President Trump Wall

President Trump Wall

I will make Mexico pay…

June 16, 2015: Donald Trump announced his campaign for the presidency and first mentioned his idea to build a southern border wall.

I will build a great wall ― and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me ―and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.

Throughout his campaign, Trump regularly used a call and response with his crowds to reinforce his promise to build a wall and vilified immigrants from Mexico and Central and South America.

President Trump Wall

It’s not a fence…

August 25, 2015: Candidate Trump tweeted: Jeb Bush just talked about my border proposal to build a “fence.” It’s not a fence, Jeb, it’s a WALL, and there’s a BIG difference!

April 1, 2016: Candidate Trump tweeted: We must build a great wall between Mexico and the United States!

Aug. 31, 2016 — Candidate Trump met in Mexico City with Pena Nieto. The subject of who will pay for the border wall did not come up. At a news conference following their meeting, Pena Nieto said the bilateral relationship should be based on mutual respect.

September 1, 2016: Candidate Trump tweeted: Mexico will pay for the wall – 100%! #MakeAmericaGreatAgain #ImWithYou

November 10, 2016:  two days after the election Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani stated in a CNN interview that President-elect Trump doesn’t need the support of Congress to build the wall; he can simply accomplish it through executive order. He also maintained that large portions of the wall have already been approved:

“The wall is going to take a while. Obviously he’s going to build it. It’s a campaign promise. He’s not going to break a campaign promise..he can do it by executive order by just reprogramming money within the, within the immigration service…And not only that, they have actually approved a wall for certain portions of the border that hasn’t even been built yet. So you could take a year building that out, with what has been approved.”

President Trump Wall

A fence would be OK…

November 13, 2016: Trump appeared on 60 Minutes. He said a fence would be OK, too.

STAHL (60 Minutes): You’re— you know, they are talking about a fence in the Republican Congress, would you accept a fence?

TRUMP: For certain areas I would, but certain areas, a wall is more appropriate. I’m very good at this, it’s called construction…there could be some fencing. 

January 11, 2017: after repeating many times that Mexico would pay for the wall and in what would turn out to be the first of many contentious press conferences, President Trump clarified that Mexico might not be paying the upfront costs for the wall after all.

I want to get the wall started. I don’t want to wait a year and a half until I make my deal with Mexico. They will reimburse us for the cost of the wall, whether it’s a tax or whether it’s a payment. Probably less likely that it’s a payment.”

President Trump Wall

Mexico will pay back later…

January 6, 2017: President Trump tweeted: The dishonest media does not report that any money spent on building the Great Wall (for sake of speed), will be paid back by Mexico later!

January 24, 2017: President Trump tweeted: Big day planned on NATIONAL SECURITY tomorrow. Among many other things, we will build the wall!

January 25, 2017:President Trump issued an executive order entitled “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements“. It declared:

In accordance with existing law, including the Secure Fence Act and IIRIRA, take all appropriate steps to immediately plan, design, and construct a physical wall along the southern border, using appropriate materials and technology to most effectively achieve complete operational control of the southern border;

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto then responded in an official address. He stated:

I am dismayed by and condemn the decision made by the United States to continue building a wall that for many years, far from uniting us, has divided us. Mexico does not believe in walls. I have said it again and again: Mexico will not pay for any wall.

January 26, 2017: Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, cancelled his scheduled meeting with President Donald J. Trump in Washington the following week, rejecting the visit after Trump ordered a border wall between the two nations.

President Trump Wall

Cost questioned

February 6, 2017: some Republican lawmakers  expressed skepticism that the border wall was worth the price tag and asked that Trump offer off-sets for the cost.

Texas Senator, John Cornyn said: “I have concerns about spending un-offset money, which adds to the debt, period. I don’t think we’re just going to be able to solve border security with a physical barrier because people can come under, around it and through it.”

February 9, 2017: a leaked report from the Department of Homeland Security put the cost of building the wall (and fencing) at around three times as much as Trump originally estimated, $21 billion in total, and estimates that construction would take at least three years to complete. The report did not take into account “major physical barriers, like mountains, in areas where it would not be feasible to build.”

February 24, 2017: via the website FedBizOpps.gov the federal government posted their intention to request proposals from construction companies on March 6 to build the wall. The posting read:

The Dept. of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) intends on issuing a solicitation in electronic format on or about March 6, 2017 for the design and build of several prototype wall structures in the vicinity of the United States border with Mexico. The procurement will be conducted in two phases, the first requiring vendors to submit a concept paper of their prototype(s) by March 10, 2017, which will result in the evaluation and down select of offerors by March 20, 2017. The second phase will require the down select of phase 1 offerors to submit proposals in response to the full RFP by March 24, 2017, which will include price. Multiple awards are contemplated by mid-April for this effort. An option for additional miles may be included in each contract award.

The deadline was eventually delayed until April 4.

