Bob Dylan has made history on multiple fronts since his latest album crept to the No. 1 position on the Billboard 200 charts. This makes Dylan the first artist to have an album in the Top 40 in every consecutive decade since the 1960s.
With 39 studio albums under his discographical belt, the figures show that Uncle Bob has broken musical records with top-charting albums spanning across seven decades.
Rough and Rowdy Ways is Bob Dylan’s first album of original songs in eight years and has quickly become his most successful release in over a decade.
The popularity of Rough and Rowdy Ways not only makes Bob Dylan the oldest male solo artist to secure a No. 1 on the albums charts but it also deems him the oldest artist to have a No. 1 album of new and original material. The enigmatic album debuted at No. 2, with 53,000 equivalent album units sold in the U.S.
Murder Most Foul, an introspective 17-minute ballad backed by tumbling piano, dropped to streaming services with no real warning. It startled fans with its lyrical beauty and historical themes, becoming Dylan’s first No. 1 single on any Billboard chart. NPR even made a list of every song they found referenced (all 74 of them!) in the song.
The Billboard 200 charts calculate their figures by ranking the albums that are most popular each week in the U.S. on the basis of multi-metric consumption which is then measured in equivalent album sales. Units are made up by album sales, track equivalent albums and streaming equivalent albums.
Dylan’s everlasting career, which is now just shy of sixty years, is one of the longest and most prolific in music history. He’s pulled off many faces in his creative career, from the protest folky to the born again Christian, continuously working to alter his mysterious character.
Check out the trailer to the film, I’m Not There, which offers an alternative take on capturing the ever-changing persona of Bob Dylan.
Dylan’s latest 2020 album has enabled him to break historical records, making him the first artist to have an album in the Top 40 Billboard charts in seven consecutive decades. Dylan managed eight in the ’60s, fourteen in the ’70s, seven in the 1980s, four in the ’90s, another seven in 2000s, nine in the 2o10s and now one in the 2020s.
Murder Most Foul has already had 34,000 chart sales with 29,000 purchased on CD, according to Billboard. If the album continues to do as well as it has in the initial weeks since its release, Dylan’s 39th album may be the most significant piece of work he’s released in years.