Bob Dylan to reissue his almost universally loathed 1970 record Self Portrait

Bob Dylan to reissue his almost universally loathed 1970 record Self Portrait

Bob Dylan is set to reissue one of his most hated records of all time, 1970’s Self Portrait. Titled Another Self Portrait, it will come packaged as a four-disc set and feature never-before-heard material from the original acoustic recording sessions, as well as outtakes from Self Portrait, 1968’s Nashville Skyline, and 1970’s New Morning. The deluxe edition will also feature both a remastered version of the original release and a recording of Dylan and The Band’s 1969 performance at the Isle Of Wight festival (which might be the only part of this reissue that actually excites collectors).

Self Portrait has long been loathed by both fans and critics for its hokey covers of popular pop and folk songs. Rolling Stone’s Greil Marcus infamously opened his review with the phrase, “What is this shit?” For his part, Dylan contends that he made the record terrible on purpose, saying he was trying to force fans to forget about him at the height of his popularity. He told Rolling Stone in 1984 that even the horrible, self-painted cover was meant to be lackluster, saying the whole thing “was a joke,” and going on to note that his philosophy is “if you’re gonna put a lot of crap on it, you might as well load it up.” However, as Dylan notes later in the same RS feature, “the whole idea backfired,” and fans only became more resentful of his reclusive nature, pushing him to make more of the kind of music they wanted him to make.  

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