For Bob Dylan’s 70th Birthday, Footage From His Earliest NYC Days

Rock star, folk singer, poet, and national treasure Bob Dylan turns 70 today, and just in case you haven’t made plans to mark the occasion, we’ve got a few options for you: If you’d like some company, you can check out this Google map of all the septuagenarian celebrations worldwide to see if there will be one in your hometown. Or you can re-read Joe Queenan’s brilliantly incorrect assessment of the rebel at 50 in Spy Magazine. And if you’re feeling solitary and reflective, there’s always Chronicles Vol. 1 and DylanRadio by candlelight.

We chose to go with the lovely “Guess I’m Doing Fine” from the singer’s earliest days in New York City (now available on “The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964,” the latest installment of The Bootleg Series. Watch the trailer here). The 20-year old’s voice sounds a bit thin and plaintive, and the lament perhaps undercut by the many miles of road he hasn’t yet travelled, especially when he moans:

No, I ain’t got my childhood
Or friends I once did know.
But I still got my voice left,
I can take it anywhere I go.

But don’t be too hard on young Bobby Zimmerman… He was a whole lot older then, and he’s younger than that now.

Sheerly Avni is a San Francisco-based arts and culture writer. Her work has appeared in Salon, LA Weekly, Mother Jones, and many other publications. You can follow her on twitter at @sheerly.

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