Here's What Went Down At Bob Dylan's Mysterious "Shadow Kingdom" Livestream Concert

Bob Dylan in 2019

Dave J Hogan/Getty Images for ABA


Here's What Went Down At Bob Dylan's Mysterious "Shadow Kingdom" Livestream Concert

When the clock ticked to zero for Bob Dylan's "Shadow Kingdom" livestream, nobody knew what to expect. What fans got was another side of his '60s and '70s hits—and a few quintessentially Dylan curveballs

GRAMMYs/Jul 19, 2021 - 08:14 pm

Ever since Bob Dylan announced his "Shadow Kingdom" livestream on the Veeps platform, its origins have been shrouded in, well, shadow. So many questions swirled around his fan community: Why did Dylan wait until gigs were coming back, at least in America, to hold a livetream? Would Blake Mills or Fiona Apple, who memorably appeared on Dylan’s 2020 album Rough and Rowdy Ways, show up to jam?

The lead-up wasn't completely detail-free: A July 1 Instagram preview offered a sneak peek of the event’s atmosphere, with a subtitle reading "The Early Songs of Bob Dylan." But that was all that fans from Mobile to Mozambique had to work with. Right until the timer ticked to zero—and then, perversely, flipped back to 10 minutes—they clamored for answers in the comments.

Then, an 80-year-old Dylan materialized in a throwback juke joint, surrounded by barflies and vagabonds, with a masked and anonymous band and laid into a bunch of tunes he hadn't performed in years, including some he hadn't played since the Clinton administration. The people watching in between offered an extra layer of curiosity: Dylan's zany zebra shirt, mysterious ladies gazing into the camera for minutes at a time, and enough cigarette smoke to worry a climate scientist.

Some viewers craved Rough and Rowdy Ways in its entirety: When Dylan and the group kicked things off with 1971's "When I Paint My Masterpiece," they probably deflated a bit. Still, the performance was lovely, establishing both the instrumental palette (mandolin, upright bass, accordion, and Dylan on acoustic guitar) and visual language (monochrome, floating between the turn of the century and the 1950s).

Watch: GRAMMY Rewind: Watch Bob Dylan Accept His GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award In 1991

As the tunes tumbled along, from "Queen Jane Approximately" to "Tombstone Blues," it became apparent what Dylan wasn't going to play: no "Blowin' in the Wind," no "The Times They Are A-Changin'," no topical tunes of yore to speak to our battered moment today. But what fans ultimately experienced was a masterful performance, one which showed how bulletproof even his slightly lesser-known songs remain all these years later

And as for that "early songs" subheadline? That designation stretched all the way forward to 1989. One of the absolute highlights of the event came via a rare performance of "What Was It You Wanted," an Oh Mercy ballad that not even a diehard Dylanologist would have expected. (He hasn't performed the song live since 1995.) But as with other deep cuts, like 1967's "The Wicked Messenger," it stood tall next to Dylan’s greatest hits.

Even with its conservative concept, presentation and vibe, "Shadow Kingdom" was a sometimes mind-blowing crash course in the power of words and melodies. It wasn't a given that Dylan would perform "Forever Young" accompanied by tack piano, giving it a glimmer that reminds us that Elliott Smith worshipped him. But it underlined its sentiment like never before, imbuing a radio-rock favorite with fresh layers of emotion.

After an unforgettable version of "It's All Right Now, Baby Blue"—a song covered by the Byrds, the 13th Floor Elevators and numberless other acts—that unfurled like a tapestry, the program ended unceremoniously after almost exactly an hour. Fans waiting for a sequel with "Murder Most Foul" in there will have to come back next time, if there ever will be a next time. 

For all that, the "Shadow Kingdom" livestream offered more than enough for devotees to chew on and underlined a basic truth: Everyone who picks up a guitar and a pen has had to reckon with Bob Dylan. And there he was, right in his wheelhouse, a Janus-like bluesman, the keeper of his kingdom. We may never see the likes of him again.

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ReImagined At Home: Watch Ant Clemons Croon The Cosmic Blues In Performance Of Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine"

Ant Clemons


ReImagined At Home: Watch Ant Clemons Croon The Cosmic Blues In Performance Of Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine"

Singer/songwriter Ant Clemons puts his own spin on Bill Withers' immortal "Ain't No Sunshine" in an exclusive performance for ReImagined At Home.

GRAMMYs/Jun 15, 2021 - 08:13 pm

Why has Bill Withers' immortal hit, "Ain't No Sunshine," endured for decades? And, furthermore, why does it seem set to reverberate throughout the ages?

Could it be because it's blues-based? Because it's relatable to anyone with a pulse? Because virtually anyone with an ounce of zeal can believably yowl the song at karaoke?

Maybe it's for all of those reasons and one more: "Ain't No Sunshine" is flexible

In the latest episode of ReImagined At Home, check out how singer/songwriter Ant Clemons pulls at the song's edges like taffy. With a dose of vocoder and slapback, Clemons recasts the lonesome-lover blues as the lament of a shipwrecked android.

Giving this oft-covered soul classic a whirl, Clemons reminds music lovers exactly why Withers' signature song has staying power far beyond his passing in 2020. It will probably be a standard in 4040, too.

Check out Ant Clemons' cosmic, soulful performance of "Ain't No Sunshine" above and click here to enjoy more episodes of ReImagined At Home.

