3      CALENDAR.. 4


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1               INTRODUCTION


What a year this was! Again! A new album recorded and released, a near fatal illness, playing for the Pope, receiving the JFK Award, touring continues in the same frantic pace as before. Dylan performs a total of 95 dates in 1997, including the Beverly Hills, Bologna and San Jose gigs. Practically all these performances are highly praised by both fans and critics and this despite a life-threatening illness, the recording and promotion of a major new album and other distractions, an absolutely astounding achievement.

2               THE YEAR AT A GLANCE




3               CALENDAR



Dylan records the Time Out Of Mind album during eleven days in Criteria Studios in Miami, Florida. He once again chooses to work with Daniel Lanois, the producer of Oh Mercy. For the first time during the Never-Ending Tour members of  the touring band are involved. A number of other established session musicians are also used.

The recording sessions are later commented upon by Daniel Lanois, Duke Robillard in various interviews and a number of songs not appearing on the released record are mentioned: Girl From The Red River Shore, Mississippi.

February 9

The eleventh year of the Never-Ending Tour kicks off with eleven dates in Japan. The touring band remains the same.

March 20

Tony Garnier joins The Band for three songs at stand-up bass at their show in Carnegie Hall, New York City.

March 31

A Spring tour in Canada and the US East Coast starts in  St. Johns, Newfoundland, Canada. After more than five years and 692 shows, John Jackson is replaced by Larry Campbell a session player from New York City.

April 2

A ferry carrying the tour equipment is iced in on its way to Nova Scotia from Port aux Basques. As a consequence the shows planned for April 3 and 4 are rescheduled forcing Dylan to play no less than seven nights in a row.

April 5

Allen Ginsberg dies at the age of 70 of a heart attack in his Lower East Side apartment in New York City. The same night Dylan dedicates Desolation Row to Allen Ginsberg at the show in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.

April 7

All Along The Watchtower is performed in concert for the 1000th time at the show in Fredericton.

May 3

The second tour of the year ends with a show in Huntsville, Alabama. The shows so far have been remarkably similar to the 1996 shows, even with the new guitarist Larry Campbell.

May 22

Dylan and the touring band without David Kemper perform three songs at a Simon Wiesenthal Center benefit dinner in the International Room in the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. The Ray Pennington/Ray Marcum song Stone Walls And Steel Bars is performed for the first time.

May 24

Dylan spends his 56th birthday in his home in Malibu, Los Angeles.

May 25

Bob Dylan is admitted to hospital in Los Angeles with chest pain, initially reported as a heart attack but later diagnosed as ”histoplasmosis”, an infection of the sac                  surrounding the heart. The European summer tour, starting in the UK with double bill shows with Van Morrison is cancelled.

June 2

Dylan is released from the hospital. Columbia records issues the following press release:


”Bob Dylan was released from the hospital this weekend where he had been undergoing medical tests and subsequent treatment for pericarditis brought on by histoplasmosis. He was admitted on May 25. Doctors are continuing to treat him and are confident that Mr. Dylan will make a full recovery in four to six weeks.


When asked about his plans for his recovery period, Mr. Dylan said ”I Don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m just glad to be feeling better. I really thought I’d be seeing Elvis soon”.


While it is not known exactly how Mr. Dylan contracted histoplasmosis, the fungal condition which resulted in his illness, doctors believe that the severity of his condition was due to the length of time between the onset of symptoms and the eventual diagnosis.


Mr. Dylan was forced to cancel a European tour that was to begin June 1 in Cork, Ireland. He plans to fulfill his U.S. concert schedule, and has recently completed work on a new album that will be released later this year.

June 2

The Best Of Dylan is released.                                                                    [TOP]

June 12

Rolling Stones magazine features an interview with Jakob Dylan in which he for the first time talks about his father and his upbringing. Jakob also comments his fathers recent illness and the fact the he was on tour in Europe at the time and decided to continue the tour after having been assured that his fathers condition was not critical.

