Fifty Years Later, Bob Dylan Assignment Still Reverberates

Although Look magazine killed a planned 1964 feature story on Bob Dylan, deeming the cresting singer “too scruffy for a family magazine,” the photographs from the spiked assignment continue to be appreciated today. The shots were taken over a span of several weeks in New York City, Woodstock and at the Newport Folk Festival.

Photographer Douglas Gilbert was able to reclaim the pics after Look ceased publication, turning them into the 2005 book Forever Young, lending them to Martin Scorsese for a PBS documentary and sharing them via an ongoing, traveling gallery show. With the exhibit currently at Michigan’s South Haven Center for the Arts, area native Gilbert took time to share a few anecdotes with Kalamazoo Gazette entertainment writer John Liberty. Starting with this memory:

Gilbert steered through a small town in New York when his passenger, a 23-year-old Bob Dylan, shouted, “Stop the car! Stop the car!”

Gilbert, a relatively green 21-year-old photographer from Michigan, obliged as the curly-haired musician ran to a newspaper stand on the side of the road. Gilbert said Dylan was drawn to a magazine with news about aliens on the cover.

“He was very intrigued,” Gilbert said during a phone interview from his home in Ferrysburg, just north of Grand Haven. “He wanted to look at that [magazine]. He came back and said, ‘Ehhh. It’s not that great.'”

We’re guessing the publication was either the National Enquirer or the Globe. Or, in song title parlance, “Subterranean Supermarket Blues.”
[Image via:]