It was 1978 when Bob Dylan, in the middle of a yearlong tour, turned to God. The singer-songwriter was exhausted, physically ill and worn down from his 1977 divorce. Toward the end of a show in San Diego, someone from the crowd tossed a small silver cross onto the stage. Dylan, who normally wasn’t fazed by fans throwing things at his concerts, spotted the religious object and placed it in his pocket. It traveled with him to Arizona for his next performance. Two days later, in a hotel room in Tucson, the Jewish artist experienced "a literal visitation from Jesus Christ." JOHNNY CASH’S SISTER SAYS THE ‘MAN IN BLACK’ GAVE 'HIS HEART BACK' TO GOD BEFORE HIS DEATH: 'THERE IS HOPE' The Nobel laureate’s born-again era is one of the many periods from his decades-long career being explored in a new book, "Bob Dylan: Mixing Up the Medicine." It features hundreds of rare photos, draft lyrics, drawings and other materials from Dylan’s archives. The book is edited by Mark Davidson and Parker Fishel of the Bob Dylan Center, based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. "Mixing Up the Medicine" refers to a line from Dylan’s 1965 classic "Subterranean Homesick Blues." "This project has been six or seven years in the making," Davidson told Fox News Digital. "One of the surprising things that we find in the early notebooks, early draft manuscripts, is how much he was forecasting his career… he’s been omnivorous about his musical tastes and knowledge since pretty much when he was a teenager." One of the periods that continues to fascinate both longtime fans and curious listeners is Dylan’s religious period. He proclaimed his faith in three albums: 1979’s "Slow Train Coming," 1980’s "Saved" and 1981’s "Shot of Love." "Dylan was on this long, grueling tour where he had this enormous orchestra just because of the number of pieces in the band alone," Fishel explained. "It’s in the double digits. They’re going all over the world. It starts in Japan and makes its way through Australia and New Zealand. Then it goes to Europe, and then it comes to North America. This moment when the crucifix is being thrown on the stage… is at the end of that." "Clearly that had been a long year for him," Fishel continued. "’Slow Train Coming’ is exactly that, the moment of him getting the crucifix, which sets in motion this… embrace of Christianity… He’s recording exclusively gospel music, but these were themes he was exploring long before that cross was thrown on the stage in San Diego. If you look at his drafts written in stationery from hotel rooms, in between or after gigs, it predates that." CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR THE ENTERTAINMENT NEWSLETTER Dylan described his vision as "a presence… that couldn’t have been anybody but Jesus," the U.K.’s Independent reported. "Jesus put his hand on me," he said, as quoted by the outlet. "It was a physical thing. I felt it. I felt it all over me. I felt my whole body tremble. The glory of the Lord knocked me down and picked me up." Fishel described this period as "a creatively fruitful time" for Dylan as he dove into a deep exploration of gospel for the next two years. "This hardcore embrace of Christianity starts to peter out," Fishel explained. "It starts to broaden, but it never disappears. All those biblical themes had been throughout Dylan’s work even from the beginning and bubbled up at different times… It becomes more complex as his work progresses." In "Precious Angel" from "Slow Train Coming," Dylan declared, "Ya either got faith or ya got unbelief / And there ain’t no neutral ground." But not everyone embraced Dylan’s public conversion with open arms. Fishel noted that many skeptical listeners didn’t hesitate to let him know they "missed the old Dylan." Loyal disciples who stood by Dylan as a folk poet, country crooner and electric rocker shunned the musical preacher. Fred Tackett, the lead guitarist in Dylan’s band from 1979 to 1981, recalled to The New York Times how one concertgoer in the front row held a sign that read, "Jesus loves your old songs." The book reveals how Tackett witnessed protests from atheist activist Madalyn O’Hair and "a guy dressed in white with… a literal full cross walking up and down in front of the theater." Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards reportedly labeled the fellow star a "prophet of profit." A critic for the San Francisco Chronicle wrote that "Dylan has written some of the most banal, uninspired and inventionless songs of his career for his Jesus phase," with the headline "Bob Dylan’s God-Awful Gospel." "If you didn’t like it then, you’re still not going to like it now," Fishel pointed out. "Amanda Petrusich, a writer from The New Yorker and a contributor to this book, wrote a great piece about where America was at the moment, why this didn’t come out of left field, and how evangelicalism was on the rise. These were all threads Dylan could pull and latch onto. But despite the fan reaction, it’s personally one of my favorite periods. It’s so rich, multilayered and dynamic. And the band he played with was one of the best he’s ever had." "And he was embraced by the evangelical audience," Fishel shared. "And for those who didn’t embrace it, Dylan toyed with that. There’s a wonderful radio commercial that Dylan created for his 1980 tour. He’s still playing gospel music exclusively. And if you didn’t know better, you would hear these random fans being interviewed who said, ‘I like the old Bob Dylan. I don’t need him doing this gospel stuff.' But in the archives, we found out that there’s a script and these were people who were tapped to read these lines about their reactions to Dylan’s show." "He’s very aware of his audience," Fishel continued. "And I think that’s part of the reason why this period is so interesting. Musically, these songs are among his most lasting. Certainly the ones from ‘Shot of Love’ are still in his set list… Some people may not be musically on board, but they’re certainly still fascinated by it." LIKE WHAT YOU’RE READING? CLICK HERE FOR MORE ENTERTAINMENT NEWS Following the release of the 1983 album "Infidels," Dylan told Rolling Stone, "I’ve never said I’m born again," noting that the phrase is "just a media term." "I don’t think I’ve ever been an agnostic," Dylan told the outlet. "I’ve always thought there’s a superior power, that this is not the real world, and that there’s a world to come. That no soul has died, every soul is alive, either in holiness or in flames. And there’s probably a lot of middle ground." "There’s no way you’re gonna convince me this is all there is to it," he continued. "I never, ever believed that. I believe in the Book of Revelation. The leaders of this world are eventually going to play God if they’re not already playing God, and eventually, a man will come that everybody will think is God. He’ll do things, and they’ll say, 'Well, only God can do those things. It must be him.’" The book noted that in 1983, Dylan "had rethought his specifically Christian devotion without abandoning biblical references and images of [the] apocalypse." Over the years, Dylan has undergone numerous transformations as an artist. And at 82, he’s still touring. "I’m not a fan of packaged programs or news shows, so I don’t watch them," he told The Wall Street Journal in 2022. "I never watch anything foul-smelling or evil. Nothing disgusting; nothing dog a--. I’m a religious person. I read the scriptures a lot, meditate and pray, light candles in church. I believe in damnation and salvation, as well as predestination. The Five Books of Moses, Pauline Epistles, Invocation of the Saints, all of it." 'THE CHOSEN' CREATOR DALLAS JENKINS SAYS THERE IS 'EXTREME PAIN AND SADNESS' IN THE BIBLICAL SHOW'S 4TH SEASON Davidson said that Dylan continues to intrigue because "he has always defied expectations." "The surprise of Dylan becoming a Christian and then creating this trilogy of gospel records may seem sort of like a shocking left turn… But in the book, we show how those seeds were planted," said Davidson. "And I am deeply grateful for all the left turns that Dylan has taken throughout his career because it's exactly what makes writing a book about him so interesting."
25 Ekim 2023 - 11:40
Bob Dylan's faith in Christianity survived backlash from fans who 'missed the old Dylan': author
Singer-songwriter Bob Dylan released three albums during his born-again era, one of the many periods from his decadeslong career that is explored in a new book, "Bob Dylan: Mixing Up the Medicine."
25 Ekim 2023 - 11:40