Dylan back in Sweden 40 years on

Almost 40 years after his first visit to Sweden, Bob Dylan is touring Sweden next week. The 65 year old folk-rock legend will start his 2005 European tour in Stockholm’s Globe Arena.

He has been called a prophet, the greatest voice in popular music, a spokesman of a generation and the voice of America. He has even been repeatedly tipped for the Nobel literature Prize. He has made more than 40 albums, published 6 books and taken part in many films. But his greatest achievement is his songwriting.

Since the early sixties Dylan has produced great classics such as “Blowing in the Wind”, “Like a Rolling Stone”, “A Hard rain” and “The Times they are a Changing”. Although many of his most known songs were recorded in the 60s, when Dylan inspired young people in the protest movements, Dylan, who was reluctant to serve as a political figure, moved on to explore other issues, new musical styles and other forms of expressions.

He expanded the vocabulary and areas of interest of popular music, recorded many ground-breaking albums and he continues to tour constantly. The first venue on his 2005 European tour is southern Stockholm’s giant golf ball-like Arena.

Dylan has played over 100 dates a year during the 90s and the 2000s. The “Never Ending Tour” continues this winter, with Dylan still refusing to allow his set to turn into a nostalgia act.

Although many fans are disappointed when new songs, new sounds and new musical approaches are used rather than the old classics, seeing Dylan live is still a must for every Dylan fan. Dylan chooses songs from throughout his 40 year career, seldom playing the same set twice and always changing arrangements and styles.

The last year has been a busy one for Dylan. Martin Scorsese’s Dylan biography “No Direction Home” opened in September. The three and a half hour long film features previously unreleased footage from Dylan’s groundbreaking live concerts, studio recording sessions and interviews.

The film focuses on the early sixties Greenwich Village folk music scene and the period when Dylan “went electric” upsetting many of his folk music loving fans and creating music history with his revolutionary “Highway 61 Revisited” and “Blonde on Blonde” albums.

Alongside the film came “No Direction Home: The Soundtrack – The Bootleg Series Vol. 7″ this double CD is full of rare and unreleased material, including a recording by a high school friend and a song believed to be the first song Dylan ever put to tape.

Dylan has also just published “The Bob Dylan Scrapbook 1956-1966” which contains rare photographs, memorabilia, handwritten song lyrics and interviews with Dylan and his friends and associates.

This book follows the 2004 “Chronicles, Vol. 1”, Bob Dylan’s best selling autobiography.

Dylan will play Stockholm on Monday October 17th, Karlstad 0n the 20th and Gothenburg on the 21st. he will also perform in Oslo on the 18th before moving on to Germany, Belgium, Italy, France and Britain.

David Stavrou