May 16: Bob Dylan released Blonde On Blonde in 1966
The closest I ever got to the sound I hear in my mind was on individual bands in the Blonde on Blonde album. It’s that thin, that wild mercury sound. It’s metallic and bright gold, with whatever that conjures up. That’s my particular sound.
~Bob Dylan (to Ron Rosenbaum – Nov 1977)
Blonde on Blonde is all resonance. The songs and their stories and evocative lines and seductive melodies inhabit a realm of sound unique to this album, different from anything created before or since by Dylan or anyone else. Dylan called it “that thin, that wild mercury sound-metallic and bright gold, with whatever that conjures up.”
~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan Performing Artist I: The Early Years 1960-1973)
To have followed up one masterpiece with another was Dylan’s history making achievement here…Where Highway 61 Revisited has Dylan exposing and confronting like a laser beam in surgery, descending from outside the sickness, Blonde on Blonde offers a persona awash inside the chaos…We’re tossed from song to song…The feel and the music are on a grand scale, and the language and delivery are a rich mixture of the visionary and the colloquial.
~Michael Gray (Song & Dance Man III: The Art of Bob Dylan)
JW: John Wesley Harding – why did you call the album that?
BD: We… I called it that because I had that song John Wesley Harding. It didn’t mean anything to me. I called it that, Jann, ‘cause I had the song John Wesley Harding, which started out to be a long ballad. I was gonna write a ballad on… Like maybe one of those old cowboy… You know, a real long ballad. But in the middle of the second verse, I got
tired. I had a tune, and I didn’t want to waste the tune, it was a nice little melody, so I just wrote a quick third verse, and I recorded that. But it was a silly little song….
~Bob Dylan to Jann Wenner November 29, 1969
This quiet masterpiece, which manages to sound both authoritative and tentative (a mix that gave it a highly contemporary feel), is neither a rock nor a folk album—and certainly isn’t folk-rock. It isn’t categorisable at all.
~Michael Gray (The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia)
47 years ago Bob Dylan entered Columbia Studio A, Nashville Tennessee tempting his third (and final) recording session for “John Wesley Harding”.
May 14: Legendary producer the late great Bob Johnston was born in 1932
“Is it rolling, Bob?” – Bob Dylan at the beginning of To Be Alone With You (Nashville Skyline)
“Johnston had fire in his eyes. He had that thing that some people call ‘Momentum.’ You could see it in his face and he shared that fire, that spirit. Columbia’s leading folk and country producer, he was born one hundred years too late. He should have been wearing a wide cape, a plumed hat, and riding with his sword held high. Johnston disregarded any warning that might get in his way. … Johnston lived on low country barbecue, and he was all charm.”
– Bob Dylan, Chronicles: Volume One
“I had the best in the world in my hand – there was no place I couldn’t go with him, so that’s where I went. I think Blonde On Blonde is the best record Dylan ever cut… Blonde On Blonde was the first symphony cut in Nashville!” – Bob Johnston (Uncut magazine)
Donald William ‘Bob’ Johnston (born May 14, 1932, Hillsboro, Texas, died August 14, 2015) was an American record producer, best known for his work with Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen, and Simon and Garfunkel.