No Direction Home

No Direction Home: Bob Dylan is a 2005 documentary film by Martin Scorsese that traces the life of Bob Dylan, and his impact on 20th-century American popular music and culture. The film focuses on the period between Dylan’s arrival in New York in January 1961 and his “retirement” from touring following his motorcycle accident in July 1966. This period encapsulates Dylan’s rise to fame as a folk singer and songwriter where he became the center of a cultural and musical upheaval, and continues through the electric controversy surrounding his move to a rock style of music.

The title of the film is taken from the lyrics of Dylan’s 1965 single “Like a Rolling Stone”.

Production and content

The film was first shown on television in both the United States (as part of the American Masters series on PBS) and the United Kingdom (as part of the Arena series on BBC Two) on September 26–27, 2005.[1] A DVD version of the film and accompanying soundtrack album (The Bootleg Series Vol. 7: No Direction Home: The Soundtrack) were released that same month.

The project began to take shape in 1995 when Dylan’s manager, Jeff Rosen, began scheduling interviews with Dylan’s friends and associates. Among those interviewed were poet Allen Ginsberg and folk musician Dave Van Ronk, both of whom died before the film was completed. Dylan’s old girlfriend Suze Rotolo also granted a rare interview, and she later told Rolling Stone that she was very pleased with the project’s results. Dylan himself also sat for ten hours in a relaxed and open conversation with Rosen in 2000. Other interviews with those who knew him at the time include Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Liam Clancy, Maria Muldaur, Peter Yarrow, John Cohen, singer Mavis Staples, artist Bob Neuwirth (“Rolling Stone” originally had ~50 verses), guitarist/organist Al Kooper, and promoters like Harold Leventhal.[2] Tom Nelson. Interviews with record industry A&R reps, promoters and executives Izzy Young, Mitch Miller, John Hammond, Artie Mogul. Filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker.

According to Rolling Stone, an unnamed source close to the project claimed that Dylan had no involvement with the project apart from the interview, saying that “[Dylan] has no interest in this . . . Bob truly does not look back.” However, work on the first installment of Dylan’s autobiography, Chronicles, Vol. 1, did overlap production of the project, though it is unclear how much, if any, influence Chronicles may have had on No Direction Home.

Though raw material was being gathered for the project, Rosen needed someone to edit and shape it into a quality motion picture, and celebrated filmmaker Martin Scorsese was approached to direct the documentary planned from the project. Scorsese eventually agreed and came aboard in 2001.

In the meantime, Dylan’s offices gathered hundreds of hours of historical film footage dating from the time covered in No Direction Home. These included a scratchy recording of Dylan’s high school rock band, his 1965 screen test for Andy Warhol, and newly discovered footage of the famous Manchester Free Trade Hall concert from May 17, 1966, when an angry fan called out “Judas!” just before Dylan and The Hawks performed “Like a Rolling Stone.” Shot by D.A. Pennebaker, the onstage color footage was found in 2004 in a pile of water-damaged film recovered from Dylan’s vault.

The cover photo on the DVD package, by Barry Feinstein, shows Dylan standing in front of the Aust Ferry terminal in Gloucestershire, England, in May 1966, shortly before the opening of the Severn Bridge which replaced the ferry.

Dylan on His Own Story

Part I

Part II

Re: Joan Baez. “You can’t be wise and in love at the same time, (and I hope she sees the light on that)”

Re: Folk Rock. Birds, Turtles, covers. ” I didn’t really like that sound, I don’t think it had anything to do with me.”

Re: Guitar Players “Mike Bloomfield was the best guitarist I’d ever heard”

Re: Pete Yarrow nearly taking an axe to the electric equipment at 1965 Newport “Like a dagger to my heart, made me want to go get drunk”

Re: Getting booed at Newport, “I have perspective on that, because I know you can kill someone with kindness, too”

Re: Press and Fan Interviews, “People wonder why I write surreal songs .. well they were surreal situations I kept getting put in. What do they expect me to have answers to all kinds of these social problems? It was absurd.”

Re: Attribution as ‘Spokesperson of a Generation, Conscience of the Youth’, “I couldn’t relate to that”

Re: The Folk Scene, “I was done with it. Sick of people .. like you (the interviewer). Being pressed and hammered, expected to have the answers.”

Reception and awards

The film received positive reviews from film critics, as review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 88{ae90547d17d4d74b17007ee836a04674fd006933c139011dc78eb03c100070a7} of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 14 reviews.[3] Critic Roger Ebert gave the film four out of a possible four stars, stating that it “creates a portrait that is deep, sympathetic, perceptive and yet finally leaves Dylan shrouded in mystery, which is where he properly lives”.[4] The film received a Peabody Award in April 2006[5] and a Columbia-duPont Award in January 2007,[6] and Martin Scorsese received a Grammy Award in direction for best long-form video.

