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He's Got Everything He Needs, He's An Artist He Don't Look back
May 24, 2011 3:41 PM   Subscribe

Bob Dylan is 70 today.
posted by Xurando (210 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
I got him this.
posted by barrett caulk at 3:43 PM on May 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Happy birthday Bob!

(and I'm 54 today!)

(cause it's May 25th in Japan)

posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:45 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Happy Birthday flapjax! Oh, and Bob too.
posted by garnetgirl at 3:47 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, and I got him this.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:47 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I read this, Bob Dylan is 70 today. And I felt old. Then I read this, Happy birthday Bob! (and I'm 54 today!) And felt less old. By 2 years. Hey, every bit helps. Happy birthday, flapjacks. I got you this.
posted by Splunge at 3:54 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Ah, but I was so much older then. I'm younger than that now. "
posted by entropicamericana at 3:54 PM on May 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


In honor of Bob's birthday, everybody must get stoned. (I'm not sure that's how he meant it, but, what the hell)
posted by tomswift at 3:56 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am 52 today, and far more talented that that whiny sixties throwback. And I am not talented at all.
posted by Decani at 3:56 PM on May 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


decani: i wish that for just one time, you could stand inside my shoes; you'd know what drag it is to see you.
posted by entropicamericana at 4:00 PM on May 24, 2011 [31 favorites]


I am 52 today, and far more talented that that whiny sixties throwback. And I am not talented at all.

Happy birthday Decani. I got you this.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:01 PM on May 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


Judas!
posted by Threeway Handshake at 4:02 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Who?
posted by The Owls at 4:05 PM on May 24, 2011


Judas!

I don't believe you. You're a LIAR. PLAY IT FUCKING LOUD.
posted by Kinbote at 4:05 PM on May 24, 2011 [12 favorites]


Is there a more significant living American artist?
posted by Trurl at 4:05 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes.
posted by Splunge at 4:07 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


For me, Bob will always be 69 going on 70.
posted by Postroad at 4:07 PM on May 24, 2011


Madonna
posted by oddman at 4:07 PM on May 24, 2011


Democracy Now spent a good portion of their broadcast today on Dylan's birthday. (various formats available at the link)

Decani: sometimes your lack of understanding and knowledge is amusing. Other times it's outstanding. This time it's just stupid.
posted by hippybear at 4:08 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Threeway/Kinbote context here.
posted by Kinbote at 4:08 PM on May 24, 2011


Madonna quit being American years ago.
posted by hippybear at 4:08 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rolling Stone (which is apparently still around) has a trove of stuff for the occasion.

Happy Birthday, Bob! We love you!
posted by Capt. Renault at 4:09 PM on May 24, 2011


Lady Gaga is 25.
posted by 2bucksplus at 4:09 PM on May 24, 2011


Indiana Jones is 70.

Captain Kirk is 80.

I don't like the fact that time is linear. This sucks.
posted by tzikeh at 4:10 PM on May 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


I am 52 today, and far more talented that that whiny sixties throwback.

I don't believe you.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:12 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am 52 today, and far more talented that that whiny sixties throwback. And I am not talented at all.

Each time you play that song it sounds different and yet the same.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 4:14 PM on May 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


That's the best "This Wheel's on Fire," and it's coming to me at 47 bytes/second. I will listen to it on Bob's 71st.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 4:16 PM on May 24, 2011


......................................................................
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:19 PM on May 24, 2011


Happy birthday Decani. I got you this.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:01 AM on May 25


That's nice, and I appreciate the thought, but I must inform you that I am not trolling. You really need to understand that "Contrary Opinion" does not mean "Trolling". Okay? Can you grok that?

I honestly, no really, despise and revile Dylan. I am not trolling. I think that not only is he a shitty songwriter and a vocalist so bad it hurts, I think he's a symptom of where America went wrong, in the sixties. He's a slack-witted, lazy, sexist, self-satisfied little prick. And he can't sing for shit. He's this... this... smug little privileged whiny motherfucker who saw a niche and wanked all over it, and all the smug little privileged whiny motherfuckers in America - and, sadly, elsewhere in the sixties - bought his bullshit like the witless, spoonfed twunts they were.

If you listen to Dylan's drivel objectively, what do you hear? A guy singing pseudo-profound lyrics with a voice like a sixties friction-drive toy being endlessly revved against a nylon carpet by a spoilt American brat. With forty verses. "Lay Lady Lay"? Really? Across your big brass bed? In a whiny voice? Fuck off, you droning snot. Dylan was, and is, useless.
posted by Decani at 4:21 PM on May 24, 2011 [14 favorites]


Bob who?
posted by Mister Fabulous at 4:22 PM on May 24, 2011


I guess that puts the rainy day women at 67 and 80.
posted by klausman at 4:24 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Desolation Row is one of the most beautiful works of art ever created, and it profoundly affected the way that I thought about words and art and meaning and intent from a very early age - I suppose I was five or six when I first began to puzzle it out, and i'm still puzzling it to this day. Maybe I don't understand it at all, but to me it's one of the most perfectly formed works of surrealism. I find his voice on that song to also be sublime.

Happy birthday Bob, and thanks.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:25 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Make that 57 and 80, respectively.
posted by klausman at 4:26 PM on May 24, 2011


Maybe Decani witnessed a crime...
posted by KokuRyu at 4:27 PM on May 24, 2011


Nah, you're trolling, Decani. You're doing the equivalent of saying "what the fuck did Picasso know? Look at how he couldn't even make a realistic looking violin". You have no sense of context out of which he sprang; you have no clue about the change he wrought on the scene he was involved in, both as a participant and as a iconoclast.

I'm not going to bother to educate you about this, because obviously your mind has been made up for years. But you're utterly wrong in your assessment. It's okay to say something which is nearly universally lauded isn't to your taste. But to state things in the terms you're using indicates that you are simply trolling with your contrarian opinion and will brook no true discussion which could lead to illumination.

I wish you well on your birthday.
posted by hippybear at 4:27 PM on May 24, 2011 [26 favorites]


but I must inform you that I am not trolling.

If you come to a birthday party specifically to shit on the birthday boy -- you can see how we come to that conclusion.

Bob is my sunshine!
posted by Capt. Renault at 4:28 PM on May 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


Happy birthday, flapjax at midnite! You've been a great spouse*.

* yeah, remember this meme? Kinda thought you guys forgot about it. Kinda thought you didn't really care about your spouse Foci.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 4:31 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Decani, now you have to tell us what music you like, so someone else can vituperate it, and so on.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:32 PM on May 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Interesting op-ed in the NYT today discussing just how many influential musicians were 14 in 1955 or 1956, the years rock 'n' roll really exploded and probably had a formative influence on people like McCartney, Lou Reed, Paul Simon, Joan Baez, Jimmy Hendrix, Brian Wilson, Carole King. Similar to Malcolm Gladwell's contention in Outliers that the year someone was born has a lot to do with their potential for success in a certain field because they were the right age to take advantage of transformational moments in their industry.
posted by incessant at 4:33 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think he's a symptom of where America went wrong, in the sixties.

Is this just a blanket contrarian position, or is there something more fully-formed you could elucidate? How else should America have responded to the Vietnam war and the civil rights movement? Is it just the music you dislike, or the larger political environment of that time?
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:33 PM on May 24, 2011


I am not trolling.

No; you're threadshitting.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 4:34 PM on May 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


Maybe it's just Faze's day off.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:35 PM on May 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


Bob Dylan is 70 today.

