These photos from 1964-’65 show Bob Dylan on his 1964 Triumph Tiger. Dylan infamously crashed this bike and stopped touring for eight years. “When I had that motorcycle accident…I woke up and caught my senses,” he said. “I realized that I was just workin’ for all these leeches. And I didn’t want to do that. Plus I had a family and I just wanted to see my kids.”
The Vintagent has the full story:
The Triumph must have given him a needed break from his resounding fame at the age of 23; we all know the curative effects of a ride through the woods on a scintillating and well-balanced motorcycle. He had recently released his third album, The Times They Are A’Changin’, which had gone double Platinum. His second album, Freewheelin Bob Dylan, had gone Platinum, and included the single ‘Blowin in the Wind’. His first album, 1962′s Bob Dylan, sold a mere 5000 copies. By 1964, many other artists were covering his songs and scoring hits with them as well. During the two years he owned his Tiger, Dylan had recorded four more albums; Another Side of Bob Dylan, Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, and Blonde on Blonde, all of which went gold, platinum, or double-platinum. Added to the recording dates were incessant US and European tours, appearances, and photo opportunities; a punishing schedule.
On July 29, 1966, it was announced that he had suffered injuries after ‘locking up the brakes’ on his Tiger 100, not far from his manager Alan Grossman’s house in Woodstock. Though no hospital data records an entry from Bob Dylan, he claimed to have suffered facial lacerations and ‘several broken vertebrae in his neck’. Quite an injury, yet no ambulance was summoned.
Dylan had this to say about his crash: “When I had that motorcycle accident…I woke up and caught my senses. I realized that I was just workin’ for all these leeches. And I didn’t want to do that. Plus I had a family and I just wanted to see my kids.” (Cott, Dylan on Dylan, 2006) In the months after his ‘accident’, Bob Dylan withdrew from what had been a frenetic touring, recording, and appearance schedule, and didn’t play much in public for 8 long years. His music became more personal, less political, as he explored blues and country music in later years, much to the chagrin of his fans. Nowadays he rejects political interpretations of his lyrics, but his presence at events like the March on Washington tell a different story.