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October 22, 2022

Outtakes From the Cover Shoot for Bob Dylan’s “Bringing It All Back Home”

Bringing It All Back Home is the fifth studio album by Bob Dylan. It was released on March 22, 1965, by Columbia Records. The album reached No. 6 on Billboard’s Pop Albums chart, the first of Dylan’s LPs to break into the US top 10. It also topped the UK charts later that spring.

The front cover for the album Bringing It All Back Home.

The back cover for the album Bringing It All Back Home.

The album’s cover, photographed by Daniel Kramer with an edge-softened lens, features Sally Grossman (wife of Dylan’s manager Albert Grossman) lounging in the background. There are also artifacts scattered around the room, including LPs by the Impressions (Keep on Pushing), Robert Johnson (King of the Delta Blues Singers), Ravi Shankar (India’s Master Musician), Lotte Lenya (Sings Berlin Theatre Songs by Kurt Weill) and Eric Von Schmidt (The Folk Blues of Eric Von Schmidt). Dylan had “met” Schmidt “one day in the green pastures of Harvard University” and would later mimic his album cover pose (tipping his hat) for his own Nashville Skyline four years later. A further record, Françoise Hardy’s EP J’suis D’accord, was on the floor near Dylan’s feet but can only be seen in other shots from the same photo session, as well as a copy of the Wilhelm/Baynes version of I Ching.

Visible behind Grossman is the top of Dylan’s head from the cover of Another Side of Bob Dylan; under her right arm is the magazine Time with President Lyndon B. Johnson as “Man of the Year” on the cover of the January 1, 1965 issue. There is a harmonica resting on a table with a fallout shelter (capacity 80) sign leaning against it. Above the fireplace on the mantle directly to the left of the painting is the Lord Buckley album The Best of Lord Buckley. Next to Lord Buckley is a copy of GNAOUA, a magazine devoted to exorcism and Beat Generation poetry edited by poet Ira Cohen, and a glass collage by Dylan called “The Clown” made for Bernard Paturel from colored glass Bernard was about to discard.

Dylan sits forward holding his cat (named Rolling Stone) and has an opened magazine featuring an advertisement on Jean Harlow’s Life Story by the columnist Louella Parsons resting on his crossed leg. The cufflinks Dylan wore in the picture were a gift from Joan Baez, as she later referenced in her 1975 song “Diamonds & Rust.” Daniel Kramer received a Grammy nomination for best album cover for the photograph.
“This is one of the shots I’ve been sitting on for 50 years. It has never been seen before. I wanted the shot to express the fact that Bob Dylan was about to change. He’s not the guy in the leather jacket any more. Now, he’s the guy in the dark sport blazer wearing nice cufflinks. There’s no guitar in the shot because I saw him not as any one kind of performer but as a prince of music. I had been in the sessions for the album, so I knew now who he was musically. 

“The photo was shot in Albert Grossman’s house. The room was the original kitchen of this house that’s a couple hundred years old. The fireplace is big enough to cook in. The divan, which was multicolored, was a gift from Mary Travers, of Peter Paul and Mary, to Albert and his wife, Sally, for their wedding. Bob contributed to the picture the magazines he was reading and albums he was listening to. Bob wanted Sally to be in the photo because, well, look at her! She chose the red outfit.”
On the back cover (also by Kramer), the woman massaging Dylan’s scalp is the filmmaker and performance artist Barbara Rubin.









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