How does it feel?
posted by jonmc at 4:38 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Decani: "I am 52 today, and far more talented that that whiny sixties throwback. And I am not talented at all."

Pointed threats, they bluff with scorn
Suicide remarks are torn
From the fool’s gold mouthpiece the hollow horn
Plays wasted words, proves to warn
That he not busy being born is busy dying
posted by octothorpe at 4:41 PM on May 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


I don't like the fact that time is linear. This sucks.

It's really not. This happened yesterday. This will happen next week.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:41 PM on May 24, 2011


Kinda thought you guys forgot about it. Kinda thought you didn't really care about your spouse Foci.

a leaf drops on the river
the river carries it away
with a memory just as sharp
as that needle in the hay
but you know i won't forget you
come what will or come what may

posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:41 PM on May 24, 2011


Don't worry everybody, Decani must be from Time Magazine.
posted by docgonzo at 4:42 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Maybe it's just Faze's day off.

Faze would do a far better job of it.
posted by jonmc at 4:42 PM on May 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Bob Dylan has many facets, some of them miserable and some of them embarrassing to see, but the high points of his particular art were very high indeed.
posted by Morrigan at 4:42 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


And I am not talented at all.

No shit, sherlock.
posted by jonmc at 4:47 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Woah.

/Keanu
posted by Splunge at 4:49 PM on May 24, 2011


Fuck off, you droning snot

Indeed.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 4:51 PM on May 24, 2011


Oh wait, I was reading that backwards.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 4:51 PM on May 24, 2011


decani: i wish that for just one time, you could stand inside my shoes; you'd know what drag it is to see you.
posted by entropicamericana at 12:00 AM on May 25


Well, I feel positively 4th street about that. Oh, ouch.
posted by Decani at 4:54 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


(of course the 'contrary opinion' bullshit is hilarious coming from someone who went ballistic [now deleted, thankfully] when people made fun of his matinee idol Christopher Hitchens)
posted by jonmc at 4:54 PM on May 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I wrote him a tribute poem when I was young, but it was silly and embarrassing. A friend wrote him a play. Another friend wrote a detailed poem about what she'd like to do sexually to him. I was one of the few people who enjoyed his recent gig, and I reviewed it.

I'm not the only one who's paid tribute, though. David Bowie has a bit of an awkward song. Loudon Wainwright III was very clever about it. Nine Days did a decent song about him. I wrote a silly essay on that too.

I can't even begin to talk about what Dylan means to me. The first album of his I bought was Live At Budokan, which is regarded as his worst album but I still love it. I remember listening to it under the bridge near my house with the pigeons. Blood on the Tracks got me through so much. The wordplay on Blonde on Blonde and Highway 61 informed the way I talked and wrote and recited. Watching Don't Look Back turned me into a bit of an asshole. On September 11th, 2001, I'd planned to go to the record store and buy Love and Theft. Instead I just blasted Hard Rain out of my window.

A few years ago I'd had a very strange night. I'd been trapped in an elevator after a gig and was stranded in a bad part of town. A friend let me crash on his couch, but I was keyed up and nervous and tense. I wasn't sure how I'd get to sleep. Across from me was a poster of Bob Dylan, and I knew that everything would be alright.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:56 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]



If you listen to Dylan's drivel objectively, what do you hear? A guy singing pseudo-profound lyrics with a voice like a sixties friction-drive toy being endlessly revved against a nylon carpet by a spoilt American brat. With forty verses. "Lay Lady Lay"? Really? Across your big brass bed? In a whiny voice? Fuck off, you droning snot. Dylan was, and is, useless.


It's a wonder that you still know how to breathe.


You picked one of his weakest lyrics from one of his weakest songs to make your point. Lay Lady Lay works because, for once, Dylan isn't tossing off bitter insults or surreal couplets. He's trying to be straightforward and seductive.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:57 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


That Democracy Now episode I linked to earlier is pretty awesome stuff. Interviews with Pete Seeger, Joan Baez... really early tape of him doing various things... I highly recommend it for the Dylan people who like such things.

I also highly recommend Scorsese's No Direction Home documentary, which is jaw-droppingly good.
posted by hippybear at 4:58 PM on May 24, 2011


You picked one of his weakest lyrics from one of his weakest songs to make your point.

No that would be "If Dog's Run Free, Why Not We." "Lay Lady Lay," is not a great lyric, but it's a really good country ballad.
posted by jonmc at 4:59 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I honestly, no really, despise and revile Dylan.

In Decani's defense, Joni Mitchell doesn't think much of him either.

And to my mind, even counting Clouds, Joni Mitchell is heads and shoulders a greater artist than Dylan.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:01 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


(Doesn't think much of Dylan, that is to say. No idea what she thinks of Decani)
posted by IndigoJones at 5:02 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


KokuRyu: Maybe Decani witnessed a crime...
This video contains content from SME. It is not available in your country.
Sorry about that.
Is the crime DRM or IP filtering? If so, it's a weird analogy to Dylan, but still a heinous crime.
posted by filthy light thief at 5:03 PM on May 24, 2011


The first album of his I bought was Live At Budokan, which is regarded as his worst album but I still love it.

I actually like Budokan. Under a Red Sky is the one I find nearly-criminally awful. I listened to it exactly once -- I haven't had the courage to go near it again.
posted by Capt. Renault at 5:03 PM on May 24, 2011


You picked one of his weakest lyrics from one of his weakest songs to make your point.

No that would be "If Dog's Run Free, Why Not We." "Lay Lady Lay," is not a great lyric, but it's a really good country ballad.


My least favorite is 'Blowing In The Wind'. I used to think I dislike his protest songs, but listen to The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll and you could see how sharp even his 'finger pointing' songs are. Lonesome Death works because it's so specific, and knows where to point the finger.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:03 PM on May 24, 2011


My least favorite is 'Blowing In The Wind'.

Really? It's overplayed, yes, but it's a good piece of work and it inspired Sam Cooke to writ "A Change Is Gonna Come."
posted by jonmc at 5:04 PM on May 24, 2011


We can post tribute songs about Bob Dylan?

Cool.

Because Bob Dylan Wrote Propaganda Songs.

(I don't really understand how someone can have a hate-on for Dylan. He's done so much, for so long, so unevenly, that it's easy to find horrible crap, but his best work is pretty fucking great, IMO. I'm not a big fan, but c'mon, "God said to Abraham, kill me a son/Abe said, man, you must be puttin' me on/God said no, Abe said what/God said you can do what you want Abe but/the next time you see me comin' you better run" -- that's a great lyric. And he's always surrounded himself with a great touring band. I mean, damn, this 1975 Rolling Thunder Revue version of Isis? That ROCKS BALLS.)
posted by BitterOldPunk at 5:07 PM on May 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


If you never had a chance to fingerpick "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" in the darkness at 2AM

If you never had the chance to move the crowd by singing "Tangled Up In Blue" with a big 12-string guitar

If you never had the chance to mourn a lost love with "Visions of Johanna"

Then you'll never know what Dylan's music has meant to me since 1963.

Thanks, Bob, and many happy returns of the day.
posted by rdone at 5:08 PM on May 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


In retrospect, piling onto Decani is sort of mean. If I had nothing better to do on my birthday than act like a thread-crapping derailing pill, I would probably be a wee bit cranky too.

Super happy future birthday, Flapjax!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 5:08 PM on May 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Look, at the very least it's perfectly legitimate to point out that Dylan is a shit vocalist whose voice -- certainly now, but even in his heyday, really -- seems purposely deployed to cause physical pain.

