This article was last updated on May 27, 2022
Demo recordings of Bob Dylan and The Band end their 1st week at #17 on Amazon.com
By Stephen Pate – One of the most ballyhooed albums in history has broken the charts at #17 on Amazon.com’s Top 100 in Music chart in the US.
Helped by a plethora of 5-star reviews from writers who heard maybe 5 leaked songs, the 139-song 6 hours plus of demoes, outtakes and jam songs is fighting its way up the charts against –
- Barry Manilow’s My Dream Duets,
- Tony Bennet and Lady Gaga’s Cheek to Cheek (Deluxe), and
- Pentatonix That’s Christmas To Me.
None of those albums, including The Basement Tapes is giving much competition to the already million selling 1989 by Taylor Swift, the only album to achieve platinum status in 2014.
At Amazon.co.uk in the UK, the Basement Tapes Raw ends the week falling in the charts to #84 while The Endless River by Pink Floyd is #1. In Germany, the Dylan album is not even charting in the Top 100.
The most comprehensive US chart the Billboard 200 has the basement tapes at –
- #42 The Basement Tapes Raw: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11
- #43. The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11
On The Billboard 200, these are entry positions for the Basement Tapes which were released November 4th, 2014.
Basement Tapes Raw or Complete – the collectors dilemma
I am amazed the $119.98 Basement Tapes Complete is outselling the $19.98 Basement Tapes Raw. For a Dylan collector or Dylanologist, there is no question of having less than everything Bob Dylan has officially released along with thousands of bootleg concerts.
In the North America the Basement Tapes Complete 6-CD version is outselling the Basement Tapes Raw 2-CD version. The exact opposite holds true in the UK and Germany where people are buying the more frugal Basement Tapes Raw.
I can only explain the US success by the dozens of reviewers giving The Basement Tapes Complete legend status as the recordings that changed music forever. That’s a total line of tripe fostered by a few people who make a living off Dylan like Brit Clinton Heylin who has been popping up everywhere waxing ecstatic over the basement tapes. Don’t discount that many articles you read in the media and online are sponsored not independent but that’s another story.
Let’s get serious. While Bob Dylan did change HIS music from drug fueled rock to country-rock, he was a small ripple on the surface of music in 1967. Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination, drug exhaustion, boredom and Vietnam War alienation were bigger factors.
Gotta have everthing
My wife says she is amazed Dylan fans collect not only different versions of the same song but can differentiate the performance one night on tour from the night before and the night after.
While she finds it amusing, there is a real reason why I prefer the Melbourne April 20th, 1966 performance of “Visions of Johanna” to the one in Sydney.
“This this used to be called Visions of Johanna but now it’s called Mother Revisited,” said an obviously stoned Dylan who was enjoying himself introducing the songs in Melbourne. See Xbox Music Streams Bob Dylan 66 Australian Tour
This level of fandom or scholarship as some call it does not come cheap. It cost about $300 to buy all three versions of The Basement Tapes Bootleg Series Vol. 11.
I plunked down $50 for the iTunes Complete to get an instant listen to the album at midnight November 4th. The Basement Tapes Complete cost me $150 including tax and The Basement Tapes Raw: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 (Vinyl) cost $100.
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By Stephen Pate, NJN Network