President Trump Wall

A Great Wall…

February 28, 2016: In his first address to a joint session of Congress, President Trump declared:

We must restore integrity and the rule of law to our borders…For that reason, we will soon begin the construction of a great wall along our southern border. It will be started ahead of schedule and, when finished, it will be a very effective weapon against drugs and crime.

March 16, 2017: President Trump unveiled his budget blueprint for 2018, which included $2.6 billion for the wall. In the spending outline for the Department of Homeland Security it read:

The President’s 2018 Budget…Secures the borders of the United States by investing $2.6 billion in high-priority tactical infrastructure and border security technology, including funding to plan, design, and construct a physical wall along the southern border

He also requests $1.5 billion to be added to spending for the current fiscal year. The administration began to that the funding for the wall be tied to the spending bills aimed at preventing government shutdown at the end of April.

President Trump Wall

A solar wall…

June 21, 2017: Trump told a crowd in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, “We’re thinking about building the wall as a solar wall so it creates energy and pays for itself and this way Mexico will have to pay much less money, and that’s good, right? Is that good?

The solar wall idea was later abandoned.

President Trump Wall

A see-thru wall…

July 12, 2017: Trump added a new component to the wall: it had to be see-through. And, for the first time, he proposed a “steel wall with openings.”

One of the things with the wall is you need transparency. You have to be able to see through it,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One. “So it could be a steel wall with openings, but you have to have openings because you have to see what’s on the other side of the wall.

“When they throw the large sacks of drugs over, and if you have people on the other side of the wall, you don’t see them – they hit you on the head with 60 pounds of stuff? It’s over.

January 11, 2018: Trump explained to The Wall Street Journal that border officials told him “they need see-through” and indicated a concrete wall might be the wrong thing because of that.

We need a form of fence or window,” Trump said.

If you have a wall this thick and it’s solid concrete from ground to 32 feet high, which is a high wall, much higher than people planned. You go 32 feet up and you don’t know who’s over here,” he explained. “If you don’t know who’s there, you’ve got a problem.”

He also said the wall did not need to run the course of the entire border because of natural barriers. But he also insisted “the wall’s identical” to what he promised on the campaign trail.

January 18, 2018: “The Wall is the Wall, it has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it,” Trump tweeted in response to a Washington Post report that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly had said “a concrete wall from sea to shining sea” was not going to happen and that Trump’s campaign promises about the wall were “uninformed.”

President Trump Wall

A perfecto wall…

March 13, 2018: President Trump reviewed eight prototypes  for the wall in San Diego during a visit to the border.

All of the designs were concrete, but only one included the see-through component Trump said was necessary. He also repeated the need for a tall wall, comparing some migrants to “professional mountain climbers.”

We want to make it perfecto,” he said of the wall.

President Trump Wall

Proud to shut down the government…

December 11, 2018: President Trump Meeting with Democratic Leaders. President Trump said he would be proud to “shut down the government for border security” in an Oval Office exchange with  then House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). The leaders went back and forth over border security, building the wall, and the congressional support and votes needed to pass funding legislation on this issue.  [full transcript of meeting]

December 21, 2018: President Trump shared a design of a tall fence on Twitter, which he referred to as a “Steel Slat Barrier.”

“Totally effective while at the same time beautiful!” he said.

President Trump Wall

Partial shutdown commences

December 22, 2018: with Democratic leaders refusing to provide funds for President Trump’s wall project and President Trump refusing to negotiate to  a budget compromise, a partial shutdown of the federal government began.

December 25, 2018: President Trump said, “”I can’t tell you when the government is going to reopen,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “I can tell you it’s not going to be open until we have a wall, a fence, whatever they’d like to call it. I’ll call it whatever they want. But it’s all the same thing. It’s a barrier from people pouring into our country.”

December 31, 2018: “An all concrete Wall was NEVER ABANDONED, as has been reported by the media,” President Trump tweeted ahead of New Year’s Eve. “Some areas will be all concrete but the experts at Border Patrol prefer a Wall that is see through (thereby making it possible to see what is happening on both sides). Makes sense to me!”

The president was evidently reacting to a Los Angeles Times interview in which Kelly said, “To be honest, it’s not a wall.”

“The president still says ‘wall’ – oftentimes frankly he’ll say ‘barrier’ or ‘fencing,’ now he’s tended toward steel slats. But we left a solid concrete wall early on in the administration, when we asked people what they needed and where they needed it,” Kelly told the Times.

President Trump Wall

The Wall is coming

President Trump Wall

January 5, 2019: with Trump and the Democratic leadership remaining adamant in their positions on building a wall, in a tweet President Trump referenced the popular Game of Thrones slogan, Winter Is Coming, with “The Wall is Coming,” with a picture of himself over the wall.

January 6, 2019:President Trump tweeted, “”We are now planning a Steel Barrier rather than concrete. It is both stronger & less obtrusive. Good solution, and made in the U.S.A.”