That weirdly emphatic tuneless drone he locks into at the end of each phrase just enrages me. "Where are YOU! toNIGHT!, sweet maRIE!" ARGGGHH SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP.
posted by eugenen at 5:09 PM on May 24, 2011


Dylan
posted by Decani at 5:10 PM on May 24, 2011


Guess I'll just wander blindly into this and just say, all you idiots who've been dissing old man Bob are idiots that he will bury in time. Or certainly, the undying power of his life's work will.

And now I will actually read the thread and see how of context I am.
posted by philip-random at 5:10 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is there a good Dylan bootleg or a remaster or something without any harmonica in it? Every so often, I think, I'm gonna try listening to Dylan again. I start an album, I think, hey, this is really good, then he starts playing that fucking harmonica. It's like listening to a child mashing the keys of a piano.
posted by stavrogin at 5:10 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]




Look, at the very least it's perfectly legitimate to point out that Dylan is a shit vocalist whose voice -- certainly now, but even in his heyday, really -- seems purposely deployed to cause physical pain.


I really like it, actually. It has wisdom and experience and pain and truth.

I recently saw I'm Not There and it helped remind me why I love about Dylan. He's just more than us. Every other lyricist I love can somehow be reduced to a set of tropes or circumstances. I love John Darnielle, but most of his songs are going to have a moment of horror and a moment of religious revelation. You can't do that with Dylan. I'll hear even Like A Rolling Stone for the millionth time and find something new it.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:12 PM on May 24, 2011


Lonesome Death works because it's so specific, and knows where to point the finger.

I'd say the same thing for "Only a Pawn in Their Game", except that the finger was pointing to an entire system of propaganda aimed at the economically oppressed poor whites of the American south, whipped into race hatred by their governments and economic overlords. Dylan was 23 years old when he wrote it, in 1964. It was an astonishingly astute political observation coming from such a young man.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:13 PM on May 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Early on, Dylan realized that the essence of the old music was not to be found in the particular styles of picking and singing rigorously classified by the ethnographers and carefully preserved by purists. Traditional music was idiosyncratic, created by thousands of unique individuals working their personal artistry on whatever musical materials came to hand, in cotton fields, coal mines, granges, churches, factories, ports, city streets and country roads.
posted by Trurl at 5:16 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Dylan
posted by Decani at 5:10 PM on May 24 [+] [!]


Also
posted by eugenen at 5:17 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


And, on behalf of all the smug little privileged whiny motherfuckers in America, natal felicitations and props to flapjax! You don't look a day over 40!
posted by rdone at 5:18 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Don't worry everybody, Decani must be from Time Magazine.
posted by docgonzo at 12:42 AM on May 25


Ooh, I wish. That would be even better than having mad fetish sex with P. J. Harvey.

I've said too much. AGAIN.
posted by Decani at 5:21 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have ambivalent feeling myself about Bob Dylan's aesthetic merits, but to judge him by that alone (or even primarily) would be missing the point. Dylan was quintessentially American. His story is bound up with ours, and that's a really difficult thing to appreciate from outside the cultural box.
posted by dephlogisticated at 5:22 PM on May 24, 2011


I have ambivalent feeling myself about Bob Dylan's aesthetic merits, but to judge him by that alone (or even primarily) would be missing the point. Dylan was quintessentially American. His story is bound up with ours, and that's a really difficult thing to appreciate from outside the cultural box.

I haven't seen it, but in addition to the aforementioned erotic poem another Aussie friend wrote a popular play about Dylan.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:27 PM on May 24, 2011


A twelve year old explains:

"Everybody says Bob Dylan has an awful voice, but if it's so awful, then why do I like it so much? So sharp and cool and even though most of the songs don't rock that much, his voice sure does, always singing so hard. And then there's the words."

I've quoted that before, but it bears repeating.

As for Blowing In the Wind -- yeah overplayed to the point of cliche, but I do find the rocked up live version from 1974 quite palatable. It's on the album "Before The Flood"
posted by philip-random at 5:29 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


but if it's so awful, then why do I like it so much?

Because twelve-year-olds are ... not smart?
posted by enn at 5:34 PM on May 24, 2011


Metafilter: I am 52 today, and far more talented that that whiny sixties throwback. And I am not talented at all.

Self immolation is not a talent?
posted by timsteil at 5:37 PM on May 24, 2011


Lay Lady Lay works because, for once, Dylan isn't tossing off bitter insults or surreal couplets. He's trying to be straightforward and seductive.

Uh, you know it's about his dog, right?
posted by docgonzo at 5:38 PM on May 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Everybody says Bob Dylan has an awful voice, but if it's so awful, then why do I like it so much?

I dunno, because you're out of your mind? There's no accounting for taste, I guess, and obviously a lot of people dig Dylan's singing, but to me it's about as unappealing as someone's voice can be. I don't even see this as an aesthetic judgment, per se. For example, David Byrne's voice isn't really to my taste, but I dig his songs, and am perfectly content to listen to the Talking Heads while occasionally wishing he sang differently. Dylan's voice is different. It's viscerally unpleasant. It makes me want to flee the room.
posted by eugenen at 5:38 PM on May 24, 2011


I love Dylan. Also, the most comparable person from that scene who is still playing today is probably Peter Stampfel, who I also love. Compared to Stampfel, Dylan is a dulcet-toned singer of immanently straightforward songs. Both of them understood that to be true to musical traditions means adapting them to the idiosyncrasies of your own nature.
posted by snofoam at 5:39 PM on May 24, 2011


70 is a milestone for anyone. I just always figured he would want to revisit 61. See what I did there?
posted by timsteil at 5:41 PM on May 24, 2011


That weirdly emphatic tuneless drone he locks into at the end of each phrase just enrages me. "Where are YOU! toNIGHT!, sweet maRIE!" ARGGGHH SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP.

I quite like Dylan, but this is hilarious.

Also, as somebody who didn't choose Dylan, but rather was brought up with his music at my parents' choice, I can think of much worse. Yeah, he sings in a nasal whine and his lyrics are abstruse, but it's a good tune.
posted by Jehan at 5:44 PM on May 24, 2011


If you listen to Dylan's drivel objectively, what do you hear? A guy singing pseudo-profound lyrics

Something is happening here but you don't know what it is,
do you, Mr. Jones?

In a whiny voice? Fuck off, you droning snot. Dylan was, and is, useless.

Now ain't the time for your tears.
posted by orthogonality at 5:48 PM on May 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


I was a major Dylan freak in my teens, had almost every piece of vinyl (yes, vinyl) that he ever officially released and a few that he didn't, and I still remember a lot of his lyrics to an extent that shocks me. I listen less to Bob these days, but he's definitely produced some hellaciously good music.

And I think he's becoming an even better singer with age. I'm not trolling, I'm not bullshitting, and I'm not grading on a curve. I find his voice genuinely moving and sometimes a great joy to listen to. No matter how many people proclaim that any sane grownup with a scintilla of taste can't possibly genuinely like Dylan, some of us really, really do think he can deliver a song. He's my aural cilantro: not to everyone's tastes, true, but addictive nonetheless.
posted by maudlin at 5:52 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


My mom and dad went to college during the sixties, and I they had three or four of Bob Dylan's albums in their extensive record collection. Decades later, my brother and Bob Dylan's son became good friends in middle school, and they'd go to each other's houses after school to play Atari, ride bikes, or play music. So Bob Dylan would sometimes come over to our house to pick up his son.

