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Relive Bob Dylan’s Legendary Rolling Thunder Revue With Rare Photos

See Ken Regan’s intimate images from storied 1975 gypsy-caravan tour

Bob Dylan; Never Before Seen Photos; Rolling Thunder Tour; Ken Regan

Ken Regan's photos take you backstage and behind the scenes during Bob Dylan's legendary 1975 Rolling Thunder Revue tour.

Ken Regan

Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue of 1975 was unlike any other tour in rock history. His newest album at the time was Blood on the Tracks, and he could have easily packed arenas all over the country, but he opted to play a series of tiny theaters with old friends Joan Baez, Ramblin' Jack Elliott and Roger McGuinn with virtually no advance notice. At the same time, Dylan was filming his surreal movie Renaldo and Clara with many of the performers on the tour along with his wife Sara and Allen Ginsberg.

Along for the wild ride was the late photographer Ken Regan, who shot over 14,000 images. Only a tiny portion of them have ever been seen by the public, but selections from his archives can be seen in the new book Rolling Thunder: Photographs by Ken Regan, which you can buy right here. Here's a look at some incredible photos from Regan's collection. 

Bob Dylan; Never Before Seen Photos; Rolling Thunder Tour; Ken Regan

Ken Regan

Playback at Bette Midler Session

Bob Dylan and Bette Midler recorded a duet on the Blood on the Tracks tune "Buckets of Rain" in October of 1975. He wanted her to take part in the Rolling Thunder Revue, but she didn't wind up signing up for the crazy trip. 

Bob Dylan; Never Before Seen Photos; Rolling Thunder Tour; Ken Regan

Ken Regan

With Patti Smith at a Greenwich Village Party

Shortly before launching the Rolling Thunder Revue, Bob Dylan began hanging out in Greenwich Village clubs. He met Patti Smith and they formed a tight bond that lasted for decades. 

Bob Dylan; Never Before Seen Photos; Rolling Thunder Tour; Ken Regan

Ken Regan

Approving the Rolling Thunder Flyer

Original posters and flyers from the Rolling Thunder Revue are now highly collectible. Here's Dylan approving one of them. 

Bob Dylan; Never Before Seen Photos; Rolling Thunder Tour; Ken Regan

Ken Regan

With Bette Midler at New York’s Secret Sound Studios

Midler's "Buckets of Rain" cover appeared on her 1976 LP, Songs for the New Depression. 

Bob Dylan; Never Before Seen Photos; Rolling Thunder Tour; Ken Regan

Ken Regan

Simple Dressing Room for the Star

The backstage accommodations at the theaters on the Rolling Thunder Revue were a far cry from what Dylan experienced on his 1974 arena and stadium tour with the Band. 

Bob Dylan; Never Before Seen Photos; Rolling Thunder Tour; Ken Regan

Ken Regan

Dylan Onstage

The Rolling Thunder Revue set list mixed in Sixties folk-era classics like "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" and "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll" with newer songs like "Tangled Up in Blue" and "Romance in Durango."

Bob Dylan; Never Before Seen Photos; Rolling Thunder Tour; Ken Regan

Ken Regan

Bob Dylan Backstage Wearing a Mask

Dylan often wore masks and face paint during the Rolling Thunder Revue period. The disguises tied into the complex plot of Renaldo and Clara, though at the time they merely confused many in Dylan's orbit. 

Bob Dylan; Never Before Seen Photos; Rolling Thunder Tour; Ken Regan

Ken Regan

Bob Dylan Meeting “Hurricane” Carter

Shortly before launching the Rolling Thunder Revue, Dylan became aware of the plight of boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, who was in prison for a murder he claimed he didn't commit.

Bob Dylan; Never Before Seen Photos; Rolling Thunder Tour; Ken Regan

Ken Regan

Bob Dylan With “Hurricane” Carter Shirt

Every night on the Rolling Thunder Revue, Bob Dylan sang a passionate rendition of "Hurricane" and implored the crowd to lobby for the release of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, whom Dylan said was racially profiled and unlawfully tried and convicted. 

Bob Dylan; Never Before Seen Photos; Rolling Thunder Tour; Ken Regan

Ken Regan

Food at the Breakers in Newport

For many on the Rolling Thunder Revue, the tour doubled as a nonstop party. Here, Dylan and friends enjoy some downtime in Newport, Rhode Island.

Bob Dylan; Never Before Seen Photos; Rolling Thunder Tour; Ken Regan

Ken Regan

Dylan and Allen Ginsberg Visit Jack Kerouac’s Grave

In one of the most memorable scenes from Renaldo and Clara, Dylan and Allen Ginsberg visit Jack Kerouac's grave.

Bob Dylan; Never Before Seen Photos; Rolling Thunder Tour; Ken Regan

Ken Regan

Lunch at the Dream Away Lodge

The day after playing the Springfield Civic Center, Bob Dylan and the Rolling Thunder gang visited Mama Frasca's Dream Away Lodge in Becket, Massachusetts.

Bob Dylan; Never Before Seen Photos; Rolling Thunder Tour; Ken Regan

Ken Regan

Bob With a Beagle

The hat Dylan is wearing in this photo appears on the cover of Desire. The story behind the beagle remains a mystery. 

Bob Dylan; Never Before Seen Photos; Rolling Thunder Tour; Ken Regan

Ken Regan

Duet with Ronee Blakley at the Other End Club

The New York folk haunt the Other End became a key hangout for Dylan in the weeks leading up to Rolling Thunder. Here he is at the club with Ronee Blakley.

Bob Dylan; Never Before Seen Photos; Rolling Thunder Tour; Ken Regan

Ken Regan

Reading ‘Crystal Magick’ at New York Rehearsal

Dylan reads the incredibly obscure 1968 New Age book Crystal Magick by Carlyle A. Pushong. 

Bob Dylan; Never Before Seen Photos; Rolling Thunder Tour; Ken Regan

Ken Regan

Backstage With Bucket

The purpose behind Dylan's makeup has never been fully explained, though there are heavy rumors that the Dylan camp was prepping an extensive documentary of the tour. Such a film might shed light on some of Rolling Thunder's enduring mysteries. 

In This Article: Bob Dylan

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