Tune in tonight at 7pm Atlantic for Tonight’s Listening Party Album: Highway 61 Revisited
(6pm Eastern, 5pm Central, 3pm Pacific, 11pm London, 10am Sydney)
Highway 61 Revisited is the sixth studio album by the American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on August 30, 1965 by Columbia Records. Having until then recorded mostly acoustic music, Dylan used rock musicians as his backing band on every track of the album, except for the closing 11-minute ballad, “Desolation Row”. Critics have focused on the innovative way in which Dylan combined driving, blues-based music with the subtlety of poetry to create songs that captured the political and cultural chaos of contemporary America. Author Michael Gray has argued that in an important sense the 1960s “started” with this album.
Leading with the hit single “Like a Rolling Stone”, the album features songs that Dylan has continued to perform live over his long career, including “Ballad of a Thin Man” and “Highway 61 Revisited”. He named the album after the major American highway which connected his birthplace, Duluth, Minnesota, to southern cities famed for their musical heritage, including St. Louis, Memphis, New Orleans, and the Delta blues area of Mississippi.
Highway 61 Revisited peaked at No. 3 in the United States charts and No. 4 in the United Kingdom. The album was ranked No. 4 on Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time”. “Like a Rolling Stone” was a top-10 hit in several countries, and was listed at No. 1 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list. Two other songs, “Desolation Row” and “Highway 61 Revisited”, were listed at No. 187 and No. 373 respectively.
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