At the dinner table, my mom told my dad, "Bob Dylan stopped by earlier. I invited him in for coffee, but he wouldn't come in. He just said, 'Nah. No thanks.' and he just sat in his car in the driveway."

"He just sat out there? Like a complete unknown?" asked my dad.

"Don't criticize what you can't understand." laughed my mom.

"Can I go to the arcade this weekend?" asked my brother.

"I don't know, can you?" asked my mom.

My brother sighed. "May I go to the arcade this weekend?"

"May lady may, may I go to the arcade..." hummed my dad, as he helped himself to another ear of corn.
posted by mattdidthat at 5:53 PM on May 24, 2011 [21 favorites]


Neil Young on Bob
posted by philip-random at 5:55 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The very first album I purchased was "Greatest Hits", 1967. I still have that album, and I still listen to it on a regular basis.

There is something about dropping that on the turntable (yep, still have a turntable, amp, equalizer, and a couple of huge speakers that take up WAY too much room), setting it to spinning, carefully placing the arm down and listening to the very.same.sound waves I listened to when I was in high school. I've listened to that album through a lot of girlfriends, two wives, two kids, 5 step-kids, 3 years in the army, 6 years of college and more jobs than i want to think about.

I've owned 15 motorcycles, 4 VW beetles, 2 VW vans, and god knows how many crappy american cars since I purchased that album, none of them held up this well.

I've listened to it through Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush II, and Obama.

It went through the VietNam war with me, I've listened to it while we fought in the Gulf (twice), I listened to it while I worried if my sons were going to be drafted. What Dylan said made some sense.

I've seen best friends die, lost parents, lost a son, seen all my grandparents move to the next level. Sometimes listening to Dylan helped.

I've protested wars, civil rights, and other injustices listening to Dylan because Woody was gone.

Happy Birthday Mr. Dylan, and thanks.
posted by HuronBob at 5:55 PM on May 24, 2011 [21 favorites]


Dylan fan Brian Cronin of Comics Should Be Good! is posting 70 Dylan Comic Book References tonight in celebration of the man; many of them are titles or lyrics used in the title of the comic, but there's some fun and sort of obscure ones in there, too. There are two posts up so far, with more to come.

And I made a Dylan FPP once.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:05 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Infidels is his best album
posted by fire&wings at 6:07 PM on May 24, 2011


My mom dated Bob Dylan, briefly, when he was Bobby Zimmerman.

I forget this fact sometimes. I just remembered.

Life is weird.
posted by tzikeh at 6:15 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]



My mom dated Bob Dylan, briefly, when he was Bobby Zimmerman.

I forget this fact sometimes. I just remembered.

Life is weird.


tell me more tell me more

a local radio station plays tribute

AV club lists some of the weird shit he's done
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:17 PM on May 24, 2011


I don't really like anything I've ever heard by Bob Dylan, but I hope he's having a nice birthday today.
posted by usonian at 6:25 PM on May 24, 2011


(of course the 'contrary opinion' bullshit is hilarious coming from someone who went ballistic [now deleted, thankfully] when people made fun of his matinee idol Christopher Hitchens)
posted by jonmc at 12:54 AM on May 25



I went "ballistic"? Really? Did I?

Please feel free to post a link to where I went "ballistic". I trust you'll excuse me while I finish off this lovely bottle of Laphroaig in the meantime.
posted by Decani at 6:29 PM on May 24, 2011


I went "ballistic"? Really? Did I?

I already said it was deleted, genius.
posted by jonmc at 6:42 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


He's this... this... smug little privileged whiny motherfucker who saw a niche and wanked all over it, and all the smug little privileged whiny motherfuckers in America - and, sadly, elsewhere in the sixties - bought his bullshit like the witless, spoonfed twunts they were.

There are actually a few others here and there who like Dylan's stuff. Here's a partial list:

smug little privileged whiny motherfuckers
janitors, managers, cabbies and truckers
firefighters, haberdashers, candlemakers too
people that ain't got nothing to do
midwives, lacemakers, potters and scribes
jailers, prisoners, takers of bribes
fortune tellers, bricklayers, coaches and clerks
real nice people and total jerks
i could go on with this list all day
but i'll end it now, cause i just wanna say...

Bob, happy birthDAAAAY!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:42 PM on May 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


> AV club lists some of the weird shit he's done

"As if attempting to finally cement his status as a cultural enigma, Dylan decided it wise to record a Christmas album...the apex of this work may be the creepily produced music video for the Brave Combo polka track “Must Be Santa,” which depicts a wigged Dylan in the midst of a polka party that mysteriously goes awry, the way so many polka parties do. Watch Dylan shrug, shuffle, and hide behind his fake hair as a house full of people half his age dance their way into chaos. There’s a chance Dylan is just fooling around on this one, right?"

"A chance"? Shit, Dylan's been doing stuff just to fuck with people and/or for the hell of it (that Victoria's Secret commercial is hilarious, even if VS wasn't in on the joke) his entire career. People are so committed to the idea of him being a Serious Artist that they don't give his sense of humour enough credit.

Happy birthday, Bob!
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:45 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Whoa. Dylan worked with Brave Combo? Awesome. (Brave Combo is one of the better live shows you will ever see. Embrace the polka.)
posted by BitterOldPunk at 6:51 PM on May 24, 2011


Damn, I LOVE Must Be Santa. LOVE.
posted by maudlin at 6:59 PM on May 24, 2011


I logged in just to favorite that, flapjax...

And, Decani... sheesh... this would have been a good thread for you to stay out of... you don't like him, you don't like him.... so?
posted by tomswift at 7:04 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


A few minutes ago on the front porch I played Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues on a twangy old parlor guitar for my two-year old daughter, who actually sat through the whole thing. I had no idea it was Bob's birthday, and I always wonder why people hate on him so much. It's a lost cause, probably -- the last person I tried to convince agreed that, okay, Dylan can technically control his voice, but his mother still should have aborted him.

I don't hang out with that guy anymore.

Some people just hate a lot of stuff, and for those kind of people, Dylan is always on the menu. Some people just like to write songs and paint pictures. I wish there were a few more of the latter.
posted by swift at 7:07 PM on May 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Hey, have you all heard the unreleased Dylan/Johnny Cash tracks?
posted by tomswift at 7:09 PM on May 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


NO! Where are they? WHERE?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:10 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Lay across my big brass bed"

Okay, that's cool, I suppose. I used to say "Hey, how about a beer and a burger?" Man, it never worked. Never. And Bob got to screw Joan Baez. Damn. Life. Damn.
posted by Decani at 7:11 PM on May 24, 2011



Some people just hate a lot of stuff, and for those kind of people, Dylan is always on the menu. Some people just like to write songs and paint pictures. I wish there were a few more of the latter.


I was kinda expecting some hate, but I was thinking more that there'd be some well-reasoned arguments or people who aren't into the genre and then the Dylan fans could say debate or correct them or point out that, no, he wasn't actually a protest singer but admit that, yes, he really did write some nasty songs about women but those were about specific women and he also wrote nasty songs about everyone else.

Instead - drive by snark.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:15 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Decani has a crush on Baez, I KNEW IT!
posted by wheelieman at 7:17 PM on May 24, 2011


"This song is very deep."
posted by ovvl at 7:31 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Prior to the summer of '94, I knew only the real mainstream stuff and didn't care much for it. I did love " Tweeter and the Monkey Man." It is such a great parody and tribute to Springsteen. Anyway, I had a friend in '94 who gave me a cassette with Infidels on one side and Blood on the Tracks on the other. I instantly fell in love with " Idiot Wind" and " Jokerman." After that, it was soon "Visions of Johanna," "Brownsville Girl," and "Dark Eyes."

