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On the Cover: Bob Dylan's Lost Years

Get a first look at the new issue of Rolling Stone

August 28, 2013 7:00 AM ET
Bob Dylan 1191 2013 cover
Bob Dylan on the cover of Rolling Stone.
The Estate of David Gahr

Bob Dylan's 1970 album Self Portrait was so derided upon its initial release that Rolling Stone critic Greil Marcus opened his review with a simple question: "What is this shit?" Now, 43 years later, Rolling Stone is revisiting the time period around Self Portait — and some of Dylan's most misunderstood music ever — with a cover story by Mikal Gilmore probing why Dylan burned down his career at the peak of his fame to save himself.

Hear Bob Dylan's Lost 1970 Gem "Pretty Saro"

With the help of Dylan's new box set Another Self Portrait — which presents raw, unvarnished tapes from the Self Portrait sessions — Gilmore traces Dylan's creative journey from his motorcycle accident in 1966 through his return to the pop charts in 1973 with "Knockin' On Heaven's Door." 

Focusing on the largely untold story of Self Portrait's creation, the cover story features new interviews with Dylan collaborators Al Kooper, David Crosby, Roger McGuinn, David Bromberg and Happy Traum. "I thought it was strange, strange, strange," says Kooper of Self Portrait, which consists mainly of cover songs. "Why is the Shakespeare of songwriting doing other people's songs? And why is he doing all these old folk songs? What's going on?"

Look for the issue on stands and in the iTunes App Store this Friday, August 30th. 

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

More Song Stories entries »
 
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