Monday, May 04, 2009

Bob Dylan sets record to become oldest musician to have No 1 album

The following is from the London Times Online (click the title to read the entire article). My ticket arrived today for his visit here in Allentown on July 17th. This will be the fourth time he's visited me here in the Lehigh Valley since we moved here in 2000.

"Bob Dylan rewrote the record books yesterday to become the oldest musician to have a No 1 album, nearly 40 years after he last topped the charts.

The veteran singer-songwriter claimed his seventh British No 1 with Together Through Life, narrowly edging out the claim of his fellow sexagenarian Neil Diamond to be the oldest artist to scale to the summit of the chart.

Dylan, 67, last reached the top of the charts in 1970, when he had two No 1 albums, Self Portrait and New Morning. His last two attempts, Love and Theft and Modern Times, reached No 3 in 2001 and 2006 respectively.

A year ago Diamond, at 67 years and four months, became the oldest person to top the album charts with a new release, when Home After Dark, became his second British No 1. Dylan, who will turn 68 on May 24, now holds the distinction.

Together Through Life beat last week’s No 1, Lady Gaga’s The Fame, into third position, and also outsold second-placed Music for the People, the Enemy’s second album.

It is 45 years since Dylan first topped the charts, with the album that made his name, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. Pete Paphides, the Times critic, described Dylan’s new record, which is virtually guaranteed to top the US charts, as “his warmest, most unforced, set of songs in recent memory”.

Dylan has performed about a hundred shows each year since 1988, in what has come to be known as the Never Ending Tour. His ability to draw the crowds was reflected in the release of his 33rd studio album being accompanied by a series of sell-out British dates.

Mike Smith, managing director of Columbia, Dylan’s record label, said: “What’s really delightful is going round and seeing him perform live around the country and seeing so many teenagers at the shows.

“A lot of people talk about the Arctic Monkeys effect, where you see fathers and their kids at the gigs, but with Bob you get grandfathers, fathers and their sons.

“He is the greatest artist of the 20th century. His words and his artistry speak to people in a timeless way. The stuff he made in the 1960s still seems absolutely current. There are very few artists who can extend their appeal over such a long period. Unlike his contemporaries, Dylan is still out making music that is still very strong.”

Although apparently less politicised these days than he appeared to many in his early releases, the singer held forth recently on the prospects of Barack Obama.

Despite saying last year that Mr Obama was “redefining the nature of politics”, Dylan said last month that he had no idea whether Mr Obama would make a good president.

“Most of those guys come into office with the best of intentions and leave as beaten men,” he added. “You know, it’s like they all fly too close to the Sun and get burnt.”

Dylan has sold more than 100 million records but has never had a No 1 single in Britain. His highest-charting song is Like a Rolling Stone, which made it to No 4 in 1965."

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