January 8, 2019: President Trump made a national address  on the escalating controversy over U.S.-Mexico border wall funding, which was continued to cause a partial federal government shutdown.

January 9, 2019: President Trump stormed out of a White House meeting with congressional leaders after Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would not fund a border wall even if he agreed to reopen the government, escalating a confrontation that has shuttered large portions of the government for 19 days and counting.

Democrats emerged from the meeting in the White House Situation Room declaring that the president had thrown a “temper tantrum” and slammed his hands on the table before leaving with an abrupt “bye-bye.” Republicans disputed the hand slam and blamed Democratic intransigence for prolonging the standoff.

January 10, 2019: as the government shutdown neared the end of its third week and with no additional negotiations scheduled with congressional leaders, President Trump left Washington to visit the southern border.

In brief remarks to reporters Trump left open the possibility of declaring a state of emergency, which could allow him to bypass Congress to fund the wall.

President Trump Wall

Let’s Make a Deal

January 19, 2019: President Trump announced that he would extend deportation protections for some undocumented immigrants in exchange for $5.7 billion in funding for a wall along the border with Mexico.

The president said he would extend the legal status of those facing deportation and support bipartisan legislation that would allow some immigrants who came to the United States illegally as children, known as Dreamers, to keep their work permits and be protected from deportation for three more years if they were revoked.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said ahead of his remarks that she considered his proposal a “nonstarter,” in part because it offered no permanent pathway to citizenship for Dreamers.

No Deal

January 25, 2019: Trump agreed to reopen the federal government for three weeks while negotiations continued over how to secure the nation’s southwestern border, backing down after a monthlong standoff failed to force Democrats to give him billions of dollars for his long-promised wall.

February 2019

New Mexico Troop withdrawal

February 5, 2019: Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico ordered the withdrawal of the majority of the state’s National Guard troops from the U.S. border with Mexico, in a move that challenges President Trump’s description of a security crisis.

Grisham announced the partial withdrawal shortly before Trump’s State of the Union address. Her Republican predecessor deployed National Guard troops to the border in April 2018 at Trump’s suggestion, and 118 remained there before Tuesday’s reversal.

“New Mexico will not take part in the president’s charade of border fear-mongering by misusing our diligent National Guard troops,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement.

At the same time, the governor said a small contingent — around a dozen guardsmen — will remain in the southwestern corner of the state to assist with humanitarian needs in a remote corridor for cross-border immigration. She also mobilized state police to assist local law enforcement.

California Troop withdrawal

February 11, 2019: Gov. Gavin Newsom of California ordered the withdrawal of nearly 400 of his state’s National Guard troops from deployment along the border with Mexico and assigned them to other duties.

The step to rescind state authorization for the border deployment was a sharp rebuke of President Trump’s continued warnings that undocumented migrants present a national security risk to the United States.

Under a “general order,”110 California National Guard troops would be redirected to support the state’s central fire agency, Cal Fire, and another 100 will work on statewide “intelligence operations” aimed at international criminal drug gangs.

“National Emergency”

February 15, 2019: President Trump declared a national emergency on the border with Mexico in order to access billions of dollars that Congress refused to give him to build a wall there, transforming a highly charged policy dispute into a confrontation over the separation of powers outlined in the Constitution.

Trying to regain momentum after losing a grinding two-month battle with lawmakers over funding the wall, Mr. Trump asserted that the flow of drugs, criminals and illegal immigrants from Mexico constituted a profound threat to national security that justified unilateral action.

“We’re going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border, and we’re going to do it one way or the other,” he said in a televised statement in the Rose Garden barely 13 hours after Congress passed a spending measure without the money he had sought. “It’s an invasion,” he added. “We have an invasion of drugs and criminals coming into our country.”

Emergency challenged

February 18, 2019: a coalition of 16 states challenged President Trump in court over his plan to use emergency powers to spend billions of dollars on his border wall.

The suit, filed in Federal District Court in San Francisco, argued that the president did not have the power to divert funds for constructing a wall along the Mexican border because it was Congress that controls spending. [Read the full lawsuit here.]

House votes to overturn emergency

February 26, 2019: the House voted to overturn President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency on the Mexican border, with just 13 Republicans joining Democrats to try to block his effort to divert funding to a border wall without congressional approval.

House Republican leaders kept defections low after feverishly working to assuage concerns among rank-and-file members about protecting congressional powers and about the precedent that Trump could be setting for Democratic presidents to use for their own purposes.

March 2019

Money for the Wall

March 10, 2019: President Trump requested $8.6 billion in the annual budget proposal for a border wall. He also asked Congress for another $3.6 billion to replenish military construction funds he had diverted to begin work on the wall by declaring a national emergency, for a total of $12.2 billion.

