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Al Kooper: The Making of Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde / The Record That Changed Nashville

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Published on Mar 23, 2012

Belmont University, Nashville, TN: On March 13, 2012, Belmont professor/ entertainment attorney, Mark H. Maxwell, moderated a discussion with Al Kooper at Belmont University's Quonset Hut (known as Columbia's Studio "B" in the 1960's) - part of the same building complex which housed Columbia's Studio "A" (where Blonde On Blonde was recorded).

The seminar was in conjunction with Maxwell's course "Bob Dylan: His Songs, Prophetic Voice & Influence on American Music and Culture" offered at Belmont University's Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business http://www.facebook.com/curbcollege.

Al Kooper is one of the most influential musicians, songwriters, and producers of the 20th century. Although Kooper boasts incredible credentials from his fifty-year music career, he is most famous for his work with the legendary singer-songwriter Bob Dylan.

In June 1965, Al Kooper played the trademark organ riff on Bob Dylan's recording of Like A Rolling Stone - #1 on Rolling Stone Magazine's Greatest Songs of all Time List. Al was in the band at Bob Dylan's controversial debut electric performance at the Newport Folk Festival in July 1965 - #5 on Rolling Stone Magazine's List of 50 Moments that Changed the History of Rock & Roll.

In March 1966 (46 years ago last week), Al played organ on Dylan's Blonde on Blonde album in Nashville. Most all critics and rock publications put Blonde On Blonde in the Top 10 albums of all time - many put it at #1. Plus, most in the Nashville music community would agree that the stamp Dylan put on Nashville by making his records here from 1966-69 opened up Nashville as a legitimate place to make records to the rest of the pop music world.

Al also founded Blood Sweat and Tears - a group that creatively founded a hybrid genre that came to be known as "jazz-rock". Al masterminded the classic blues recording - the Super Session album with Mike Bloomfield and Stephen Stills. He discovered, developed and produced Lynyrd Skynyrd's first 3 albums, including the classic tracks Sweet Home Alabama and Free Bird.

Al played on records and performed with The Rolling Stones, B. B. King, The Who, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream, George Harrison, Tom Petty, Chuck Berry, Ray Charles and many others.

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