Eventually released in 1967, DA Pennebaker’s documentary covering Bob Dylan’s UK tour of 1965 must already have seemed ancient, so much water had flowed under the bridge in so short a time. The footage is monochrome, raw and untreated, without commentary.
Even at its most inconsequential, however, it’s utterly fascinating, given Dylan’s badger-like elusiveness and reluctance to engage with the media. What’s more, in 1965, with his pallor and upward shock of hair, Dylan was the coolest-looking man in the world, as well as rock’s most evolved specimen; the creator of Attitude, when rock was still treated as showbiz.
And there are so many highlights: being given grief by two young Liverpool fans; being bantered at by Alan Price; turning schoolmaster in a Manchester hotel – “Who threw that?”; berating a Time magazine journalist; and jousting wittily with a young Terry Ellis, later the founder of Chrysalis Records.
It’s a treasure trove – and check out the bits that clearly inspired Spinal Tap in the making of their own rockumentary.