Dylan’s music career was a fast leap of ambitious success. His musical sounds and lyrics were expressions born within the voice of social struggles and changes. When he followed his call to play music, he drew an audience of followers and peers who would honor his music for decades.
Dylan began 1973 by signing with a new label, David Geffen’s Asylum Records when his contract with Columbia Records expired. His next album, Planet Waves, was recorded in the fall of 1973, using the Band as his backing group as they rehearsed for a major tour.
The album included two versions of “Forever Young”, which became one of his most popular songs.
As one critic described it, the song projected “something hymnal and heartfelt that spoke of the father in Dylan”, and Dylan himself commented: “I wrote it thinking about one of my boys and not wanting to be too sentimental.”
Columbia Records simultaneously released Dylan, a collection of studio outtakes, widely interpreted as a churlish response to Dylan’s signing with a rival record label.
A live version of the song, recorded in Tokyo on 28 February 1978 and included on Dylan’s album Bob Dylan at Budokan, was released as a European single in 1979.