Senate votes to overturn emergency

March 14, 2019: the Senate easily voted to overturn President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the southwestern border, delivering a bipartisan rebuke to what lawmakers in both parties deemed executive overreach by a president determined to build his border wall over Congress’s objections.

The 59-41 vote on the House-passed measure set up the first veto of Trump’s presidency. It was not overwhelming enough to override Mr. Trump’s promised veto, but Congress has now voted to block a presidential emergency declaration for the first time — and on one of the core promises that animated Mr. Trump’s political rise, the vow to build a wall between the United States and Mexico.

Never before has a president asked for funding, Congress has not provided it, and the president then has used the National Emergencies Act of 1976 to spend the money anyway,” Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, said. “The problem with this is that after a Revolutionary War against a king, our nation’s founders gave to Congress the power to approve all spending so that the president would not have too much power. This check on the executive is a crucial source of our freedom.”

Veto

March 15, 2019: as he had said he would, President Trump vetoed the bill denying his declaration of a national emergency.

No override

March 26, 2019: the House failed to overturn President Trump’s veto, leaving the declaration of a national emergency at the southwestern border intact despite the bipartisan passage of a resolution attempting to nullify the president’s circumvention of Congress to fund his border wall.

The 248-to-181 vote fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to kill the national emergency declaration.

President Trump Wall

Electric Dylan Crashes

Electric Dylan Crashes

Bringing It All Back Home

March 27, 1965: released Bringing It All Back Home, his fifth studio album. Recorded January 13–15, 1965 and produced by Tom Wilson.

It was 1965 and pop music Dylan and the Beatles had suddenly created mature rock: lyrics that we had to think about, instrumentation with more than the standard structure, and permission to experiment.

The album’s cover photographed by Daniel Kramer featured Sally Grossman (wife of Dylan’s manager Albert Grossman) lounging in the background. There are also artifacts scattered around the room, including LPs by The Impressions (Keep on Pushing), Robert Johnson (King of the Delta Blues Singers), Ravi Shankar (India’s Master Musician), Lotte Lenya (Sings Berlin Theatre Songs by Kurt Weill) and Eric Von Schmidt (The Folk Blues of Eric Von Schmidt). Dylan had “met” Schmidt “one day in the green pastures of Harvard University” and would later mimic his album cover pose (tipping his hat) for his own Nashville Skyline four years later.

April 12, 1965: The Byrds released their first single, Mr Tambourine Man. 

They will make their TV debut on NBC’s Hullabaloo on May 11 and their song become Billboard #1 on June 26.

Electric Dylan Crashes

MTV

May 8, 1965: while filming of what would become the documentary “Dont Look Back”, Bob Dylan had the idea to make a short film of his song “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” featuring him standing in an alley next to London’s Savoy Hotel.

Dylan was simply surrounded by friends Allen Ginsberg and Bob Neuwirth, flipping giant cue cards with the lyrics of the song on them.

In a sense, one of the first “music videos,” it became an iconic rock moment. The cards were painted by Alan Price of The Animals and Joan Baez.

June 14, 1965: The Byrds release their second single, All I Really Want to Do, another Dylan composition. It will reach #40 on Billboard.

Electric Dylan Crashes

Like a Rolling Stone

June 15, 1965: Dylan recorded “Like a Rolling Stone” at Columbia Studios in NYC. Mike Bloomfield played lead guitar. Guest Al Kooper sneaks behind Hammond organ uninvited. Dylan and producer Tom Wilson disagree about the organ, but Dylan insists the instrument be brought forward in the mix.

Columbia released the single on July 20, It is considered by some to be the greatest rock and roll song ever.

 

Byrds promote Dylan

June 21, 1965: the Byrds’ debut album, Mr. Tambourine Man, marked the beginning of the folk-rock revolution. In just a few months, the Byrds had become a household name, with a #1 single and a smash-hit album that married the ringing guitars and back-beat of the British Invasion with the harmonies and lyrical depth of folk to create an entirely new sound.

Electric Dylan Crashes

Sara Lownds & Newport

Hi Lo Ha

In July 1965:  Dylan and Sara Lownds purchased eleven-room mansion in the Arts and Crafts Movement Colony of Byrdcliffe named Hi Lo Ha on Camelot Road one mile from Woodstock, NY.

Newport ’65

July 25, 1965: Dylan played Newport Folk Festival. Many in the audience booed his performance for playing an electric set with an impromptu band made up of Mike Bloomfield (guitar), Al Kooper (organ), Barry Goldberg (piano), Jerome Arnold (bass), and Sam Lay (drums)

Electric Dylan Crashes

1965 Touring

Forest Hills

August 28, 1965: from The College of Rock and Roll Facebook page: Dylan kicked off his tour at NYC’s Forest Hills Tennis Stadium. This show is legendary, and for anyone who doubts that 1965 audiences heaped great scorn on Bob Dylan and his electric crew, all they need to do is listen to a a tape of the concert to hear the audience’s point of view. There was so much hostility directed toward the stage that it’s frightening. Coming as it does after the shocking Newport appearance with members of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, the audience for the Forest Hills show pretty much knew what to expect, and the majority showed extreme displeasure during the electric half.