As I kid I was a fan of Weird Al and I would often write parodies of popular songs. I wrote my last one in the summer of '94. It was a parody of "Hurricane" called "Orange Juice:"

Knife cuts through bone in a Brentwood night
Enter Cato the dog from out of the dark
He sees a waiter in a pool of blood
Cries out, "Bark! Bark! Bark! Bark! Bark! Bark!"

Here come's the story of the Orange Juice
A man with a history of spousal abuse
But that was in the past
Put in a prison cell but last
Year he could have been up on a Wheaties Box


And so on and so forth. There is a probably a reason that was my last one.
posted by flarbuse at 7:37 PM on May 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Cries out, "Bark! Bark! Bark! Bark! Bark! Bark!"

This.
posted by swift at 7:42 PM on May 24, 2011


And Bob got to screw Joan Baez. Damn. Life. Damn.

You sound like a jealous monk.
posted by orthogonality at 7:56 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am glad to share a birthday with this man and not, say, Adolf Hitler. Squee!
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 7:59 PM on May 24, 2011


a quick and dirty upload of the cash/dylan unreleased tracks.. I didn't even take the time to name them.. have fun...
posted by tomswift at 8:11 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have loved Dylan since discovering Another Side and Bringing it all back home in my parents' record collection when I was 13 or so. I've worn out so many cassette tapes, replaced so many scratched CDs, and generally just listened to so much Dylan since then that I almost can't do it anymore. I still come back to it and marvel every so often though, especially to the boots. And when I do, I always think of this lyric:

And if we never meet again, baby, remember me
How my lone guitar played sweet for you that old-time melody
And the harmonica around my neck, I blew it for you, free
No one else could play that tune, you know it was up to me


He is a singular talent.
posted by ericost at 8:27 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wasn’t looking for any special assistance
Not going to any great extremes
I’d already gone the distance


Series of Dreams
posted by pianomover at 8:48 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Music is just one of those things Metafilter doesn't do well.
posted by anazgnos at 8:59 PM on May 24, 2011


Decani: "(of course the 'contrary opinion' bullshit is hilarious coming from someone who went ballistic [now deleted, thankfully] when people made fun of his matinee idol Christopher Hitchens)
posted by jonmc at 12:54 AM on May 25



I went "ballistic"? Really? Did I?

Please feel free to post a link to where I went "ballistic". I trust you'll excuse me while I finish off this lovely bottle of Laphroaig in the meantime.
"

Now you're trolling. You don't just "finish off" a fine single malt like that. You savor the ending of a fine friendship. You sniff the last glass, sigh and maybe shed a tear.

Finish off?

You finish off a sandwich. You finish off a burrito. You finish off a keg beer.

You regret the ending of a fucking relationship with that lovely bottle.

You plebe.
posted by Splunge at 9:02 PM on May 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


There must be some way out of here.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:04 PM on May 24, 2011


Said the Joker to Batman.
posted by Splunge at 9:06 PM on May 24, 2011


For those that want to complain, gripe, put down Dylan... yeah, his voice is a bit grating sometimes, but his thoughts and lyrics are worth your time... take his voice out of the equation, and listen to this version of Forever Young, and tell me he isn't an important factor in our music and poetry.
posted by tomswift at 9:07 PM on May 24, 2011


We have a replacement ready when needed.
posted by eegphalanges at 9:09 PM on May 24, 2011


Music is just one of those things Metafilter doesn't do well.

Music is a thing that people get emotional about, and have radically divergent opinions about. Threads go the way they go. Sometimes people pop into threads with offhanded dismissals, and that's a prob in music threads because of the emotions of fans for sure, but that shit happens in the vast majority of threads. If we didn't have divergent opinions, then this would be some boring-ass "me too" shit, comment after comment after comment. At least when someone takes a dump in a thread, you get some good solid responses about why someone else likes musician x, and I enjoy that, if not the pile-on. I like it when I'm caused to think, especially about art. Why does Dylan appeal to me and rankle others? Food for thought. A conversation we can have.

Some people value politeness more than others, and other people are gruff and blunt with their opinions. I think since we're mostly adults, we can handle it. I like to lean towards the polite side, since I've got lots of people here I call friends, but I can see the value in allowing blunt disagreement.

Even though Decani is 30 shades of wrong.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:17 PM on May 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Also. There have been plenty of times I've wished I could shove that harmonica down his throat sideways. He seems incurious about how it even operates, which is distinctly at odds with his rigor as a guitarist, lyricist, and yes, vocalist.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:18 PM on May 24, 2011


I can see the value in allowing blunt disagreement.

You're a poop and I hate your face.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:18 PM on May 24, 2011


MetaFilter does everything well. It's the damn people that mess things up.

MetaFilter doesn't hate your favorite whatever. People do.
posted by Splunge at 9:21 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Said the Joker to Batman.

Batman isn't a thief.

I'm a bit embarrassed that the first time I saw Dylan my main thought during 'All Along The Watchtower' was a realization about how well Alan Moore synched it up with Watchmen.


Music is a thing that people get emotional about, and have radically divergent opinions about. Threads go the way they go. Sometimes people pop into threads with offhanded dismissals, and that's a prob in music threads because of the emotions of fans for sure, but that shit happens in the vast majority of threads.


I dunno... there are a few bands I really love that I want to post FPPs about but I'm really nervous. If people here don't like them they can get really vicious, and I am too emotionally involved to deal with that. I don't want another experience of posting about something I care about and spending a day defending it from snark and hate.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:23 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The solution is to post about your favorite band performing in a library. Bulletproof!
posted by shakespeherian at 9:24 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I grew up the parents of old hippies, and have been listening to dylan all my life. I listen to dylan still once or twice a week, and love his work.

But, his songs about women are often violent, or angry, or dismissive, or patronizing, and very rarely loving. As crude as Deconi's dismissing his voice is, Dylan like a lot of other old rock and roll stars, gets a pass on degrading women.
posted by PinkMoose at 9:27 PM on May 24, 2011


How about Theme Time Radio Hour, Bob's radio show... anyone want copies?
posted by tomswift at 9:28 PM on May 24, 2011


Oh yes, please!
posted by maudlin at 9:30 PM on May 24, 2011


LiB... the trick is to NOT defend your posts... just do it.. it works, it doesn't work...... no big deal.
posted by tomswift at 9:31 PM on May 24, 2011


doubles
posted by PinkMoose at 9:31 PM on May 24, 2011


I am too emotionally involved to deal with that. I don't want another experience of posting about something I care about and spending a day defending it from snark and hate.

I hate to be this way sometimes, but that's kind of your cross to bear. You're not going to change anyone's mind by virtue of the stridency of your defense. You don't have to have that experience, even if you post something you care about, and some loser dismisses it. Attenuate your desire to reflexively respond. That's just a maturity thing. Other people will love it, and if it really is good, the majority of people will love it.

Hell, even if it's Beyonce or Tiffany, or Backstreet Boys, someone's gonna come along that loves it, too. We're maybe not too politically diverse, but musically, the span of taste here is pretty breathtaking. Seek kinship with like minds, and seek to learn things of value from people who hold disparate opinions.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:32 PM on May 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


You're a poop and I hate your face.

