There are few people with the songwriting talents of the legendary Bob Dylan, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest songwriters of all time, one who has sold more than 125 records during a career spanning 60 years. Dylan is 81 years old on May 24, but his creativity is still as sharp as ever, as evident by unveiling his latest metalwork sculpture.
Dylan still loves performing despite him being an octogenarian, and he even released his 39th album in 2020, Rough and Rowdy Ways. However, his passion for creating visual art seems to be Dylan’s main focus these days. This week, the former Minnesota resident unveiled his largest-ever sculpture, a railway freight carriage, at Chateau La Coste, a vineyard in Provence, France.
Dylan’s Love For Visual Art
While there are not many people rushing out to place Vegas bets at the best odds on Dylan winning the 2022 Gilbert Bayes Award, awarded by the Royal Society of Sculptors, his latest work is impressive, especially when one considers Dylan’s age. Entitled “Rail Car,” Dylan sculptured the massive piece from approximately seven tonnes of iron before installing it on train tracks against the backdrop of the beautiful French vineyard.
Dylan first showed his metalwork to the public in 2013. A set of iron gates entitled “Mood Swings” were exhibited at the Halycon Gallery in London, United Kingdom. A Casino in Maryland commissioned Dylan to create an iron archway for them, while the US state department forked out almost $85,000 on another gate piece Dylan welded.
Railways and iron feature prominently in Dylan’s music and, indeed, like. He wrote about them at length in his Chronicles: Volume One memoir. Dylan was born in Duluth, Minnesota, and raised in Hibbing, Minnesota. The latter is a city built on the rich iron ore of the Mesabi Iron Range.
“I’ve been around iron all my life, ever since I was a kid. I was born and raised in iron ore country, where you could breathe it and smell it every day,” Dylan recalled in his memoirs.
The 1962 hit Train A-Travelin’ features lyrics about an iron train traveling, while Dylan used the 1979 release of Slow Train as a symbolic way to describe judgment and change. Dylan spoke of how the sight and sounds of the iron ore-carrying trains continually rolling through where he lived made him feel safe and secure.
Dylan The Musical Legend
Born Robert Allen Zimmerman on May 24, 1941, Dylan began performing in several bands while at high school, mainly covering Elvis Presley and Little Richards songs. He dropped out of college at the end of his first year in 1960 and relocated to New York, where he signed with Columbia Records in 1962.
Dylan wasted little time releasing his first album, the self-entitled Bob Dylan, in 1962. He released ten albums between 1962 and 1970, including 1964 The Times They Are a-Changin’, the title track of which is one of Dylan’s most famous tracks.
Blood on the Tracks, released in 1975, is widely considered Dylan’s greatest work. The album reached number one on the Billboard 200 and number four on the UK Albums Chart.
Dylan has released 39 albums since 1962, and despite never having a number one single, his albums have topped the charts several times, including eight in the United Kingdom and five in the United States. Dylan’s 2020 release, Rough and Rowdy Ways, went straight to number one in the UK.
Although Dylan has never officially ended the tour he started in the late 1980s, we are unlikely to hear any fresh material from him because he sold his songwriting rights to Universal for a rumoured $400 million in 2020 before selling his catalog of recordings to Sony Music Entertainment in 2022 for an additional $200 million. More likely are more paintings, drawings, and sculptures from the great man.