Box of Rain

Instead of cluttering up the Dylan torrent page with articles, images, etc., I’ll just put them here.

Just a few weeks after Bob Dylan released the final album in one of rock’s greatest runs, he almost ended his life. On July 29, 1966, the singer-songwriter was riding his beloved 1964 Triumph T100 motorcycle on the back roads of Woodstock, N.Y., when he lost control and crashed.

Or did he?

It’s one of rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest stories, and one that may or may not be a myth made up by Dylan to give the proficient and burned-out artist a much-needed break from the spotlight. Like the man and his music, that motorcycle accident is shrouded in mystery. And whatever the case might be, a new Dylan emerged from the wreckage.

In mid-July 1966, Dylan released Blonde on Blonde, his third classic LP (and a double one at that) in less than a year and a half. In that time, he transformed from one of the country’s most socially conscious political singers to one of popular music’s most vital artists. He did it with three albums – Blonde on Blonde and its two 1965 predecessors, Bringing It All Back Home and Highway 61 Revisited – and a backbreaking and career-defining tour.

It all started to take a toll on him by the time Blonde and Blonde came out. Dylan was now in upstate New York with his wife, Sara Lowndes. On July 29, he was coming back from his manager Albert Grossman’s place in West Saugerties, located near Woodstock, on his bike, with his wife driving behind him. He then lost control, and reportedly ended up cracking vertebrae in his neck.

But there’s no official record of the incident. No ambulance was called, and Dylan never checked into a hospital for his injuries. Rumors began to swell, some claiming that Dylan had died or had suffered serious brain damage. Others guessed it was just a huge hoax to give him some time away from public scrutiny, or maybe even to kick a nasty drug habit.

In his 2004 autobiography, Chronicles: Volume One, Dylan wrote, ““I had been in a motorcycle accident and I’d been hurt, but I recovered. Truth was that I wanted to get out of the rat race. Having children changed my life and segregated me from just about everybody and everything that was going on. Outside of my family, nothing held any real interest for me and I was seeing everything through different glasses.” And that’s about as close to an official account of the crash we have.

That Time Bob Dylan Crashed His Motorcycle … or Did He?