Bob Dylan makes chart history with 39th studio album

Bob Dylan’s ‘Rough and Rowdy Ways’ follows three albums of cover versions, namely ‘Shadows in the Night’ (2015), ‘Fallen Angels’ (2016) and the triple album ‘Triplicate’ (2017). (AFP pic)

NEW YORK: The 79-year-old singer-songwriter released “Rough and Rowdy Ways” on June 19, marking his first album of new songs since 2012’s “Tempest.”

The critically-acclaimed full-length debuted at No 2 on the revered Billboard 200 chart, amassing three million streams and the equivalent of 53,000 album units in the United States.

While the chart’s No. 1 spot was held by Lil Baby’s sophomore album “My Turn,” “Rough and Rowdy Ways” notably became Dylan’s highest-charting full-length since 2009’s “Together Through Life.”

The album was preceded by the release of “Murder Most Foul,” in which the Nobel Prize-winning musician chronicles American history in the wake of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963.

According to Billboard, the 17-minute song became Dylan’s first No. 1 single under his own name on a Billboard chart, debuting atop Rock Digital Song Sales with 10,000 downloads between its release on March 27 and April 2.

Even more surprisingly, Dylan became the first artist to reach the Top 40 with a new album in each decade from the 1960s to the 2020s.

Although the award-winning musician made his Billboard 200 debut at No 125 with “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” in 1963, he has since achieved eight albums in the Top 40 in the 1960s, 14 in the 1970s, seven in the 1980s, four in the 1990s, seven in the 2000s, nine in the 2010s and one in the ‘20s.

As the 2020s decade has just started, Dylan could face some serious competition from Barbra Streisand, who has garnered a No. 1 album in each decade from the 1960s through the 2010s, but has not released a new album since 2018’s “Walls.”

In the meantime, Dylan was scheduled to hold 15 concerts in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan this past April, but was forced to cancel the performances in reaction to the coronavirus pandemic.