Few people expected Dylan to release a classic album in 1997. His last undisputed masterpiece was more than 20 years in the past, and he hadn't even tried to record anything new in seven years. Around that time, however, Dylan found himself writing bits and pieces down of new songs. "It was starting to pile up," he told Rolling Stone in 2001. "I thought, 'Well, I got all this – maybe, I'll try to record it.' I'd had good luck with Daniel Lanois [producer of the 1989 album Oh Mercy], so I called him and showed him a lot of the songs."
The resulting record, Time Out Of Mind, won a Grammy for Album of the Year. Everybody seems to love it, except for Dylan. "I feel we were lucky to get that record," Dylan said in 2001. "I didn't go into it with the idea that this was going to be a finished album. It got off the tracks more than a few times, and people got frustrated. I know I did. I know Lanois did…I felt extremely frustrated, because I couldn't get any of the up-tempo songs that I wanted." It was no surprise than Dylan's next three records were self-produced.
Dylan has no specific plans for his 70th birthday on May 24th. He wrapped up a leg of the Never Ending Tour in Auckland, New Zealand on April 30th and won't be seen again until it picks up again June 16th in Cork, Ireland. For those that care, the last song he will likely sing in public while still in his 60s was, appropriately enough, "Forever Young."
• Bob Dylan, at 60, Unearths New Revelations
• Bob Dylan on the Cover of Rolling Stone, 1969-2011
• Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time: Bob Dylan's 'Time Out of Mind'
• See all of our Bob Dylan at 70 coverage here