The first set, which was acoustic, was very well received. The crowd was quiet and respectful for the 45 minute opening set, which followed a typical top-40 disk jockey introduction more appropriate for a Dave Clark Five concert than a Bob Dylan concert. This show featured the debut of “Desolation Row”, from the Highway 61 album which was yet to be released (only a few days away, in fact). It’s a great performance and it went over very well with the crowd, who laughed appreciatively at the lyrics. It must have been amazing to sit there and hear a brand new masterpiece like “Desolation Row”.

 After the well received acoustic half came to an end with “Mr. Tambourine Man”, the band set up for the second half. No doubt the crowd was gearing up for the hostility that was to follow. The crowd is so loud and belligerent at times that it becomes extremely hard to hear the music, but what can be heard is awesome. Levon lays down a muscular beat that drives the music forward and Robbie plays tough blues licks as only he can. Al Kooper pretty much plays the way only Al Kooper can.

The Hawks

September 24, 1965: Dylan kicks off a national tour in Austin, TX. The Hawks are his back up band. The electric songs are typically booed. Levon Helm, unable to deal with the constant booing, left the tour at the end of November and went to work as a deckhand on oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.

Marriage

November 22, 1965:  during a break on his tour, Dylan married Sara Lownds in a secret ceremony on Long Island, NY. The only guests were manager Albert Grossman and a maid of honor for Sara.  A son, Jesse Byron Dylan, will be born on January 6, 1966.

Opines on drugs

Nat Hentoff had interviewed Bob Dylan in the fall of 1965. That interview appeared in the February issue of Playboy magazine. In it Hentoff asks Dylan: “…do you think that experimentation with such drugs [hallucinogenics] should be part of the growing up experience for a young person? Dylan responded: “I wouldn’t advise anybody to use drugs – certainly not the hard drugs; drugs are medicine. But opium and hash and pot – now, those things aren’t drugs; they just bend your mind a little. I think everybody’s mind should be bent once in a while. Not by LSD, though. LSD is medicine – a different kind of medicine. It makes you aware of the universe, so to speak; you realize how foolish objects are. But LSD is not for groovy people; it’s for mad, hateful people who want revenge. It’s for people who usually have heart attacks. They ought to use it at the Geneva Convention.”

Electric Dylan Crashes

Blonde on Blonde

Recorded Jan, Feb, and March, 1966, on May 16, 1966 Columbia released Blonde on Blonde, his 7th.

Dylan recorded the album in Nashville, against the strict wishes of manager Albert Grossman.

That Dylan would record there gave “permission” to other rock groups to follow in his footsteps and opened Nashville recording to a much wider range of musicians than the country groups that had dominated its studios until then.

The cover shows Dylan in front of a brick building, wearing a suede jacket and a black and white checkered scarf. The jacket is the same one he wore on his next two albums, John Wesley Harding and Nashville Skyline.

Photographer Jerry Schatzberg, described how the photo was taken: I wanted to find an interesting location outside of the studio. We went to the west side, where the Chelsea art galleries are now. At the time it was the meat packing district of New York and I liked the look of it. It was freezing and we were very cold. The frame he chose for the cover is blurred and out of focus. Of course everyone was trying to interpret the meaning, saying it must represent getting high on an LSD trip. It was none of the above; we were just cold and the two of us were shivering. There were other images that were sharp and in focus but, to his credit, Dylan liked that photograph.

Electric Dylan Crashes

Crash

July 29, 1966: Dylan was involved in a motorcycle accident. The seriousness of the accident is still unknown. Dylan’s biographers have written that the crash offered him the much-needed chance to escape from the pressures that had built up around him. Dylan confirmed this interpretation of the crash when he stated in his autobiography, “I had been in a motorcycle accident and I’d been hurt, but I recovered. Truth was that I wanted to get out of the rat race.” In the wake of his accident, Dylan withdrew from the public and, apart from a few select appearances, did not tour again for almost eight years.

Dylan stayed at the house of Dr Ed Thaler in Middletown, NY for 6 weeks following the accident as insurance for even more isolation.

Electric Dylan Crashes

Dylan Becomes Dylan

Dylan Becomes Dylan

Bobby Zimmerman been calling himself  Bob Dylan since the spring of 1958 and August 2, 1962 he legally changed his name to Bob Dylan. but even with the legal name change, he was not the Bob Dylan whose name all immediately recognize.

His talent was there. His stage presence there. With Albert Grossman and Joan Baez would add themselves into the cocktail  from which that Bob Dylan arose.

In 1966, though, Bob Dylan would came crashing down, both literally and figuratively.

