Bob Dylan: The 1966 Live Recordings –a highly-collectible 36CD box set containing every known recording from the artist’s groundbreaking 1966 concert tours of the US, UK, Europe and Australia – will be released on Friday, November 11 by Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment. The 1966 Live Recordings commemorates, in stunning sonic vérité, the 50th anniversary of the electrifying live performances that would forever change the sound and direction of rock and pop music around the world.
“While doing the archival research for The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series Vol. 12, last year’s box set of Dylan’s mid-60s studio sessions, we were continually struck by how great his 1966 live recordings really are,” said Adam Block, President, Legacy Recordings. “The intensity of Bob’s live performances and his fantastic delivery of these songs in concert add another insightful component in understanding and appreciating the musical revolution Bob Dylan ignited some 50 years ago.”
Meticulously researched, curated and restored for this extraordinary collection, Bob Dylan: The 1966 Live Recordings is drawn from three main audio sources: soundboards, CBS Records mobile recordings and audience tapes. With the exception of the Manchester concert (May 17, 1966) released as Bob Dylan Live 1966 – The Bootleg Series Vol. 4 (Columbia/Legacy) in 1998, a pair of songs appearing on the 1985 Biograph compilation and a smattering of others, the overwhelming majority of tracks and performances on Bob Dylan: The 1966 Live Recordings are previously unreleased in any format–official or bootlegged–and are being made available now for the very first time.
All the songs on The 1966 Live Recordings were written by Bob Dylan (vocal, guitar, piano, harmonica) with the sole exception of “Baby, Let Me Follow You Down,” a traditional song arranged by Bob Dylan for concert performance. Dylan is accompanied on these recordings by Robbie Robertson (guitar), Rick Danko (bass, backing vocals), Richard Manuel (piano), Garth Hudson (organ) and Mickey Jones (drums). (Sandy Konikoff plays drums on the White Plains and Pittsburgh shows only.)
Liner notes for Bob Dylan: The 1966 Live Recordings have been provided by Clinton Heylin, a consultant on the project and author of JUDAS!: From Forest Hills to the Free Trade Hall: A Historical View of Dylan’s Big Boo, the definitive written account of Dylan’s historic and pivotal 1965-66 world tours.
Each of the individual CDs in Bob Dylan: The 1966 Live Recordings is housed in a custom sleeve featuring stills from color film shot by D.A. Pennebaker, whose footage from Dylan’s 1965 and 1966 tours became the cinéma vérité classics Dont Look Back (1965) and Eat The Document(1966).
Columbia/Legacy will also release Bob Dylan’s performance at the Royal Albert Hall from May 26, 1966 (two days after the artist’s 25 birthday) as an album entitled The Real Royal Albert Hall 1966 Concert. For decades, Dylan’s performance in Manchester was incorrectly labeled “The Royal Albert Hall Concert.” Now, for the first time, the REAL Royal Albert Hall concert–originally recorded for a live album by CBS Records–is finally being released, mixed by Grammy-winning engineer Chris Shaw. The Real Royal Albert Hall 1966 Concert will be released as a 2CD and 12″ 2LP collection on November 25.
The performances on Bob Dylan: The 1966 Live Recordings put a fiery exclamation point on Dylan’s great mid-sixties creative epoch that produced–in an 18-month span–Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde On Blonde, the trilogy of album masterpieces which secured Dylan’s reputation as a songwriter and performer of unprecedented depth, power and originality while significantly impacting the course of popular music and culture. These concert recordings from the same period document Dylan’s evolution as an on-stage phenomenon whose transformative vision saw no limits.
Bob Dylan: The 1966 Live Recordings is the ideal concert companion to The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series Vol. 12, released on Columbia/Legacy last November.