Well, anybody can be just like me, obviously
But then, now again, not too many can be like you, fortunately.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:34 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


LiB... the trick is to NOT defend your posts... just do it.. it works, it doesn't work...... no big deal.

that's cool for 'hey, neat site!' or 'look, controversy!' but for music it's a bit different. There's a Jim Goad quote somewhere I used to have on my wall that's something like 'with a music fan you can punch him in the face or call his mother a whore but don't you dare insult his favorite record'. If I care enough about a band to post about them they probably mean enough to me that I'm personally involved.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:35 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Haters: okay, he's no Barry Manilow, but he had some good tunes.
posted by snofoam at 9:38 PM on May 24, 2011


There have been plenty of times I've wished I could shove that harmonica down his throat sideways. He seems incurious about how it even operates, which is distinctly at odds with his rigor as a guitarist, lyricist, and yes, vocalist.

Actually, watching that Scorsese documentary I mentioned earlier (which I have found online only in bits and pieces so I haven't linked it here), there's a lot of early footage of the young acoustic Dylan performing with the harmonica around his neck... and he's not actually playing it. Instead, he seems to be blowing into it VERY softly while he plays to help him find the pitch for the starting note of his next vocal phrase.

It was an eye-opening moment, and really helped me understand one of his vocal tics which makes me slightly crazy -- that upward swoop to the actual first note of the phrase. He wasn't doing that in these early clips, and it really pointed out to me that he may not be the best on-pitch singer without support like that, or like with that upward slide which lets him start off in a lazy vocal place and quickly zip up to where the melody actually is.

there are a few bands I really love that I want to post FPPs about but I'm really nervous. If people here don't like them they can get really vicious, and I am too emotionally involved to deal with that. I don't want another experience of posting about something I care about and spending a day defending it from snark and hate.

You can alleviate a lot of that if you make the post good enough. So many problems with FPPs and how the comments go have specifically to do with how things are worded or what links are included (or even in what order) in the actual post itself. Spend a little time studying which posts go well from your point of view and which ones go poorly and see if you can figure out what the patterns are.

Also... you don't have to defend your posts from anything. People here are all adults and all have the ability to see snark and hate for what it is. If someone is really egregious, chances are someone else will step forward and do the defending themselves. If you "spend a day defending" anything that you've posted as an FPP, either you're WAY too close to the topic at hand and shouldn't have posted it in the first place, or you didn't write up the FPP correctly and people are reacting to buttons you've unwittingly planted in your post.

PinkMoose: You're the parents of old hippies? That's outstanding!
posted by hippybear at 9:38 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lovecraft In Brooklyn: anyway, look at a lot of the music posts I do. They're pretty much exhaustive. That's the best way to keep people from lobbing the haterade at you. Put enough work into your posts and the response from the haters will be silence while the fans will step forward and say thank you.

If MetaFilter rewards one thing, it's well-done thoroughly researched and comprehensive posts. Everything else seems to be a crapshoot.
posted by hippybear at 9:40 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, anybody can be just like me, obviously
But then, now again, not too many can be like you, fortunately.


If you're so hurt, why then don't you show it?
posted by shakespeherian at 9:41 PM on May 24, 2011


my parents were old hippies, obviously.
posted by PinkMoose at 9:41 PM on May 24, 2011


Noam Chomsky and Bob Dylan on the blue in the same day... For those of you to young to remember life before the Internet; these were two of about five to ten sadomasochistic rituals people could subject themselves to in order to prove to themselves or others that they were different/intelligent/interesting etc... They made you part of a club that seems to be dissipating and are gradually being replaced with less monotheistic memes. I don't mean any disrespect to people's idols... but that is what they are/were in a different age.

I hear better music and more interesting thoughts than could be expected from any mere mortal daily on the Internet. You don't need to suck mental/musical cock anymore. Sure they had talent etc... but now we aren't limited to idols like these. Noam? I'll choose the blue. Dylan or other god's of music? If you are 18 and work at a cafe and smoked pot for the first time last week, you didn't discover bob marley o.k.? Dylan too makes me flee public places. Over played/paid idolatry. Thanks.
posted by astrobiophysican at 9:42 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


okay, he's no Barry Manilow, but he had some good tunes.

Speaking of which, Barry Manilow has his first album of original music in, jeez... a solid decade... coming out very soon. Squeeeee!

and he's promoting it with a concert on QVC? WTF?
posted by hippybear at 9:43 PM on May 24, 2011


Is there a good Dylan bootleg or a remaster or something without any harmonica in it? Every so often, I think, I'm gonna try listening to Dylan again. I start an album, I think, hey, this is really good, then he starts playing that fucking harmonica. It's like listening to a child mashing the keys of a piano.

I recommend some of the 1966 Australian tour bootlegs, where he played some of the longest, most atonal harmonica solos of his career. That'll cure you but good.
posted by anazgnos at 9:44 PM on May 24, 2011


If you're so hurt, why then don't you show it?

shakespeherian puts his cigar out in your face just for kicks.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:45 PM on May 24, 2011


Barry Manilow has his first album of original music in, jeez... a solid decade... coming out very soon.

It's not all insurance jingles again, is it?
posted by shakespeherian at 9:45 PM on May 24, 2011


here you go, folks, Dylan's radio show... this is some strange stuff...
posted by tomswift at 9:46 PM on May 24, 2011


I hear better music and more interesting thoughts than could be expected from any mere mortal daily on the Internet. You don't need to suck mental/musical cock anymore. Sure they had talent etc... but now we aren't limited to idols like these. Noam? I'll choose the blue. Dylan or other god's of music? If you are 18 and work at a cafe and smoked pot for the first time last week, you didn't discover bob marley o.k.? Dylan too makes me flee public places. Over played/paid idolatry. Thanks.

How do you think people discover Dylan now? I'm 25. My first copy of Blonde on Blonde was a CD burnt by a friend when I was 14. This was cutting edge technology and my group was using it to trade classic rock and classic punk (other burnt CDs from that time: Combat Rock and Kill The Poor).
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:46 PM on May 24, 2011


shakespeherian puts his cigar out in your face just for kicks.

You've been through all of F. Scott Fitzgerald's books
You're very well read, it's well known.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:47 PM on May 24, 2011


I hear better music and more interesting thoughts than could be expected from any mere mortal daily on the Internet. You don't need to suck mental/musical cock anymore. Sure they had talent etc... but now we aren't limited to idols like these. Noam? I'll choose the blue. Dylan or other god's of music? If you are 18 and work at a cafe and smoked pot for the first time last week, you didn't discover bob marley o.k.? Dylan too makes me flee public places. Over played/paid idolatry. Thanks.

I understand where you're coming from, because I also really hate when people are mindlessly reverent of the classic rock canon. But what I really hate is when people are insufficiently reverent of the classic rock canon.
posted by anazgnos at 9:48 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


shakespeherian: No, he quit writing commerican jingles about 30 years ago.