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GRAMMY Rewind: Watch Will Smith Dedicate His 1999 Best Rap Solo Performance GRAMMY To His Son

Will Smith at the 1999 GRAMMYs


GRAMMY Rewind: Watch Will Smith Dedicate His 1999 Best Rap Solo Performance GRAMMY To His Son

In his acceptance speech, he offers thanks to his family and "the jiggiest wife in the world, Jada Pinkett Smith"

GRAMMYs/Sep 25, 2020 - 11:17 pm

Today, Sept. 25, we celebrate the birthday of the coolest dad—who else? Will Smith! For the latest episode of GRAMMY Rewind, we revisit the Fresh Prince's 1999 GRAMMY win for Best Rap Solo Performance for "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It."

In the below video, watch rappers Missy Elliott—donning white leather—and Foxy Brown present the GRAMMY to a stoked Smith, who also opted for an all-leather look. In his acceptance speech, he offers thanks to his family and "the jiggiest wife in the world, Jada Pinkett Smith." He dedicates the award to his eldest son, Trey Smith, joking that Trey's teacher said he (then just six years old) could improve his rhyming skills.

Watch Another GRAMMY Rewind: Ludacris Dedicates Best Rap Album Win To His Dad At The 2007 GRAMMYs

The classic '90s track is from his 1997 debut studio album, Big Willie Style, which also features "Miami" and 1998 GRAMMY winner "Men In Black," from the film of the same name. The "Está Rico" rapper has won four GRAMMYs to date, earning his first back in 1989 GRAMMYs for "Parents Just Don't Understand," when he was 20 years old.

GRAMMY Rewind: Watch Michelle Obama, Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, J. Lo & Jada Pinkett Smith Open The 2019 GRAMMYs

Body Count Perform "Black Hoodie" | 2018 GRAMMYs

Body Count

Photo: Jeff Kravitz


Body Count Perform "Black Hoodie" | 2018 GRAMMYs

Ice-T & Co. blaze through their GRAMMY-nominated track

GRAMMYs/Jan 29, 2018 - 07:12 am

If there's one way to powerfully encapsulate anger, metal music might just be one of the most effective outlets. Such is the case with band Body Count and their track "Black Hoodie."

The group — fronted by legendary rapper Ice-T—  got political with the Best Metal Performance GRAMMY-nominated slugger, railing against the shooting of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012. The band didn't hold back their rage, tapping into the zeitgeist of what many are feeling in today's political climate.

Body Count brought the unapologetic song to the 60th GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony with a performance that won't soon be forgotten. Take a look for yourself.

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Recordings By Janet Jackson, Louis Armstrong, Odetta & More Inducted Into The National Recording Registry

Janet Jackson

Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images


Recordings By Janet Jackson, Louis Armstrong, Odetta & More Inducted Into The National Recording Registry

Selections by Albert King, Labelle, Connie Smith, Nas, Jackson Browne, Pat Metheny, Kermit the Frog and others have also been marked for federal preservation

GRAMMYs/Mar 25, 2021 - 02:37 am

The Librarian of Congress Carla Haden has named 25 new inductees into the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress. They include Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation 1814,” Louis Armstrong’s “When the Saints Go Marching In,” Labelle’s “Lady Marmalade,” Nas’ “Illmatic,” Kool & the Gang’s “Celebration,” Kermit the Frog’s “The Rainbow Connection” and more.

“The National Recording Registry will preserve our history through these vibrant recordings of music and voices that have reflected our humanity and shaped our culture from the past 143 years,” Hayden said in a statement. “We received about 900 public nominations this year for recordings to add to the registry, and we welcome the public’s input as the Library of Congress and its partners preserve the diverse sounds of history and culture.”

The National Recording Preservation Board is an advisory board consisting of professional organizations and experts who aim to preserve important recorded sounds. The Recording Academy is involved on a voting level. The 25 new entries bring the number of musical titles on the registry to 575; the entire sound collection includes nearly 3 million titles. Check out the full list of new inductees below:

National Recording Registry Selections for 2020

  1. Edison’s “St. Louis tinfoil” recording (1878)

  2. “Nikolina” — Hjalmar Peterson (1917) (single)

  3. “Smyrneikos Balos” — Marika Papagika (1928) (single)

  4. “When the Saints Go Marching In” — Louis Armstrong & his Orchestra (1938) (single)

  5. Christmas Eve Broadcast--Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill (December 24, 1941)

  6. “The Guiding Light” — Nov. 22, 1945

  7. “Odetta Sings Ballads and Blues” — Odetta (1957) (album)

  8. “Lord, Keep Me Day by Day” — Albertina Walker and the Caravans (1959) (single)  

  9. Roger Maris hits his 61st homerun (October 1, 1961)

  10. “Aida” — Leontyne Price, (1962) (album)

  11. “Once a Day” — Connie Smith (1964) (single)

  12. “Born Under a Bad Sign” — Albert King (1967) (album)

  13. “Free to Be…You & Me” — Marlo Thomas and Friends (1972) (album)

  14. “The Harder They Come” — Jimmy Cliff (1972) (album)

  15. “Lady Marmalade” — Labelle (1974) (single)

  16. “Late for the Sky” — Jackson Browne (1974) (album)

  17. “Bright Size Life” — Pat Metheny (1976) (album)

  18. “The Rainbow Connection” — Kermit the Frog (1979) (single)

  19. “Celebration” — Kool & the Gang (1980) (single)

  20. “Richard Strauss: Four Last Songs” — Jessye Norman (1983) (album)

  21. “Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814” — Janet Jackson (1989) (album)

  22. “Partners” — Flaco Jiménez (1992) (album)

  23. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”/”What A Wonderful World” — Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (1993) (single)

  24. “Illmatic” — Nas (1994) (album)

  25. “This American Life: The Giant Pool of Money” (May 9, 2008)

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