Legacy

The documentary, describing the 1960 New York folk scene, served as an inspiration to Justin Timberlake for his part in the Coen brothers’ related drama Inside Llewyn Davis (2013).[7] Scorsese would make a second documentary on Dylan fourteen years later, Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese (2019), this time chronicling his 1975 Rolling Thunder Revue concert tour.

Soundtrack

Part I

  • Bob Dylan (live) – Like a Rolling Stone
  • Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps
  • Hank Williams
  • Muddy Waters
  • Bob Dylan – Tambourine Man
  • Bobby Vee
  • John Jacob Niles
  • Odetta
  • Clancy Brothers
  • Woody Guthrie – John Henry’s Hammer
  • Woody Guthrie – They Laid Jesus Christ in his Grave
  • Bob Dylan (live) – Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat
  • Joan Baez – What You Gonna Call Your Pretty Little Baby
  • Ken Jacobs – Star Spangled Death
  • Maria Muldaur
  • The New Lost City Ramblers
  • Bob Dylan – Desolation Row
  • Brother John Sellers
  • Peter LaFarge
  • Cisco Houston
  • Dave Von Ronk
  • Liam Clancy
  • Bob Dylan (cover) – Man of Constant Sorrow
  • Bob Dylan – Song To Woody
  • Johnny Matthis
  • Harry Belafonte
  • Bob Dylan (cover) – Baby Let Me Follow You Down by Erich Von Schmidt
  • Bob Dylan (cover) – House of The Rising Sun
  • Pete Seeger
  • Bob Dylan – Let Me Die in My Footsteps
  • Bob Dylan – Blowin in the Wind
  • Bob Dylan – Don’t Think Twice Its Alright
  • Bob Dylan – A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall
  • Bob Dylan – Ballad of A Thin Man
  • Bob Dylan – Masters of War
  • Bob Dylan – Oxford Town
  • Florence Reece – Which Side Are You On?
  • The Weavers – Goodnight, Irene
  • Pete Seeger – If I Had A Hammer
  • Bob Dylan – With God On Our Side
  • Bob Dylan – When The Ship Comes In
  • Johnny Cash – I Walk The Line
  • Howlin Wolf
  • Bob Dylan – Only A Pawn In Their Game
  • Joan Baez & Bob Dylan (duet) – With God On Our Side
  • Joan Baez (cover) – With God on Our Side by Bob Dylan
  • Bob Dylan (from Don’t Look Back) – Subterranean Homesick Blues

Part II

  • Bob Dylan (live in London) – Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues
  • Peter Paul & Mary (cover) – Blowin in the Wind by Bob Dylan
  • Bob Dylan and Joan Baez (live at the March on Washington) When the Ship Comes In
  • Bob Dylan – A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall
  • Bob Dylan – Chimes of Freedom Flashing
  • Bob Dylan (Newport 1964) – All I Really Want to Do
  • Johnny Cash (cover) – Don’t Think Twice, Its All Right by Bob Dylan
  • Bob Dylan (Newport 1964) – Mr. Tambourine Man
  • Bob Dylan – Its Alright Ma, (I’m Only Bleeding)
  • Bob Dylan – Gates of Eden
  • Bob Dylan and Joan Baez (duet) – It Ain’t Me Babe
  • Joan Baez (cover) – With God on Our Side by Bob Dylan
  • Bob Dylan (from documentary Don’t Look Back) – Subterranean Homesick Blues
  • Bob Dylan – Ain’t Gonna Work on Maggie’s Farm
  • Bob DylanBob Dylan’s 115th Dream
  • Bob Dylan – Love Minus Zero/No Limit
  • Joan Baez (live backstage) – Percy’s Song
  • Joan Baez (live for the interviewer with acoustic guitar)- Love is Just a Four Letter Word
  • Bob Dylan (studio version with Al Kooper on organ) – Like a Rolling Stone
  • Peter Paul & Mary
  • Bob Dylan (Live at Newport 1965, electric with the Bloomfield Blues Band)- Maggie’s Farm
  • Bob Dylan (Live at Newport 1965, electric with the Bloomfield Blues Band)- Like A Rolling Stone
  • Bob Dylan (Acoustic encore – Live at Newport 1965)- Its All Over Now, Baby Blue
  • Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited
  • Bob Dylan – Ballad of a Thin Man
  • Bob Dylan – Desolation Row
  • Bob Dylan – It Takes Alot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry
  • Bob Dylan and the Band (live in London) – Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues
  • Bob Dylan and the Band (live in London) – Tell Me, Momma
  • Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan (backstage cover) – Whiporwhill (So Lonesome I Could Cry) by Hank Williams
  • Bob Dylan – Visions of Johanna
  • Bob Dylan (live) – Like a Rolling Stone

Credits

  • No Direction Home: The Life and Music of Bob Dylan, Robert Shelton, 1986, Da Capo Press reprint 2003,

    ISBN 0-306-81287-8

  • No Direction Home: Bob Dylan – A Martin Scorsese Picture at IMDb
  • No Direction Home at Rotten Tomatoes
  • No Direction Home at bbc.co.uk.


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