Bob Dylan and Woodstock NY:
Take a drive through Woodstock, NY, and you’ll take a drive through music history – specifically, the life and times of a Jewish folk singer from Minnesota named Bob Dylan. Dylan had as much to do with the modern-day persona of Woodstock than any other single person or entity. Now he’s continuing to write his own legacy and touching on his life in Woodstock.
Visit Tinker Street downtown, where Dylan lived and wrote some of his songs above what was Café Espresso. Follow an infamous story involving Dylan taking a tight curve on Zena Road, where he lost control of his Triumph motorcycle. He nearly died in the crash, and headlines about the accident was widely broadcast. Explore Byrdcliffe off of Glasco Turnpike (NY33) where Dylan live in the 1960s and early 1970s where he lived until fans continually ravaging his tranquility drove him away.
Dylan and his legacy are all part of Woodstock’s overall allure as a musical haven, which was many ways cemented by the artist himself. But it’s also American history and an American story — how a creative genius found inspiration, kindred souls and reclusiveness in a small town and used those powers to create anthems speaking to generations.
A Brief Bio:
Dylan, born Robert Allen Zimmerman in Duluth, MN, in 1941, was writing poetry at the age of 10 and could play the guitar and piano as a young teenager. He left college to move to Greenwich Village, where he and other beatniks played music and reveled in the nascent counterculture of the early 1960s. It was here that he became known as Bob Dylan — reportedly, but never confirmed, taking the name because of his fondness for poet Dylan Thomas.
Joining Columbia Records in 1961, Dylan started to produce hits. “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” and “Blowin’ in the Wind”, the latter a cover of a Peter, Paul and Mary song, showed off his distinctive voice and ability to connect to listeners’ souls. Hi first visit to Woodstock occurred in 1963. Introduced to the arts-driven community by his girlfriend, Joan Baez, the town made an impression on the 22-year-old musician. Dylan rented a room above Café Espresso, now the site of the Center for Photography at Woodstock, but for years the internationally known Tinker Street Café. In that room, he wrote two acclaimed albums, “Another Side of Bob Dylan” and “Bringing It All Back Home.”
Dylan’s Woodstock Motorcycle Accident:
On July 29th 1966 Dylan went on a motorcycle ride just outside of town. Fresh off the release of his Blonde on Blonde album. Dylan left the house of his manager Albert Grossman who had followed Dylan shortly after he left. As Grossman and his wife drove along Striebel Road they came across Dylan “moaning and groaning” in the road.
Instead of transport to a hospital, a local doctor, Ed Thaler, treated Dylan. Dylan would spend the next month in Thaler’s home recovering. With no police or hospital reports mystery continues to surround the incident. There was a two sentence blurb in the New York Times with the headline “ Dylan Hurt in Cycle Mishap”, but few other facts were offered. After the motorcycle accident, Dylan – at the top of the musical world but an icon craving privacy – went underground to recuperate in Byrdcliffe. Taking up a Woodstock tradition, he painted, and one effort became the cover of his album “Self-Portrait”, released in 1970.
From 1968-1970, he worked with photographer Elliott Landy, who created textured images of Dylan, his wife Sara, and children. And he started working with an up-and-coming group called The Hawks, later known as The Band. Among their collaborations were the historic albums, “Music from Big Pink” and “The Basement Tapes.”
In September 1970, unable to fend off the droves of fans that continually roamed his property, Dylan moved back to Greenwich Village, again giving him the powerful vibe of a city and the ability to live somewhat more anonymously among crowds.
Find out more:
Woodstock has remained a part of Bob Dylan. . Today, he is continuing to tell telling part of his story in a book released in fall 2004, “Chronicles, Vol. 1” with “The Modern Philosophy of Song” schedule for publication in the Fall of 2022. The Woodstock era is prominent, revealing some light on the bygone chapters of his life. It’s also clear the inspiration that once fueled him in Woodstock power the creativity of artists who call the small town home today.