Highway 61 Revisited Turns Fifty

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Bob Dylan’s jump to electric turned fifty this past Sunday, and to celebrate the milestone Consequence of Sound interviewed two of the session musicians who worked on recording the album. One of the musicians, Harvey Brooks, remembers Dylan’s songwriting style:

He’s writing by instinct…It all came out of his mind. As he was receiving it, he transferred it right into his chords. That’s why the changes aren’t so locked in. It’s kind of the same way old blues singers used to do it. They do things by the phrasing, and Dylan’s a great phraser. That’s really what we were doing subconsciously.
There’s all different kinds of ways to play….You can play on the beat, in front of the beat, behind the beat, playing in the pocket, a little out of the pocket. Highway 61 was the beginning of me thinking about all those kinds of things.


Liz Wood is a freelance editor, fiction writer, and current student in the NYU MFA program. More from this author →