Bob Dylan Takes a Break From the Rough and Rowdy Ways Tour

Bob Dylan recently paused his Rough and Rowdy Ways Tour after supporting the album whose first single dropped in 2020. But fear not, it was scheduled.

The 2,800 fans in the cozy Sala Santa Cecilia Auditorium in Rome, Italy, were the latest to be lucky enough to hear the Bard perform classic cuts from Blonde on Blonde, Slow Train Coming, and Nashville Skyline, along with every track from his latest, Rough and Rowdy Ways, except the record-breaking one.

In April of 2020, when the world was barraged with an influx of coronavirus news, Bob Dylan hit a milestone: his first #1 single, "Murder Most Foul." 

Bob Dylan's last show of the two year tour didn't contain his latest hit.

The unlikely 17-minute dredge about JFK's assassination found itself on top of Billboard's Rock Digital Song Sales chart.

It's shocking to realize that it took 39 studio records for one of the greatest and most prolific songwriter of all time to get a #1 hit. Almost as shocking as the tune that did it.

A lyric video of "Murder Most Foul" with reference pictures.

"Murder Most Foul" is so long and arduous Dylan has never played the banger live.

The only known cover version was a year ago by indie singer songwriter Erik Ritland and it might be the only time anyone has been recorded doing it.

Rough and Rowdy Ways debuted at #2 on the Billboard album chart making him the only US artist to have Top 40 albums in every decade since the 1960s. The former Mr. Zimmerman racked up eight in the 1960s, a massive 14 in the ’70s, seven in the ’80s, four in the ’90s, seven in the ’00s, nine in the 2010s, and then this bad boy when everyone was hoarding tp and hand sanitizer.

Does the 2024 on this graphic mean there are more shows in store?

The Minnesota-native had top 10 singles, but not many. Of note were 1965's “Like a Rolling Stone” and '66's “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” which went to #2.

In '63 the Dylan-penned “Blowin’ in the Wind,” went #1 for Peter Paul and Mary; and the Byrds nabbed a #1 from Bob's “Mr. Tambourine Man.”

What about when Adele covered "Make You Feel My Love" from her 2008 debut album 19? Strangely, even though that single was released several times by Adele's label it never reached #`1.

Adele covered Dylan on her debut and sang it at Griffith Observatory in 2021.

Garth Brooks, however, did make it to the top of the Country charts with it a decade previously in 1998.

While the majority of the Rough and Rowdy Ways tour have been the nine other songs off the album, Dylan regularly played two beautiful numbers from his "born again" albums: "You Gotta Serve Somebody" and "Every Grain of Sand."

Of the 138 Rough and Rowdy Tour gigs, "Serve" was served up every night and "Sand" was left off the setlist just 5 times.

"I'll Be Your Baby Tonight," a tune from 1967 (which has been covered by Norah Jones, Charlie Daniels, UB40, Robert Palmer, Rita Coolidge, Bill Wyman, and even Burl Ives), was also part of every gig.

Indeed, the 82 year old was their baby every night.

Many would assume after several years touring from an album that has pretty much reached it's peak, that would be it. Time to move on, or, as many artists do, celebrate the anniversary of a classic album with a round number.

Bob did this Bobby tune twice on this tour.

But Bob Dylan is a maverick. He does what he wants. And the graphic on his website says the tour will go on through 2024.

Will he continue to keep those two beautiful spiritual numbers in the set? Will he keep playing Grateful Dead tunes like "Truckin" as he did in Japan and Italy?

What a long, strange trip it's been. Indeed. Dylan doing the Dead in Japan.

And will he finally let audiences embrace a live version of "Murder Most Foul"?

Keep your eye on Dylan's website for tickets to the next leg of the Rough and Rowdy Ways Tour.

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