Dylan Becomes Dylan

Albert Grossman

August 30, 1962: Dylan and Albert Grossman signed a management agreement. It gave Grossman four years as Bob’s exclusive manager, with an option to extend the contract for a further three.

In September 1962: Dylan wrote A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall in the basement of the Village Gate, in a small apartment occupied by Chip Monck, later to become one of the most sought-after lighting directors in rock music and a voice associated with the Woodstock Festival.

Dylan Becomes Dylan

First single flops

December 14, 1962: Columbia Records released Bob Dylan’s first single: Mixed Up Confusion. It flopped.

In January 1963: back together with Suze Rotolo (who herself was back from a seven-month stay Italy–a deliberate escape from Dylan). The relationship was a strained one and one that Dylan was not true to.

Despite the increasing estrangement, in February 1963 Columbia staff photographer Don Hunstein photographed Dylan and Suze Rotolo for the cover of The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.

Hunstein recalled: “We went down to Dylan’s place on Fourth Street, just off Sixth Avenue, right in the heart of the Village. It was winter, dirty snow on the ground . . . Well, I can’t tell you why I did it, but I said, Just walk up and down the street. There wasn’t very much thought to it. It was late afternoon you can tell that the sun was low behind them. It must have been pretty uncomfortable, out there in the slush.”

Dylan Becomes Dylan

Last Thoughts

April 12, 1963: at New York’s Town Hall Bob Dylan recited “Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie,” a long evocation of old memories, a youth searching for himself by the railroad tracks, down the road, in fields and meadows, on the banks of streams, in the “trash can alleys.”

And, he says, somehow during that search Woody was his companion. There’s this book comin’ out, an’ they asked me to write something about Woody…Sort of like “What does Woody Guthrie mean to you?” in twenty-five words…

And I couldn’t do it — I wrote out five pages and… I have it here, it’s…Have it here by accident, actually… but I’d like to say this out loud…So… if you can sort of roll along with this thing here, this is called…

Dylan Becomes Dylan

Ed Sullivan walkout

May 12, 1963: the still unknown Dylan walked off the set of the “Ed Sullivan Show” (the country’s highest-rated variety show) after network censors rejected  “Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues,” the song he planned on performing. The song was satirical talking-blues number skewering the ultra-conservative John Birch Society and its tendency to see covert members of an international Communist conspiracy behind every tree. Dylan had auditioned “John Birch” days earlier and had run through it for Ed Sullivan himself without any concern being raised. But during dress rehearsal on the day of the show, an executive from the CBS Standards and Practices department informed the show’s producers that they could not allow Dylan to go forward singing “John Birch.”

Dylan Becomes Dylan

Festivals & Rallies

May 17, 1963: the first Monterey Folk Festival took place over three days in Monterey, California. The festival featured Joan Baez, Bob Dylan and Peter Paul and Mary. Baez, had a home in Carmel Highlands, was a huge star at the time, while Dylan was a still a newcomer making a name for himself.

Dylan was not treated kindly by that Monterey audience, who had come to see more traditional folks acts such as Peter, Paul and Mary (who ironically would have a hit that summer with Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind”), the Weavers and the New Lost City Ramblers.

As described in the excellent book about that era, David Hajdu’s “Positively 4th Street,” “The Monterey audience, which was largely unfamiliar with Dylan’s style, responded poorly, talking loudly over his singing.”

“He went over very badly,” said Barbara Dane, the festival’s host, in Hajdu’s account. “He didn’t play very long, and it felt like he was on for an hour. I think people were laughing.” Even though he did three of his hardest-hitting protest songs, “Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues,” “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” and “Masters of War,” the response was so bad it prompted Baez to walk out unannounced and admonish the audience. “She wanted everyone to know, she said, that this young man had something to say,” Hajdu wrote. “He was singing about important issues, and he was speaking for her and everyone who wanted a better world. They should listen, she said — she ordered them, nearly:Listen!”

They performed Dylan’s “With God on Our Side” together, their voices an odd match, “salt pork and meringue,” but Hadju wrote, “the tension between their styles made their presence together all the more compelling.” They left the stage with “people cheering.”

Freewheelin’
Dylan Becomes Dylan
photo by Don Hunstein

May 27, 1963: released his second album, The Freewheelin Bob Dylan with the Suze/Bob album cover.

In a 2008 New York Times article Rotolo said: “He wore a very thin jacket, because image was all. Our apartment was always cold, so I had a sweater on, plus I borrowed one of his big, bulky sweaters. On top of that I put on a coat. So I felt like an Italian sausage. Every time I look at that picture, I think I look fat.

In her memoir, A Freewheelin’ Time, Rotolo analyzed the significance of the cover image: It is one of those cultural markers that influenced the look of album covers precisely because of its casual down-home spontaneity and sensibility. Most album covers were carefully staged and controlled, to terrific effect on the Blue Note jazz album covers … and to not-so great-effect on the perfectly posed and clean-cut pop and folk albums. Whoever was responsible for choosing that particular photograph for The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan really had an eye for a new look.