Oh, wait. You were making a joke? See, jokes are supposed to be funny, not quasi-ignorant.
posted by hippybear at 9:48 PM on May 24, 2011


Hey I like Barry Manilow. I'm merely enjoying the idea of him releasing 45 minutes to an hour's worth of 4-second jingles for nonexistent products. I'd probably listen to it at least once.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:50 PM on May 24, 2011


shakespeherian’s just a ragged clown behind
I wouldn’t pay it any mind
It’s just a shadow you’re seein’ that he’s chasing.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:50 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


astrobiophysican sure has a lot of gall being so useless and all
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:52 PM on May 24, 2011


Well, it's sugar for sugar
And salt for salt
If you go down in the flood
It's gonna be your own fault
posted by shakespeherian at 9:55 PM on May 24, 2011


I’m going back to New York City
I do believe I’ve had enough.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:57 PM on May 24, 2011


The curfew had been lifted and the gambling wheel shut down
Anyone with any sense had already left town.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:01 PM on May 24, 2011


Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart were not only better poets but much better musicians. If you want to know the apex of music as art in the 20th century you just got it. Everything else is just noise.
posted by Splunge at 10:19 PM on May 24, 2011


And, Decani... sheesh... this would have been a good thread for you to stay out of... you don't like him, you don't like him.... so?

and yet I can feel for the guy. I know how I felt when everybody was rhapsodizing about Duran Duran recently ... and then Miami Vice.

seriously?
posted by philip-random at 10:30 PM on May 24, 2011


Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart were not only better poets but much better musicians. If you want to know the apex of music as art in the 20th century you just got it.

Nah. Great stuff and all. But CAN were better. It's been scientifically proven.
posted by philip-random at 10:31 PM on May 24, 2011


Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart were not only better poets but much better musicians.

Sure... I might grant you that there are better poets and better musicians. But you've named two artists who both got their start at least 5 years after Dylan began his career. Would we even know about them if Dylan had not existed? THAT is the real question.
posted by hippybear at 10:35 PM on May 24, 2011


But CAN were better. It's been scientifically proven.

As much as I love Can, I don't think your results can be replicated consistently.
posted by snofoam at 10:35 PM on May 24, 2011


Would we even know about them if Dylan had not existed? THAT is the real question.

Along the same lines, the man did turn The Beatles on to pot, right? Even if he just did that and danced with some maracas while The Beatles played, he'd still be the second most important figure in 20th century pop music.
posted by snofoam at 10:43 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Would we even know about them if Dylan had not existed? THAT is the real question.

Face it, folks. If the English language has a 20th Century William Shakespeare, it's Bobby Zimmerman from Duluth, Minnesota. Which means Gorgeous George is somehow involved, which is poetry if nothing else.
posted by philip-random at 10:48 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


*heh* I usually say Little Bobby Zimmerman.

For some reason, that diminutive is required when using his non-stage name. At least, in my mind. I think it's about the rhythm of the words.
posted by hippybear at 10:54 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like 'Zimmy'. It implies I'm way more familiar with him than I am.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:57 PM on May 24, 2011


Sure... I might grant you that there are better poets and better musicians. But you've named two artists who both got their start at least 5 years after Dylan began his career. Would we even know about them if Dylan had not existed? THAT is the real question.

and the real answer is YES

i don't think it takes anything away from dylan's accomplishment as a songwriter to say that there were a hell of a lot of people back then who had their own thing to express and they didn't really need bob dylan to inspire them to do it

i don't hear any kind of real influence of dylan in zappa's music - come on, the guy was mixing parodies of doo wop music with serial music, varesian/stockhausian noise music, free jazz and western compositional music in 1966 - he didn't get that from dylan or the beatles

and captain beefheart is a truly twisted and brilliant synthesis of jazz and delta blues that had nothing to do with dylan

joni mitchell, as much as she might seem like a follower of dylan, was too original in many respects to really be his follower - her lyrics tend to be a lot more focused and concise and as a guitar player she opened up a whole world of things that dylan never came close to

and then there's my favorite cult artist of the 60s, laura nyro - how anyone could say that the genius of her songs were derived from dylan is beyond me - 60s soul and broadway musicals, yes, but dylan's folk music?

the fact is that there were a lot of musical geniuses active in the 60s and they would have come along if the beatles and bob dylan had never been

maybe their one biggest influence was that they showed people that they could get away with one hell of a lot when it came to music - but you know something? - the artists i've mentioned, and many more, knew that anyway and were going to do it no matter what someone else did

p.s. - a guy who does a song called "the illinois enema bandit" isn't exactly shooting for great poetry, you know?
posted by pyramid termite at 11:08 PM on May 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


I like to think of Dylan causing a disturbance which inspired and allowed the likes of Zappa and Beeheart to truly freak out. Meanwhile, the Beatles were on Ed Sullivan allowing all of this to go on in the background.
posted by philip-random at 11:35 PM on May 24, 2011


p.s. - a guy who does a song called "the illinois enema bandit" isn't exactly shooting for great poetry, you know?

The fact that that is the only thing that you mention about n artist that created a wealth of music speaks more to you than to his alleged failings.
posted by Splunge at 1:22 AM on May 25, 2011




I asked as nice as I could
If my job would
Somehow be finished by Friday
Well, the whole damn weekend
Came 'n' went, Frankie
[Wanna buy some mandies, Bob?]
'N'they didn't do nothin'
But they charged me double for Sunday


posted by Splunge at 1:27 AM on May 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Black Napkins

Muffin Man

Pygmy Twylyte

Bob who?
posted by Splunge at 1:40 AM on May 25, 2011


One thing about time being linear... no matter how old you feel today, in a coupla years you're still gonna look back on it and say damn, I wish I'd appreciated how young I was then.

I've never been a huge Dylan fan but his hitting this milestone still resonates. Let's hear it for getting older; the alternative sucks even more.
posted by kinnakeet at 5:28 AM on May 25, 2011


Some lessons for musicians from the sixties:

Dylan: Use what you've got.
Beatles: DIY.
Zappa: Everything is valid.
Hendrix: Let your freak flag fly.


Belated Happy Birthday to Dylan and Flapjax. . . keep 'em flyin'!
posted by Herodios at 6:29 AM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


The fact that that is the only thing that you mention about n artist that created a wealth of music speaks more to you than to his alleged failings.

was that really the only thing i said about zappa? - really?
posted by pyramid termite at 6:37 AM on May 25, 2011


One thing about time being linear...

... is that it keeps on slipping,
slipping,
slipping...
into the future.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:58 AM on May 25, 2011


'n then the give you a BILL that'll get your senses REELIN'!
posted by Meatbomb at 7:22 AM on May 25, 2011


Happy Birthday Mr Dylan.

Great Job.
posted by midnightbarber at 7:54 AM on May 25, 2011


Shelter from the Storm is an under-appreciated Dylan song that is probably on my all time top five.
posted by Apropos of Something at 8:55 AM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not under-appreciated, here. There are a couple other epic tales on Blood on the Tracks, but that one is the most raw and true and real.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:02 AM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


The last show I was at they were selling hoodies that said 'Shelter From The Storm' on them.
And 'Blowing In The Wind'.

Dunno whether to laugh or cry.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:09 PM on May 25, 2011


Shelter from the Storm is an under-appreciated Dylan song

Not quite sure where this idea comes from. It's my impression that the song is a very well known and very highly appreciated part of the Dylan canon, actually.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:45 PM on May 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


flapjax at midnite: " Not quite sure where this idea comes from. It's my impression that the song is a very well known and very highly appreciated part of the Dylan canon, actually."

Part of this, admittedly, is I probably have super high expectations - because the song means so much to me, I think it belongs alongside the top-tier canon. But, as someone who came to Dylan with very little background, I don't think much of the general public knows about the song. When I heard it for the first time, it definitely felt like I discovered something super-special. That's a neat feeling.
posted by Apropos of Something at 5:58 AM on May 26, 2011


because the song means so much to me, I think it belongs alongside the top-tier canon.

