Everyone in my generation remembers where they were when they heard the news of JFK’s assassination. I was at school with friends listening to ‘The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan’. It was Dylan’s second album but the first we had heard and it meant more to us then, and now, than the killing of the President. A lot of people in those days revered Dylan as a man with a message, a protest singer, but he’s said all along that he’s only there to entertain and this is what he’s done throughout the subsequent decades. I’m one of those who has gone on to buy everything he has released and if the truth be told some of it has been dire, but this hasn’t mattered in the least because we knew another gem would be just around the corner, and so it has proved, right up to the present day. Strangely, out of the hundreds of tracks he has recorded some of the best are out-takes or unpublished material which was later released on “official bootleg” or Biograph albums. If I was to choose his three best records I would plump for Angelina, Abandoned Love and the acoustic version of Idiot Wind, none of which were released until many years after they were recorded.
It seems a little weird to think that the music we were listening to in 1963 resonates as strongly now as it did then. We are all growing old together, and that feels good.