In 1997 my sister and her boyfriend got engaged. For their wedding song, I suggested a cut from the then-new Bob Dylan album Time out of Mind, “Make You Feel My Love.” My sister and her fiancé were big Dylan fans but they did not yet have that album. I was working at Sony Music at the time, so I picked up a copy at work and gave it to them. They fell in love with the song and went with my suggestion.
Back then I worked with Dylan’s manager on a regular basis. I told him the above story and, trying to come up with a great wedding gift, asked if Bob could sign something that I can frame and present to them. He said I should send him something for Bob to sign, and the next time Bob was in the office he’ll ask him. No promises, no guarantees.
I bought the sheet music for the song and mailed it to Bob’s manager. I waited. And waited. And waited.
My sister and her fiancé got married. I learned that proper etiquette allows for a wedding gift to be bestowed upon the newlyweds for up to a year following the wedding day. So I waited. And waited. And waited.
While in the car with my sister one day she asked me “Where’s our wedding gift?” I told it had not yet arrived. She said “You tell whoever you ordered it from you’ll never do business with them again.” Sure. Will do. Then she asked, “Can you get us tickets to the Bob Dylan concert next month?” I’ll try.
I changed jobs, leaving Sony to head up the licensing department at Zomba Recording Corporation. My friend Laura remarked “You’re going from Bob Dylan to Britney Spears?” That was a great move on my part (not because of any problems with Dylan), but that’s the subject for a different blog entry. I called Dylan’s manager to let him know of my new role and that I was still hopeful Bob would sign the sheet music.
A few weeks later, I got a call. “Glenn, what is your new work address? I have something for you.”
The next day, I received a FedEx envelope. I opened it up and removed the sheet music that was inside. Across the first two pages of the song was written “To Debbie and Brett – Best wishes on your wedding! – Bob Dylan.” Holy fuck!
I brought it to a frame shop, hoping with every fiber in my being that nobody there would steal it or ruin it. They did a great job making a custom frame for the music.
I called my sister to tell her I have her gift and to schedule when I could take a bus out to Bronxville and give it to her. She said “I figured out what it is! BOB DYLAN’S COMING TO DINNER!!!” Yeah, Bob Dylan will wait with me at the Port Authority to board a bus to Bronxville. Won’t she be disappointed that all I got was sheet music for her wedding song personally-autographed by the song’s composer, a legendary singer-songwriter of whom she and her husband are big fans.
She may have been disappointed when Bob didn’t get off of the bus with me, but she loved the gift. I don’t know if I’ll ever top that one.
Today Bob Dylan turns 73. Encapsulating an extensive career with so many high points into a brief playlist is a challenge. I decided to stick with twenty songs, limiting myself to only one song per album selected and not sticking with the most obvious choices. He’s a great artist and a cool gifting aide.