Dusting ‘Em Off is a rotating, free-form feature that revisits a classic album, film, or moment in pop-culture history. This week, Editorial Director Matt Melis disobediently revisits D.A. Pennebaker’s documentary Dont Look Back 50 years later.
“You seem to be relating to a handful of cronies behind the scenes now – rather than the rest of us out front. Now that’s all okay – if that’s the way you want it. But then you’re a different Bob Dylan from the one we knew. The old one never wasted our precious time…” –Irwin Silber, Sing Out! Nov. 1964.
These scathing words from Sing Out! editor Irwin Silber came on the heels of Bob Dylan’s second 1964 release, Another Side of Bob Dylan. In January of that year, Dylan’s The Times They Are a-Changin’ had earned him praise in folk circles and strengthened the fervor, among some, to anoint the songwriter the voice of his generation. But Another Side, recorded and released in the summer of ’64, revealed an artist who refused to be pinned down so neatly. Gone were the gritty protest anthems that depicted the plight of the poor, minorities, and other marginalized peoples, replaced instead by songs that turned inward to matters of the heart, adopted humor, and viewed the world through a more surrealist bent.