Personnel: Bob Dylan (vocals, guitar, harmonica, piano); Michael Bloomfield Charlie McCoy (guitar); Al Kooper, Paul Griffin (piano, organ); Frank Owens (piano); Harvey Goldstein, Russ Savakus (bass); Bobby Gregg (drums).
Engineers include: Peter Dauria, Roy Halee, Frank Laico.
Recorded in Columbia Studios, New York, New York in June-August 1965.
Includes liner notes by Bob Dylan.
Taking the first, electric side of Bringing It All Back Home to its logical conclusion, Bob Dylan hired a full rock & roll band, featuring guitarist Michael Bloomfield, for Highway 61 Revisited. Opening with the epic "Like a Rolling Stone," Highway 61 Revisited careens through nine songs that range from reflective folk-rock ("Desolation Row") and blues ("It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry") to flat-out garage rock ("Tombstone Blues," "From a Buick 6," "Highway 61 Revisited"). Dylan had not only changed his sound, but his persona, trading the folk troubadour for a streetwise, cynical hipster. Throughout the album, he embraces druggy, surreal imagery, which can either have a sense of menace or beauty, and the music reflects that, jumping between soothing melodies to hard, bluesy rock. And that is the most revolutionary thing about Highway 61 Revisited -- it proved that rock & roll needn't be collegiate and tame in order to be literate, poetic, and complex. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Bob Dylan's force was evident during his peak popularity in the '60s, but his influence echoed throughout subsequent generations. Many of his songs became popular standards, and his best albums are undisputed classics. He marks a pivotal turning point in the 20th century evolution of folk music, when the genre moved away from traditional songs. As a songwriter, he pioneered several different schools, from confessional singer/songwriter to stream-of-conscious narratives. As a vocalist, he broke down the notion that a singer had to have a conventionally good voice in order to perform. As a musician, he sparked several genres, including electrified folk-rock and country-rock. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Rolling Stone (12/11/03, p.88) - Ranked #4 in Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums Of All Time" - "...One of those albums that, quite simply, changed everything..."
Q (7/01, p.45) - "...Dylan is in stinging form..."
Q (Magazine) (p.110) - "[A] dizzying rush of moody disquiet, surreal imagery and freakshow characters culminate in the mighty 'Desolation Row.'"
NME (Magazine) (10/2/93, p.29) - Ranked #14 in NME's list of the "Greatest Albums Of All Time."