In mid-1966, following a whirlwind couple of years in which he became a legend and a reluctant star, Bob Dylan withdrew from the public eye. And he found a reason that was fitting of his testy image at the time: He claimed he was in a motorcycle accident, which fans still dispute to this day. Was it real? Or was it staged so that the increasingly agitated and reclusive singer-songwriter could get away from it all for a while and clear his head?
Hit singles are not usually associated with Bob Dylan. The man and his songs stand above the fray in the overall scheme of things, but the Billboard singles charts, with a couple exceptions, was never his home away from home. After releasing his debut album in the spring of 1962, Dylan headed back into Columbia Studios to record material for his second album, 'The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan.' Recording began in October 1962 with what was Dylan's first foray into rock and roll territory.
Given that songs like 'Blowin' in the Wind,' 'Only a Pawn in Their Game' and 'The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll' perfectly captured the mood of the Civil Rights Movement, you'd think Bob Dylan would be one of the last people to be accused of racism. But the legendary songwriter has officially been accused by French authorities of "public insult and inciting hate."
Race, politics and religion are subjects probably better left out of conversation in mixed company, even if you happen to be conversing with one of rock's greatest living poets. Just ask Bob Dylan, who's accused of making racist comments in a lawsuit recently filed by an organization called the Council of Croats.