Newport And Judas
At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, Dylan went electric. The change from acoustic to the harder, edgier sound irked many fans, none more than folk icon Pete Seeger. Seeger said if he had an axe he would've used it to cut the electricity during Dylan's set. In 1966 Dylan toured with The Hawks (later known as The Band) and played acoustic and electric sets. During a May 1966 Manchester gig a fan yelled "Judas!" at Dylan for going electric. "Play it f--king loud!" Dylan said to the band in response before launching into "Like A Rolling Stone".
Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash Sing About A Northern Girl
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When Johnny Cash died, Bob Dylan issued a statement saying Cash's "I Walk The Line" sounded "like a voice from the middle of the earth." The duo recorded a few songs together including "Girl From The North Country" with a younger (nasal-free) Dylan in awe of the "Man In Black." Dylan also praised Cash for speaking out in support of him when he went "electric" in the mid-'60s. The musicians also jammed together occasionally through the years, including a famed 1969 Nashville session featuring "Ring Of Fire" and "That's Alright Mama" which has since been bootlegged.
But I'm Bob Dylan!
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In October 2001 Bob Dylan demanded tighter security around his concerts. One of his requirements was that nobody was allowed backstage without a pass. According to Billboard, when Dylan entered the venue to perform, three security guards denied him access as he had no backstage pass. A brief argument ensued before the problem was resolved and Dylan was allowed to play at his own concert. The venue's manager said the three security guards -- who obviously didn't recognize Dylan -- did a great job in denying the musician entry.
Pacificism, Drugs Excess
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Earlier this year Dylan was nominated for France's Legion D'Honneur for his work. However some in French political circles were averse to Dylan getting the honour. The Legion's Grand Chancellor, Jean-Louis Georgelin was quoted by France24.com last May as saying Dylan shouldn't get the award due to an "excess of pacificism and an excess of drugs." Years earlier the musician was made a Knight of Arts and Letters by the country for his work. (Pictured: Bob Dylan receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in 2012.)
Street Rock Rap
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Bob Dylan on a rap album? Yes. In the mid '80s Dylan worked with rapper Kurtis Blow on the hip-hop artist's album Kingdom Blow and created an intro for the song "Street Rock." In his memoir Chronicles, Volume 1, Dylan revealed Blow turned him onto rap. "These guys weren't standing around bulls--tting," Dylan said of the early rappers. "They were beating drums, tearing it up, hurling horses over cliffs." Dylan had instant credibility among rappers for one of his earliest songs "Subterranean Homesick Blues."
Sign Language Interpreter
While it's still almost an exception in the concert industry, Bob Dylan was one of the first to welcome the hearing impaired to his gigs. Dylan's Never Ending Tour has seen him occasionally hire a sign language interpreter, a request artists in the U.S. must adhere to when asked for under the Americans With Disabilities Act. In an 2011 interview with the blog HereAndNow, signer Aaron Malgeri said a deaf fan at a Dylan show told Malgeri he would be the only one "who is going to know what Bob Dylan is saying" given his notorious vocal delivery.
BBC Films/Keystone Press
In 2003, Dylan became an odd casting choice for Masked And Anonymous when acclaimed television producer/writer Larry Charles (Seinfeld, Mad About You) had the singer portray a down-on-his-luck musician. Dylan and Charles co-wrote the film with Dylan starring as Jack Fate. Although he did perform material from Time Out Of Mind, the film itself was a flop. The late film critic Roger Ebert gave it a half-star, deeming it a "vanity production beyond all reason" while globally the film grossed less than $550,000. The film also starred Jessica Lange, Jeff Bridges and Penelope Cruz.
1998 Grammys A Bomb
While performing "Love Sick" at the 1998 Grammys, Bob Dylan was approached by a bare-chested performance artist named Michael Portenoy. Portenoy, who was one of the extras dancing to the song, emerged with the words "Soy Bomb" written on his chest and began dancing spastically. The stunt even caused Dylan and his band to look clearly befuddled. Security quickly intervened and removed Portenoy as Dylan's band cracked smiles. "Bob Dylan is the past, and I'm the future of music," Portenoy told the New York Daily News.
In a 1965 interview, Dylan said the only product that might cause him to "sell out" would be ladies undergarments. In 2004 Dylan shocked many when he and his song "Love Sick" ended up in a Victoria's Secret ad. "The thing with Bob is no matter how outlandish an idea, you put it in front of him, because you have no idea what he's going to do," music critic Alan Light told USA Today at the time. The ad -- which definitely resulted in a great deal of attention -- showed Dylan with a sexy model, a pairing that seemed to create some sexual tension.
Dharma And Bob
In 1999, Bob Dylan was one of a handful of musicians who performed on the sitcom Dharma and Greg. In the episode Dharma is shown playing drums while Dylan and others jam to the ambling tune. "Yeah!" Dylan exclaims before Dharma (played by Jenna Elfman) shouts "Cool!" "That was amazing and terrifying because I had never played drums outside my house, and I think I'd only been playing drums for six months!" Elfman told TV.com in an interview. Elfman also said the scene was entirely unscripted with Dylan on the set for about two hours.
Bob Dylan's trek to Winnipeg in November 2008 fortunuately didn't result in an arrest. While on tour Dylan and a pal showed up at the home of Neil Young in the 1960s. The Winnipeg Free Press reported the homeowners went out to speak to the duo and then invited them inside. It was minutes into the chat when owner John Kiernan realized it was Dylan. The singer was invited to tour the house for about 20 minutes, including the second-floor bedroom Young grew up in. "So this is where Neil would have listened to his music," Dylan said.
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In 2011 Bob Dylan clarified some issues regarding a tour of China he embarked on earlier and another he allegedly cancelled. The lengthy statement posted on his site acknowledged he was never denied entry into the country and originally had no intention of playing China. The Chinese dates were promoted with photos of him with "Joan Baez, Che Guevera, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg." The singer also said the Chinese government asked for the names of the songs he would be performing. "There's no logical answer to that...." Dylan said.
Not All There?
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One of the stranger Bob Dylan moments didn't even involve him directly. In 2007, the film I'm Not There took six different eras of his career, each portrayed by a different actor (including Cate Blanchett as a '60s era Dylan). Christian Bale and Richard Gere were also involved in the flick directed by Todd Haynes. Reviews of the rather challenging motion picture were favourable. "He's like a flame," Haynes said of Dylan. "If you try to hold him in your hand you'll surely get burned." As for Bob, he told Rolling Stone he thought it was "all right."
In early 1988, Bob Dylan transformed into Lucky Wilbury, the alias used as one of the five members behind supergroup The Traveling Wilburys. The group -- consisting of Dylan, George Harrison, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne and Roy Orbison -- released Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 with its hit single "Handle With Care." The death of Orbison on Dec. 6, 1988 was huge but they released a sophomore album entitled Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3. Dylan -- who also went under the name Boo Wilbury for Vol. 3 -- was the lead singer for "Tweeter And The Monkey Man."
On Dylan and Blitzen!
Born Jewish and later interested in Christianity, Bob Dylan shocked many by releasing a Christmas album called Christmas In The Heart back in 2009. Dylan even made a video for the song "Must Be Santa" which showed him wearing a grey wig and ended with him and Santa Claus. The singer had some fun with the project as the producer was known as Jack Frost. The record also had some positive results with album royalties going towards food charities including Feeding America, a program used to help feed the poor, homeless and children.