A New Ride Down Dylan's 'Highway': What Do Millennials Think Of The Album? Bob Dylan's seminal album, Highway 61 Revisited, celebrates its 50th birthday over the weekend. To mark the occasion, we're asking five of NPR's millennials to take a listen to the 50-year-old LP.
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A New Ride Down Dylan's 'Highway': What Do Millennials Think Of The Album?

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A New Ride Down Dylan's 'Highway': What Do Millennials Think Of The Album?

A New Ride Down Dylan's 'Highway': What Do Millennials Think Of The Album?

A New Ride Down Dylan's 'Highway': What Do Millennials Think Of The Album?

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/435577938/435577939" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Bob Dylan's seminal album, Highway 61 Revisited, celebrates its 50th birthday over the weekend. To mark the occasion, we're asking five of NPR's millennials to take a listen to the 50-year-old LP.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Sunday marks the 50th anniversary of Bob Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited." It's the album that brought us "Like A Rolling Stone."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LIKE A ROLLING STONE")

BOB DYLAN: (Singing) Once upon a time, you dressed so fine. You threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn't you?

CORNISH: Rolling Stone Magazine gushed just yesterday that "Highway 61 Revisited" is Dylan's strangest, funniest, most baffling and most perfect album. Many a baby boomer who can still remember hearing it on the hi-fi back in their high school or college days would agree, so it's a classic, a part of our shared culture identity.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LIKE A ROLLING STONE")

DYLAN: (Singing) How does it feel?

JORDAN-MARIE SMITH: Oh, I think I've heard this on some commercial.

(LAUGHTER)

CORNISH: That's Jordan-Marie Smith. She's 21 years old and one of a handful of millennials we lured into a studio today to go through "Highway 61 Revisited" for the first time.

COLIN MARSHALL: I'm Colin Marshall. This is "Tombstone Blues" by Bob Dylan.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TOMBSTONE BLUES")

DYLAN: (Singing) The sweet, pretty things are in bed now, of course. The city fathers, they're trying to endorse the reincarnation of Paul Revere's horse.

SMITH: I really like this one. Like, he's telling a story, basically. He's not so much singing a story. This reminds me of, like, some of the things that I hear now, maybe, like, Cold War Kids.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TOMBSTONE BLUES")

DYLAN: (Singing) I'm in the kitchen with the tombstone blues.

MARSHALL: If Bob Dylan was just starting out in this day and age, this song is something you could definitely hear as the sun's going down on ACL Festival.

(LAUGHTER)

SMITH: He'd definitely be a South by Southwest hit.

(SOUNDBITE OF BOB DYLAN SONG, "BALLAD OF A THIN MAN")

HUGO ROJO: I'm Hugo Rojo, and this is "Ballad Of A Thin Man."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BALLAD OF A THIN MAN")

DYLAN: (Singing) You walk into the room with your pencil in your hand. You see somebody naked, and you say, who is that man? You try so hard, but you don't understand just what you will say when you get home.

SMITH: I want to know who he was influenced by. Although, I don't know - well, I know barely nothing about Bob Dylan. I know a lot about, like, blues and jazz from black American artists back in the day. And I want to know who his influences were.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BALLAD OF A THIN MAN")

DYLAN: (Singing) And you know something's happening, but you don't know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?

SMITH: I'm Jordan-Marie Smith, and this is "Highway 61 Revisited."

(SOUNDBITE OF BOB DYLAN SONG, "HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED")

SMITH: I don't like this.

(LAUGHTER)

ANNIE JOHNSON: I feel like I'm at a carnival right now.

SMITH: I don't like this.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED")

DYLAN: (Singing) Oh, God said to Abraham, kill me a son. Abe said, man, you must be putting me on.

MARSHALL: I'm hearing name after name being thrown out and action after action being thrown out as part of the lyrics that make the song.

JOHNSON: I get a very distinct visual when I hear a lot of this music - that iconic drifter walking down the road, like, carrying a guitar, and he's only got couple of coins, trying to catch a bus to somewhere.

SMITH: He would be the coolest guy. Like, everyone would have a crush on him.

MARSHALL: Taylor Swift would probably date him for a little bit.

JOHNSON: Taylor Swift would bring him on stage during one of her shows.

MARSHALL: Yes.

SMITH: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED")

DYLAN: (Singing) ...That way down Highway 61.

CORNISH: Our listeners were NPR's Hugo Rojo and Annie Johnson, both 23, Jordan-Marie Smith, 21, and Colin Marshall, 24. They were listening to Bob Dylan's 61 "Highway 61 Revisited." The album turns 50 on Sunday.

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