Bob Dylan may be celebrating his septuagenarian birthday, but the cake is being carved at the shareholders meeting. Bob Dylan means many things to many people, but in the corporate boardroom it's all about the Benjamins. Ever since his 50th, every time Dylan's birthday hits a decade, a latent and lucrative cottage industry re-emerges, offering a plethora of new editions and re-releases bearing Dylan's shining monicker. On May 24, Dylan will turn 70, and the hype is so ridiculously over the top, that 2011 takes the trophy for the sheer volume of products up for release.
While some of these releases will actually make excellent high-quality gifts for fans and collectors, others are lame rush jobs, quickly tossed together to cash in on the occasion. And the irony is that by the time Dylan's birthday finally gets here, the market will be so saturated with products that everyone clambering for placement will lose money. All Dylan fans have to do is sit it out and wait for the clearance sales.
But cynicism aside, the following is a list of all the products being released in tandem with Bob Dylan's big Seven-Oh. See ya at the store!
- Shot in '65, D.A. Pennebacker's vintage 1967 black-and-white film release Don't Look Back is being presented on Blu-ray by Docurama (compare prices).
- Sony/Legacy is also releasing Murray Werner's The Other Side of the Mirror: Bob Dylan at Newport Folk Festival, 1963-1965 on Blu-ray (compare prices).
- The children's biography, When Bob Met Woody: The Story of the Young Bob Dylan, was released by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on May 3 (compare prices).
- The new CD, Bob Dylan in Concert – Brandeis University 1963 was released by Sony/Legacy on April 12 (compare prices).
- Bob Dylan: A Spiritual Life, by Scott Marshall, dropped from the heavens of Bully! Pulpit Books on April 15.
- The new biography, The Ballad of Bob Dylan, by Daniel Mark Epstein came from Harper Books on May 3 (compare prices).
- Carlton Books dropped a new edition of Andy Gill's Bob Dylan: The Stories Behind the Songs, 1962-1969 on April 5 (compare prices).
- The updated edition of The Old, Weird America was released by Picador on April 11 (compare prices).
- The re-release of Robert Shelton's classic biography, No Direction Home (which includes an additional 20,000 words cut from the original 1986 manuscript) was released by Back Beat Books on May 1 (compare prices).
- For the serious music collector, on the heels of its Beatles and limited-edition John Lennon deluxe CD archives, Box of Vision released its (actually gorgeous) Bob Dylan music archive in April, along with retail shelf sales on May 10.
- David Yaffe's new volume of essays, Like a Complete Unknown (Yale University Press), will hit the shelves on the maestro's birthday, May 24 (compare prices).
- Chrome Dreams released the final DVD of its Dylan documentary collection. Titled Bob Dylan 1990-2006, The Never Ending Narrative, on April 19 (compare prices).
- Produced by Highway 61 Entertainment, another new DVD documentary, Bob Dylan Revealed, spilled from the racks on May 1 (compare prices).
- And let's not forget the kiddies. Even though it's not coming until November, Sterling Books has announced an illustrated version of Bob Dylan's song, “Blowin' in the Wind” for children.