he is initially influenced by Little Richard, then Leadbelly, and finally Woody Guthrie who had the most profound effect on Dylan. Dylan arrived in New York in 1961 and soaked up everything in the city real quick. New York is where Dylan really came to develop his own identity as a singer. Amazingly enough, between February and November of ’61, he crafted a repertoire of over one hundred songs.

The second dvd begins in 1967, the year Dylan disappeared from public view. In essence, this year is one of Dylan’s most creative, because it resulted in both The Basement Tapes and John Wesley Harding. This dvd has some nice footage of Dylan and Cash doing Girl from North Country. We also see Dylan releasing Nashville Skyline in this period, which was critical in making country music cool. In 1969, Dylan appears at the Isle of Wight festival, unveiling new material. Then, we see Dylan mock everyone with his release of Self Portrait.

Perhaps, the most entertaing part of this set is the discussion with obsessed fan and Dylanologist AJ Weberman. Weberman would routinely go through Dylan’s trash and intrude on Dylan’s life, which resulted in Bob kicking his butt at one point. There is a lot of good footage and discussion here, especially in the second dvd. Overall, The Golden Years is an entertaining look at the icon, made for both the Dylan novice and the experienced.

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