Critic Janet Maslin summed up the iconic impact of the cover as “a photograph that inspired countless young men to hunch their shoulders, look distant, and let the girl do the clinging.

The album was an immediate success selling 10,000 copies a month

Greenwood, Mississippi

July 6, 1963: Dylan first performed “Only a Pawn in Their Game” at a voter registration rally in Greenwood, Mississippi. The song refers to the murder of Medgar Evers.

Bernice Johnson Reagon would later tell critic Robert Shelton that “‘Pawn’ was the very first song that showed the poor white was as victimized by discrimination as the poor black. The Greenwood people didn’t know that Pete [Seeger], Theo[dore Bikel] and Bobby [Dylan] were well known. (Seeger and Bikel were also present at the registration rally.) They were just happy to be getting support. But they really like Dylan down there in the cotton country.”

Also on this date, Peter, Paul and Mary’s cover of Dylan’s “Blowin’ In the Wind” reached #2 on Billboard with sales exceeding one million.

Newport 1963

Dylan Becomes Dylan

July 26 – 28, 1963: festival included Phil Ochs, Pete Seeger, and Joan Baez who introduced Dylan as her guest.

August 3, 1963: Dylan and Joan Baez, a couple, begin a tour together. She is the headline name, but Dylan is the star. The tour provided a huge boost to Dylan’s career.

Dylan Becomes Dylan

Woodstock

That same summer, manager Albert Grossman bought a house in Bearsville, NY near Woodstock. He converted space above the barn as a guest room for Dylan. Both he and Baez will be frequent visitors.

August 17, 1963: Peter, Paul, and Mary’s cover of “Blowin’ In the Wind” reached number two on the Billboard pop chart, with sales exceeding one million copies.

August 28, 1963: Martin Luther King, Jr delivered his I Have a Dream speech.

Bob Dylan and Joan Baez will also perform, he “Only A Pawn In Their Game.”

Dylan Becomes Dylan

Sam Cooke

October 8, 1963: after hearing Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind”  earlier in the year, Sam Cooke was greatly moved that such a poignant song about racism in America could come from someone who was not black. While on tour in May and after speaking with sit-in demonstrators in Durham, North Carolina following a concert, Cooke returned to his tour bus and wrote the first draft of what would become “A Change Is Gonna Come“. The song also reflected much of Cooke’s own inner turmoil. Known for his polished image and light-hearted songs such as “You Send Me” and “Twistin’ the Night Away“, he had long felt the need to address the situation of discrimination and racism. However, his image and fears of losing his largely white fan base prevented him from doing so.

A Change Is Gonna’ Come,” very much a departure for Cooke, reflected two major incidents in his life. The first was the death of Cooke’s 18-month-old son, Vincent, who died of an accidental drowning in June of that year. The second major incident came this date when Cooke and his band tried to register at a “whites only” motel in Shreveport, Louisiana and were summarily arrested for disturbing the peace. Both incidents are represented in the weary tone and lyrics of the piece, especially the final verse: There have been times that I thought I couldn’t last for long/but now I think I’m able to carry on/It’s been a long time coming, but I know a change is gonna come.

Cooke would not record the song until November 1964.

October 23, 1963: Dylan recorded ‘The Times They Are A-Changin‘ at Columbia Recording Studios in New York City. Dylan wrote the song as a deliberate attempt to create an anthem of change for the time, influenced by Irish and Scottish ballads.

Dylan Becomes Dylan

Carnegie Hall

Dylan Becomes Dylan

October 26, 1963: Dylan gave a sold-out concert at Carnegie Hall. His parents, Abe and Beatty Zimmerman came in from Hibbing, MN for the concert.

November 2 – December 6, 1963: Peter, Paul, and Mary’s Blowin’ In the Wind  is the Billboard #1 album. The best-known cover of Bob Dylan’s song. In the liner notes to Dylan’s original release, Nat Hentoff calls the song “a statement that maybe you can say to make yourself feel better… as if you were talking to yourself.” The song was written around the time that Suze Rotolo indefinitely prolonged her stay in Italy. The melody is based on an older song, “Who’s Gonna Buy Your Chickens When I’m Gone”. The melody was taught to Dylan by folksinger Paul Clayton, who had used the melody in his song “Who’s Gonna Buy Your Ribbons When I’m Gone?”

