Legendary singer-songwriter Bob Dylan celebrated his 80th birthday on Monday, May 24th. He was born 80 years ago at St. Mary’s Hospital in Duluth, MN in 1941. Over the years, Dylan’s name has become iconic in pop culture. His powerful songs became anthems for the civil rights and anti-war movements in the 1960s. Today, Dylan is known as one of the greatest songwriters of all time. Let’s take a look at some of his most collectible concert posters below!
Firstly, we have the poster from a Dylan concert in Honolulu, HI on August 1, 1964. This piece is presented in a straightforward boxing-style poster format with no images, like many posters from the early 1960s.
These early cardboard posters were very clean, easy to read, and definitely have a vintage feel. The poster has a bright background and a quote from the NY Times in contrasting black print. This original poster and matching ticket stub sold at auction for $5,750.00!
Dylan and Baez.
Next up, we have a poster used for a tour from late February to early March in 1965. This particular run of shows featured performances by folksinger Joan Baez. The window card tour-blank was printed on card stock and features a Toulouse-Lautrec influenced painting of Baez and Dylan by Eric Von Schmidt.
The top area was blank and was used for date and venue information. This particular poster is an early example of using images to promote musical acts as opposed to the standard boxing style. The design has bright colors and stylized lettering. It is rumored that Bob Dylan himself did not care for the design and only used it a few times. Because of this, it became hard to find. This poster has sold for $7,625.00 at auction, subsequently.
Bob Dylan and his famous Halloween show.
This is one of the earliest and most rare Dylan posters. Used for a concert at the Philharmonic Hall in NYC in 1964. The famous “Dylan Halloween show” featured traditional Dylan protest songs like The Times They Are A-Changing and Blowin in the Wind, but also included newer songs like the then-unreleased Mr.Tamborine Man that hinted toward Dylan’s new direction.
Dylan would go on to release Bringing It All Back Home in 1965 and basically left the anti-war and civil rights movements behind. The poster for this particular show was printed in bold red and black letterpress on brown kraft-type paper and measures 14” x 21.5”. Certainly, a must-have for Dylan collectors!
Bob Dylan and his harmonica.
Finally, let’s look at an original Bob Dylan window card from when he was changing the face of popular music and splitting his concerts into two halves – one set of acoustic folk music and one set of electric Rock & Roll.
This card stock poster portrays the iconic image of Dylan with his harmonica and cigarette. Then, it was common for the “tour blank” posters to feature a photo of Dylan with a blank spot below for the local venue to fill in the venue information for each stop of the tour. Only a handful of these posters were made for this stop and it’s likely most were thrown away after the show. This poster sold at auction for a staggering $21,250.00!
Undoubtedly, Dylan posters are in the top three for concert poster collectors, alongside The Beatles and Elvis Presley. There is simply no one in rock music history that’s more admired. Rolling Stone magazine once called him “the rock star other rock stars stare at backstage.” His protest songs were the voice of change for a generation and that is why people will remember his name for years to come