Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Second Mrs. Dylan

One more note on Dylan: I was recently watching the DVD of the fifth season of Saturday Night Live, and on October 13, 1979, Bob made his one and only appearance on that show, in an episode hosted by Eric Idle (who introduced him as "the very wonderful Bob Dylan"). Bob sang three numbers: "Gotta Serve Somebody," "I Believe in You," and "When You Gonna Wake Up?," all taken from his recently released LP Slow Train Coming.

Although Mark Knopfler was the key guitarist on the record, he didn't appear on SNL. Dylan apparently wanted to assemble to dorkiest-looking band he could find; the only members without full beards were three-quarters of the backup singers. It was these singers that I was interested in, for I knew that one of them was Carolyn Dennis, who would end up marrying Bob and having a daughter with him (not necessarily in that order) in 1986. Dennis had been with Dylan since Street-Legal, in 1978 (one wonders if she spent her free time during those sessions writing "Mrs. Carolyn Dylan" all over her lyric sheets), and would sing on his records all the way through Down in the Groove, from 1988.

I wondered which of the three female singers she was, so I went searching on the Internet for photos of Carolyn Dennis or Carolyn Dennis-Dylan, and couldn't find anything that was clearly labeled as her. Now, I understand that Bob is fiercely protective of his privacy, as is Carolyn, apparently, but still: These people are in show business. She has sung with Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Wonder, in addition to Zimmy. Her mother was one of Ray Charles' Raeletts, which I found very interesting: At least one Raelett also gave birth to the boss's child. You'd think there would be some public documentation of Carolyn's image and identity. But no. I bet when they got married, they didn't even register anywhere.

I'm not being critical; certainly, Bob and Carolyn don't owe me anything. But you'd think a publicity photo would have survived from somewhere. The one thing I have to go on is a Farm Aid-era photo of the Queens of Rhythm, which featured Carolyn and her mom, but isn't officially captioned anywhere I've seen.

During the good-nights on that SNL, Bob came out and stood next to Eric Idle, still looking as uncomfortable as he had the entire evening. One of the singers came over and talked to him briefly as everyone was waving goodbye (Bob even offered a single stiff-armed kind of salute). I'm going to assume that that was Carolyn. Having seen that, and seen this not-well-ID'd picture, I think this is her on Bob's left:

No comments:

Post a Comment