Newsweek mocks Dylan

November 4, 1963: the edition o fNewsweek carried an article that mocked Dylan’s self made image and pointed out that he had grown up in a middle class family in Hibbing, MN. The article showed him as a vain and self-promoting. “Why Dylan—he picked the name in admiration for Dylan Thomas—should bother to deny his past is a mystery. Perhaps he feels it would spoil the image he works so hard to cultivate—with his dress, with his talk, with the deliberately atrocious grammar and pronunciation in his songs”

Dylan mocks Paine

December 13, 1963: the Emergency Civil Liberties Committee gave Dylan the Tom Paine award. It was an honor given to a public figure that supported social justice. A drunk Dylan spoke without preparing and made fun of those present. He also said he could understand how Lee Harvey Oswald felt.

Dylan Becomes Dylan

The Times They Are a’Changin’

January 13, 1964: released his third album, The Times They Are a-Changin’  

Dylan had recorded it over six sessions between August 6 – October 31, 1963 at Columbia Studios, New York City.

Dylan Becomes Dylan

On the Road

February 3, 1964: Dylan, along with friends Victor Maymudes (his first road manager),  Pete Karman (Suze Rotolo’s request to keep an eye on Dylan), and Paul “Pablo” Clayton (his tune was appropriated by Dylan for “Don’t Think Twice.”

Though Dylan would play a few concerts on the trip, the main purpose of the trip was to imitate Jack Kerouac’s novel On the Road.

Among the songs he wrote on the trip were: “Chimes of Freedom” and “Mr Tambourine Man”

Steve Allen Show

February 25, 1964: Dylan appeared on the Steve Allen Show. Dylan’s discomfort with interviews was easily seen and when asked about his song, “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” Dylan’s response was to sing the song.

Mr Tambourine Man

June 9, 1964: during an evening session Bob Dylan recorded Mr. Tambourine Man at Columbia Recording Studios in New York City. This was the first session for the Another Side Of Bob Dylan, which saw Dylan recording fourteen original compositions that night. Ultimately, Mr Tambourine Man would not be included on the album.

In August, 1964: “I’m Going to Get My Baby Out of Jail” by Len Chandler & Bernice Johnson Reagon. Dylan “stole” the Len Chandler tune to accompany his “The Death of Emmett Till.”

Dylan Becomes Dylan

Another Side of Bob Dylan

August 8, 1964: released fourth album, Another Side of Bob Dylan. Became 1964’s 10th biggest selling album. Recorded:  June 9 (only!)

In Bob’s folk waltz “To Ramona,” you hear Bob Dylan acknowledge their [Dylan and Joan Baez] diverging lives for the first time in song. He sings about her idealism and how it will eventually lead to her downfall (“It grieves my heart, love/To see you tryin’ to be a part of/A world that just don’t exist”), her struggle to remain approachable and “common” whilel trying to keep her privacy (“I’ve heard you say many times/That you’re better ‘n no one/And no one is better ‘n you/If you really believe that/You know you have/Nothing to win and nothing to lose”) and his inability to help her in any of her struggles (“I’d forever talk to you/But soon my words/They would turn into a meaningless ring/For deep in my heart/I know there is no help I can bring”). When you listen to the song, you get to hear the struggles of being one of the most famous couples in the world. And beyond that, you hear first hand, the story of a couple growing apart.

Dylan Becomes Dylan

Beatles Meet Dylan

August 28, 1964: The Beatles played a concert at New York’s Forest Hills Tennis Stadium. After the concert, the group was taken back to their suite at the city’s Hotel Delmonico. Journalist Al Aronowitz had came down from Woodstock, NY with his friend Bob Dylan, and brought him up to The Beatles hotel suite. John Lennon asked Dylan what he’d like to drink, and Dylan said “cheap wine.”

The Beatles offer Dylan their drug of choice which was speed. Dylan suggested marijuana, which the band had never tried. Hearing that they had never smoked pot, Dylan was quite surprised and said that he always thought the band sang “I get high” in their song “I Wanna Hold Your Hand.” John corrected him, telling him that the phrase was “I can’t hide.”

Dylan lit up a joint and Lennon made Ringo smoke it first. Eventually each member of the band got his own. Paul was interested with the thoughts it produced and asked Mal Evans to follow him around with a notepad and take down everything he said.

Dylan Becomes Dylan

Byrds Success Becomes Dylan’s Success

January 20, 1965:  The Byrds entered the studio to record “Mr Tambourine Man,” what would become the title track of their debut album and, incidentally, the only Bob Dylan song ever to reach #1 on the U.S. pop charts.

Aiming consciously for a vocal style in between Bob Dylan and John Lennon, Roger McGuinn sang lead, with Gene Clark and David Crosby providing the complex harmony that would, along with McGuinn’s jangly electric 12-string Rickenbacker guitar, form the basis of the Byrds’ trademark sound.

Dylan Becomes Dylan

Dylan’s phenomenal success led to constant touring under the aegis of manager Albert Grossman.

Dylan would soon break away from his folk image, his acoustic image, and quit working on “Maggie’s Farm.”

The break would lead to an even more frenetic life. One that he will eventually and deliberately chose to leave.

Dylan Becomes Dylan

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