Bob Dylan Makes Chart History In UK
Bob Dylan's enduring influence on music history is no surprise by now, but even at the age of 79 he's still breaking records and impressing music fans all over the world.
With his latest album titled Rough and Rowdy Ways—the singer's 39th, an incredibly impressive feat—Dylan has broken two records. He's become the oldest male solo artist to reach number one on the UK charts and the oldest artist to hit the top spot with an album of new and original material. The new LP is Dylan's ninth number one and arrives 56 years after his first chart-topper.
Released on June 19, Rough and Rowdy Ways is the musician's first collection of new songs in eight years. It's received great reviews from critics, with Rolling Stone declaring it "one of his most timely albums ever," while The Guardian stated it's "a testament to his eternal greatness." The BBC wrote that it confirms how artists "in their 70s could continue to be relevant."
Hitting number one at his age while breaking two records is an incredibly impressive feat, but it only serves to confirm Bob Dylan's legacy as one of the greatest songwriters of our time. The Nobel Prize Winner is proving that age is nothing but a number and that he's still got it.
Before the historic new record, the previous oldest male solo musician to reach number one was Paul Simon, who at 74 went to number one with his album Stranger to Stranger in 2016. The oldest artist to gain a chart-topping album was the late Dame Vera Lynn, who hit number one with her greatest hits album We'll Meet Again in 2009.
Dylan's first number one album in the UK charts was his second LP The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, all the way back in 1963—56 years ago. Rough and Rowdy Ways is the ninth album of his to reach number one in the UK charts, putting him alongside other music royalty such as Queen and Abba in overall rankings.
He's joined at the top of the charts by Neil Young, whose new album Homegrown came in at number two. Martin Talbot, the managing director of the Official Charts Company told the BBC:
"It's an extraordinary achievement by Bob Dylan and Neil Young...I imagine they didn't really expect to be topping the charts together [in 2020] when they first started out over 50 years ago...Rock and roll is basically getting older. The artists from the early days of modern popular music are in their 70s and when Bob Dylan puts a record out now, there's always going to be interest in it."
Rough and Rowdy Ways debuted with 34,000 chart sales, including 29,000 of which were purchased on CD. Talbot commented on this to the BBC, explaining:
Harry Scott/Redferns/Getty Images
"Fans of Bob Dylan and Neil Young were raised in that era in the '60s and '70s when you'd go down to your record shop and pick up your vinyl album and leaf through it and read the liner notes...They still want that tactile, personal, physical experience."
Are you a fan of Bob Dylan? What do you think of his incredible achievement? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to pass this on to any music lovers in your life!