August 3

After resting all summer in his home in Malibu Dylan starts his US summer tour in Lincoln, New Hampshire. The show features two songs that have not been played since 1974, Tough Mama and 1962, Cocaine Blues. Dylan looks and sounds tired and even sits down between songs. The shows during this tour are between 90 and 100 minutes, almost 20 minutes shorter than during the Spring tour.

August 19

Release of  The Songs Of Jimmie Rodgers - A Tribute containing My Blue Eyed Jane recorded in Memphis in May 1994. The record is the first release on the new Dylan label Egyptian Records. The liner notes contains a superb essay, one of his very best prose pieces ever.


In an interview with Edna Gundersen from USA Today Dylan Talks about his recent illness. ”I was off my feet for six weeks”. ”I’m still taking medication three times a day”. ”I did get the doctors OK to do this tour”.

August 31

The 22 date US Summer Tour concludes with a show at the Spirit Fest in Kansas City.


A reissue of Biograph contains alternate versions of three songs: I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight with 5 extra seconds at the end, the Manchester 1966 version of I Don’t Believe You instead of the Belfast version on the original issue and a different version of Mixed-Up Confusion. The release is recalled but up to a 1000 copies are thought to have been sold.

September 27

Dylan performs at the World Eucharistic Congress in Bologna arranged by the Vatican and with the Pope John Paul present. The event is broadcast by the Italian state television channel RAI. Dylan with band performs three songs Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall and Forever Young. After the second song Dylan went up to the Pope, they shook hands and talked for about a minute. The Pope then gave a speech. In an earlier speech the Pope quoted Blowin’ In The Wind, which he also had requested that Dylan would sing.

September 30

Release of Time Out Of Mind.

October 1

Dylan stays on in Europe and gives a four date mini tour of Southern UK. Love Sick is the only song from the new album that is performed. The tour is done to make up for dates canceled earlier due to illness.

October 4

Dylan gives an extensive joint interview to a number of journalists from France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, and Sweden in the Metropole Hotel in London.

October 16

Dylan receives the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize at the Lotus Club in New York. The prize is presented by Richard Avendon. Dylan does not perform at this occasion. Dylan  expresses regret that he never had the chance to appear in a movie with Lillian Gish.

October 20

Rehearsals for next tour starts in the New Daisy Theatre in Memphis.

October 24

The fall tour of the US starts in Starkville, Mississippi. Three new songs from Time Out Of Mind are played: Cold Irons Bound (with Bucky Baxter on organ), Can’t Wait and ’Til I  Fell In Love With You. The soundcheck includes a full length version of Highlands.


Interview with Daniel Lanois in Irish Times in which he recalls that ”at the last second, without warning and as the record button is pressed, Dylan will change the key and the time signature. The musicians will just look at themselves and dribble in and often Bob will say ”That’s it”. That happened in at least half the tracks on this album. Not Dark Yet had a radically different feel in the demo we did, which I loved and still miss”.


Two videos from the new album is shot, Love Sick and Not Dark Yet.

November 5

The Times in England prints another exclusive interview with UK journalist Alan Jackson also from the Metropole Hotel in London in October.

November 14

The fall tour ends with ”private show” at the San José Arena sponsored by Applied Materials. The Wallflowers performs at the same show.

November 30

Bob Dylan records The Lonesome River with Ralph Stanley's Clinch Mountain Boys in Nashville. The recording is released on Clinch Mountain Country, May 1998.

December 1

Dylan starts a ”club tour” at Roxy in Atlanta, Georgia. Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife are part of the audience.

December 6

Dylan participates in a reception dinner at the White House in Washington, DC for the Kennedy Center Honors.

December 7

Dylan is given the Kennedy Center Honors Lifetime Achievement Award at a ceremony in The White House by president Bill Clinton. Among the other artists to get the award this year is Lauren Bacall. Later the same day there is a three hour concert at the John F. Kennedy Center Opera House. Dylan does not perform.

December 14

An interview with Robert Hilburn is printed in The Los Angeles Times.


The club tour ends with 5 shows at the El Rey Theater in Los Angeles.