Bob Dylan is releasing his first album of new music in eight years following a spurt of creativity from the man regarded as one of the world’s most influential songwriters.
‘Rough and Rowdy Ways’ will be released on June 19, according to a brief announcement on Dylan’s official website early on Friday. It will be a double album but no further details were given.
The announcement followed the release late on Thursday of a third new song by Dylan – “False Prophet.”
“I ain’t no false prophet, I just know what I know, I go where only the lonely can go,” sings Dylan, 78, in the bluesy track.
In late March, Dylan surprised fans by releasing a 17-minute song, “Murder Most Foul,” inspired by the assassination more than five decades ago of U.S. President John F. Kennedy.
It also included free-wheeling observations about pop culture and multiple song references stretching back to the 1960s, when he burst onto the scene as a folk singer before turning to electric rock music later in the decade.
Three weeks later, he released a second song, “I Contain Multitudes.”
Dylan, who shuns publicity but still tours the world in small venues, gave no details about when the music for the new album was written and recorded.
The author of iconic 1960s counterculture songs including “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “Like a Rolling Stone,” last released an album of original music in 2012 with “Tempest”.
Tempest featured a tribute to murdered Beatle John Lennon and a 14-minute song about the sinking of the Titanic.
His influence has not waned. Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016 and his handwritten lyrics to “Like a Rolling Stone” fetched a world record $2 million when they were sold at auction by Sotheby’s in New York in 2014.
A hand-written page of lyrics for his 1963 song “The Times They Are A-Changin’” is currently up for sale by Los Angeles-based autograph dealers Moments in Time with an asking price of $2.2 million.
Dylan was one of the international artistes group, USA for Africa, that performed the iconic “We are the world” used to raise funds for some hunger-stricken African nations in the 80’s.
It featured musicians as Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, Bruce Springsteen, Lionel Richie, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Billy Joel, Kenny Rogers, James Ingram and Paul Simon, the Pointer Sisters among others.
The single sold more than 20 million copies then for charity.