Watch CBS News

Rare photos offer intimate look at music icon Bob Dylan

The wild traveling caravan ride that was Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue Tour is beautifully captured in the limited edition book "Rolling Thunder: Photographs by Ken Regan," to be published by Ormand Yard Press.

Regan had an illustrious career photographing music, sports, Hollywood and political greats. Notorious for his discretion, he won Dylan's trust through the simple act of not publishing photos he had taken of the musician's mother at a concert. As a result, Dylan gave him exclusive full access for the Revue tour.

The tour included music greats Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Ramblin' Jack Elliott and T-Bone Burnett. Poet Allen Ginsberg and actor Sam Shepard were part of the entourage, which created a communal atmosphere. The whole purpose was to travel around and perform at small concert venues, places like the Bitter End in New York's Greenwich Village.

"Bob had given me free rein to shoot it all -- onstage, offstage, dressing rooms, parties, trailers, whatever was going on," said Regan. There was just one caveat, though: no photos of Dylan's family could be released publicly. It was a handshake deal, without a written contract between the two men.

The tour took place in two parts. The first leg began on Oct. 30, 1975 at the War Memorial Auditorium in Plymouth, Mass and ended with a benefit concert for the imprisoned boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter at New York's Madison Square Garden on Dec. 8, 1975. There's a surprising image in the book of Dylan and Muhammad Ali backstage. Ali gave Dylan the gift of a huge boxing glove, which can be seen behind Dylan in the photo.

After a break, during which Dylan's album "Desire" was released, the tour resumed in April the following year. The energy seemed to have disappeared and the tour petered out. In all, Dylan and his assembled entourage performed 57 concerts.

The 75 photos in the book have been chosen from an archive of incredible breadth -- almost 14,000 photos -- few of which have been seen publicly till now. Regan had a particular knack for capturing unique off-stage moments with his discreet style. Publisher Guy White said "it's a beautiful book -- my only regret is that Ken passed away in 2012 and will not get the chance to see it."

View gallery

The edition size may be small -- just 750 copies -- but the book is in an ultra-large format measuring 24 inches by 18 inches. In creating the large-scale format, the publisher wanted to make a statement about the book being a piece of art in its own right.

White's favorite image in the book is the one on the cover of Dylan "with hat and scarf that appears on the front of the slipcase and cover of the book.

"It was a moment that was captured in a few seconds by Ken without any pre-planning and is one of Ken's best loved images of Bob Dylan from this period."

"Rolling Thunder: Photographs by Ken Regan" will be published by Ormond Yard Press March 2016 and available for pre-order Feb. 1 as Limited Edition of 750 individually numbered copies. Retail price on publication £395 ($563).

Radhika Chalasani is the senior photo editor at -On Twitter

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.