Series Based On Dylan's Songs Coming To Amazon

Lionsgate TV is developing a TV show for Amazon that will have episodes based on the characters and stories in the Bob Dylan songbook. But this wouldn’t be a story about Dylan if there weren’t more questions than definitive answers.

“With its story and characters inspired by some of Mr. Dylan’s narrative lyrics, the show has initially been titled ‘Time Out of Mind,’ after the singer’s hit 1997 album, which won three Grammy Awards and has sold over one million copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music,” writes Hannah Karp, who broke the news in the Wall Street Journal. “The show spans decades but is set partly in the 1960s and 1970s in New York, where Mr. Dylan got his start.”



The hour-long drama series, which is in the early stages, “will be spearheaded by Australian writer-director Josh Wakely, who managed to secure the wide-ranging rights deal for Dylan’s song catalog,” writes Cynthia Littleton forVariety.

Wakely’s Sydney, Australia-based production company, Grace, announced a deal earlier this year to produce an animated children’s series for Netflix, “Beat Bugs,” featuring stories inspired by Beatles tunes, Littleton reports. Eddie Vedder, Pink and Sia are among those signed to record Beatles covers.

Details about “Time Out of Mind” are sketchy.

“It doesn't have a cast or a premiere date, and it isn't even clear how the show is going to use and interpret Dylan's work in a dramatic context,” points out Jamieson Cox for The Verge. “Variety notes that characters from two separate Dylan songs could ‘wind up colliding in some way,’ but he's also written plenty of songs that could serve as fodder for self-contained, standalone episodes. The show could also end up looking something like ‘I'm Not There,’ Todd Haynes' widely praised 2007 biopic that used six different performers to capture the span of Dylan's life.”

Or something like that.

“Episodes will be peppered with snippets of Mr. Dylan’s songs that serve to advance the show’s plot, in addition to providing a soundtrack,” the WSJ’s Karp reports, based on a source said to be familiar with the matter. “Some of the back story in the first episode, for example, draws from Mr. Dylan’s 1964 ‘The Ballad of Hollis Brown,’ a song about a destitute man on a South Dakota farm who shoots himself and his family in desperation.”

“The series marks the latest music-based endeavor for Amazon's streaming service,” points out Jon Blistein for Rolling Stone. The Web giant has already scored a hit with “Mozart in the Jungle” — centered on the classical music world — and they're also developing a Grateful Dead bio-series based on ex-roadie Steve Parish's memoir, Home Before Daylight. Amazon Studios also helped produce Spike Lee's 2015 musical-satire “Chi-Raq” and is currently prepping “Elvis & Nixon” with Michael Shannon and Kevin Spacey in the titular roles, respectively.

Speaking of Amazon and Dylan, as Cody Williams is on, “the legendary singer, songwriter, and musician has a new album coming out, Fallen Angels, and that album is going to be streaming on Amazon Prime Music once it’s released” on May 20, four days before Dylan’s 75th birthday.

Yes, 75. In fact, “Dylan Fest: A Celebration of Bob Dylan's 75th Birthday,” will take place on May 23 and 24 at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium to benefit Thistle Farms, a community of women who have survived prostitution, trafficking and addiction. It will feature more than 30 artists performing Dylan's tunes, including Kesha, Emmylou Harris, Jason Isbell, Kacey Musgraves, Ann Wilson, Kurt Vile, Wynonna & The Big Noise and Boz Skaggs, Billboard’s Gil Kaufman reports.

By the way, one of the first singles from Fallen Angels, “Melancholy Mood,” is already streaming on Amazon Prime Music, Williams reports. And speaking of fallen angels, if all this seems a bit crass for the quintessential Sixties folk singer-songwriter-hero, don’t think twice. Going commercial has been all right with Dylan for some time now.

1 comment about "Series Based On Dylan's Songs Coming To Amazon".
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  1. Anglyn Hays from Free Lance Writer Hire Me!, April 15, 2016 at 11:48 a.m.

    By all means, market and remarket the 60s to the hippie generation because no one has thought to sell that demographic nostalgia for their youth.  How original!

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