This brings up an interesting point: what is, exactly, the top-tier canon? Well, I'm sure it'd include Mr. Tambourine Man and Blowing In The Wind, both incredibly famous and oft-played songs. What else, do you reckon?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:27 AM on May 26, 2011


Positively 4th Street, of course.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:35 AM on May 26, 2011


It Ain't Me Babe?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:35 AM on May 26, 2011


But heck, I think about half the songs on Time Out of Mind belong there in that top tier...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:37 AM on May 26, 2011


Like a Rolling Stone. Shot heard 'round the world, that one.

I think all the epics are top-tier:
Sad Eyed Lady
Desolation Rwo
It's Alright Ma
Gates of Eden

Visions of Johanna is contentious in my house, seeing as how I'm married to a Louise.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:42 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


What else, do you reckon?

Well top tier would require at least some level of both critical and "popular" acknowledgement, no? So, beyond the few already mentioned, my off the cuff list would start with something like this (recordings as opposed to songs):

Like a Rolling Stone (obviously)
A hard rain's a-gonna fall
It's all over now, baby blue
Subterranean homesick blues
Desolation Row
Stuck Inside of Mobile ...
Lay Lady Lay
Knockin' on Heaven's door
Tangled up in blue
Hurricane

Anything later gets problematic because that Dylan (Christian phase and everything afterward) is all arguably not as culturally relevant, much as I LOVE much of what comes out of this period (anything he's done with Daniel Lanois, even some of the Christian stuff). I guess it all dovetails with the maturing of his primary audience (the baby boomers), their settling down etc. Dylan just wasn't that important anymore.

Also worth noting, there's any number of songs from the albums Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61, Blonde on Blonde, Blood On The Tracks and Desire that I personally feel are essential. Idiot Wind and It's Alright Ma rocket instantly to mind. But Top Tier canon? I don't think enough folks are even conscious that they exist.

QUESTION: If someone you know was putting together a Dylan comp of "under-appreciated" songs and you could make one single recommendation, what would it be?

My choice. One More Cup Of Coffee -- from Desire ... because it should forever disabuse us of the notion that Dylan can't sing. He positively soars here.
posted by philip-random at 9:59 AM on May 26, 2011


If someone you know was putting together a Dylan comp of "under-appreciated" songs and you could make one single recommendation, what would it be?

Corrina, Corrina.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:09 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Black Diamond Bay
posted by Meatbomb at 10:47 AM on May 26, 2011


Drifter's Escape
posted by swift at 11:48 AM on May 26, 2011


What Was It You Wanted.
posted by Capt. Renault at 1:35 PM on May 26, 2011


God, I love Visions of Johanna and What Was It You Wanted so much too. I think I'm a bigger Dylan fan than I realize sometimes.
posted by Apropos of Something at 2:12 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


The wonderful thing about Dylan is that he contains multitudes. As a teenager in the 70's, Dylan's lyrics are what I adored. I remember writing out "Mr Tambourine Ma" in my best penmanship with green ink. Now I'll catch a Dylan song, often a cover that just tears me up.

Recent examples of being touched by Bob (a la 'touched by an angel'):

Elvis C doing " I Threw it All Away"
"Mississippi" from the bootleg collection
The bootleg version of "Everything is Broken"

I will add more I'm sure, but must leave for my last school concert evar.
posted by readery at 3:27 PM on May 26, 2011


This brings up an interesting point: what is, exactly, the top-tier canon? Well, I'm sure it'd include Mr. Tambourine Man and Blowing In The Wind, both incredibly famous and oft-played songs. What else, do you reckon?

Blowing In The Wind should not be on there. It's mostly boring.

Like A Rolling Stone is so good Greil Marcus wrote a whole book about it.

Desolation Row. Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again. Subterranean Homesick Blues. Highway 61 Revisited. Poor Boy. Tangled Up In Blue. To Make You Feel My Love. Masters of War. Hard Rain's A Gonna Fall.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:06 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Blowing In The Wind should not be on there. It's mostly boring.

I too think it's kinda boring, actually. But its iconic status cannot be denied, and it is therefore one of his "top-tier" tunes, by definition.

Certainly agreeing on Rolling Stone, too. No doubt about that one being up in the stratosphere of Dylan works that have the reflected glow of massive public adulation.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:58 PM on May 26, 2011


Black Diamond Bay

Enormously entertaining song, as is Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts from Blood on the Tracks.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:01 PM on May 26, 2011


Surely 'All Along the Watchtower.'
posted by shakespeherian at 6:08 PM on May 26, 2011


Surely 'All Along the Watchtower.'

But are we talking songs or recordings? Jimi Hendrix's take on this is so overwhelming as to be definitive, to the extent that I'm pretty sure Dylan himself only ever performed it as pumped up rocker afterward.

Speaking of which, you gotta love Jimi's take on Like A Rolling Stone ... and Spirit's, for that matter.
posted by philip-random at 7:10 PM on May 26, 2011


I like Jimi's 'Watchtower,' but frankly I think Dylan's is far superior.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:12 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like Jimi's 'Watchtower,' but frankly I think Dylan's is far superior.

They're so utterly different, that I don't know how one can determine that one is "far superior" to another. Not trying to start an argument or anything, but isn't it kind of just a matter of personal taste? What, objectively, makes Dylan's performance "far superior", in objective terms? Genuinely curious, that's all.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:26 PM on May 26, 2011


Dylan's All Along The Watchtower is still awesome live

what's the one they use in High Fidelity? it's great
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:27 PM on May 26, 2011


heh. "Objectively" ... "in objective terms". Nice one, flapjax.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:28 PM on May 26, 2011


Oh I don't mean objectively at all. I just vastly prefer Dylan's. I think it has to do with the way he mouths the lyrics-- Hendrix, for all his apocalyptic guitar (which, yes, really suits the mood of the song), mostly sounds, to me, like he's singing the words to a song. Dylan sounds like he's incanting a terrifying legend, the genesis of some great forgotten death. Maybe it's just the difference between the strengths of Jimi and Bob-- Jimi's guitar evokes the End of Days, but Dylan sounds like he believes it.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:35 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


If someone you know was putting together a Dylan comp of "under-appreciated" songs and you could make one single recommendation, what would it be?

going to acapolco - closely followed by quite a few other songs on the basement tapes - dylan and the band got to the heart of american music on this album - the spirit of harry smith's folkways anthology is all through this and i really think that people do underappreciate it

dylan's original version of all along the watchtower is a very good version of a great song - but hendrix owned that tune to the point where bob and everyone else does it like hendrix now
posted by pyramid termite at 10:22 PM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hendrix . . . mostly sounds, to me, like he's singing the words to a song.

Yeah, a song for which -- for whatever reason -- he doesn't quite have all the words figured out.

Jimi's is the definitive interpretation, but what the heck is he saying for the line "none of them along the line know what any of it is worth"?

Still -- Hendrix admired Dylan's songwriting and covered at least four of his tunes. And I think he took inspiration from an artist who also wrote and sang his own songs despite being not much of a singer.
posted by Herodios at 4:39 PM on May 27, 2011


I'm enamored with this performance of Romance in Durango from Renaldo and Clara: it's the timing between the breaths, the fingers on guitar strings, the synching with the band. Oh, and the words, if you insist (let's not mention the pretty blue eyes).

It's neat. Johnny Cash had it, too, that troubadour thing. It's entertaining.
posted by eegphalanges at 12:42 PM on June 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


it's the timing between the breaths

nicely put. I'll remember this the next time someone gets all dismissive of the man's voice. When he's on (and he oft-times isn't) he delivers something that very few can touch.
posted by philip-random at 2:09 PM on June 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


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