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Bob Dylan Is 66 Years Old Today
May 24, 2007 8:05 AM   Subscribe

...Rembrandt's last self-portrait, for instance, shows an old man having a good laugh at the ways of the world, even as he is about to leave the stage. The Western world may be ageing, then, but, far from this amounting to a 'dying of the light', a case can be made for the very opposite, certainly where Bob Dylan's renaissance as an artist is concerned. Neither should age be confounded with a heavier tread. For while a perception and characterisation of the surreal nature of much of human life was a defining quality of Bob Dylan's first golden creative period in the 1960s, it's also a delightful characteristic of his artistic renaissance in the 'noughties' of the new millennium.
Bob Dylan and the ageing of the West
In other news, May 24th is International Talk Like Bob Dylan Day

Of course, he was 23 in 1965, the year when he recorded Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde On Blonde, but, gosh darn it, he's still writing songs and touring and he still isn't dead yet..."
posted by y2karl (38 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
The 60s: Greatest Generation or Greatestest Generation?
posted by DU at 8:12 AM on May 24, 2007


May a moody baby doom a yam?
posted by parmanparman at 8:18 AM on May 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


"May 24th is International Talk Like Bob Dylan Day"

Perfect! My nose is already stuffed-up from allergies, so I was talking like Dylan without even trying!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:32 AM on May 24, 2007


Damn, weird coincidence: I started reading, and the 13th Floor Elevators' version of "Baby Blue" came on the player. Not only a Dylan song, but redone by an archetypal 60's band, and then the actual lyrics....
posted by notsnot at 8:33 AM on May 24, 2007


dying in the light, does that mean they'll have to bury him onstage?
posted by NedderLander at 8:34 AM on May 24, 2007


YouTube: Bob Dylan - Happy Birthday - 1986 Sydney

See also 65 Revisited
posted by y2karl at 8:38 AM on May 24, 2007


I think that he did his best work in the 60's, when he wrote all the songs ever performed.
posted by ND¢ at 8:48 AM on May 24, 2007


See also: I'm in awe of McCartney. He's about the only one that I am in awe of. He can do it all. And he's never let up... He's just so damn effortless.
posted by y2karl at 8:54 AM on May 24, 2007


Sooner or later, we're not going to have any "talk like you normally do " days anymore.
posted by ORthey at 9:08 AM on May 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


"The kids have been coming home and telling their parents about the weird man who keeps coming to class to sing scary songs on his guitar."
posted by SteveInMaine at 9:32 AM on May 24, 2007


That is probably a hoax, by the way--that story originated in the New York Sun in the last month and it said the kids in kindergarten were Jakob Dylan's, but Jakob Dylan's kids are all way past kindergarten age. I don't think any of his kids have children that age right now.
posted by y2karl at 9:37 AM on May 24, 2007


DIDN' YEEEW!!
posted by gubo at 9:50 AM on May 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


how green was my valley ... how, with the help of hundreds of billions of worms, the baby boomers are revolutionizing the cemetery lawns of the 2030s
posted by pyramid termite at 9:54 AM on May 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


When the We are the World video came out, my son was 12 and knew who almost all of the performers were. He had one question-
'Who's the guy that sounds like Buckwheat?'
posted by MtDewd at 10:06 AM on May 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


I have to favorite this post because...BobDylanfuckingRulesOK?

This YouTube clip of Cry A While at the Grammy Awards in 2002 is particularly electrifying.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:09 AM on May 24, 2007


And I believe next Friday is International "Quit Talking Like Other People, You Freaking Dipshit... It Was Funny When It Was Pirates But This Is Getting Out Of Hand" Day.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:15 AM on May 24, 2007


The west is not aging ... The baby boomers are aging.
I'll be glad when they are gone.
They've screwed this country royally with their short-sightedness. Anything that doesn't directly benefit them is falling apart and they could care less.
Not to mention how much they screwed up their kids.
meh
posted by Dillenger69 at 10:27 AM on May 24, 2007


I'm not convinced by the article's attempt to hitch Bob Dylan's personal arc of artistic development to boomer demography, but the article and FPP raise an important point: Dylan is awesome, and we should listen to his music and then interpret his lyrics however we ruddy please.
posted by sy at 10:35 AM on May 24, 2007


I will take this FPP as an excuse to link to Reynaldo & Clara clips and performances.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:40 AM on May 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


They've screwed this country royally with their short-sightedness. Anything that doesn't directly benefit them is falling apart and they could care less.

Well, there was the whole Civil Rights Movement and there were all those civil rights workers who got killed and there was Earth Day and the whole environmental movement and then there were all those anti-Vietnam war protests--not to mention the potential Jeopardy question What demographic is the bulk of the anti-War in Iraq demonstrations ? Not that any of that counts for anything, I suppose...
posted by y2karl at 10:40 AM on May 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yep, he's still performing. He'll be at the San Luis Obispo County FairCalifornia MidState Fair on July 27th. I'll do all my "talking like Bob Dylan" on that day; at least then the local folks will get the joke.
posted by wendell at 10:42 AM on May 24, 2007


"My arms and legs were broken, my feet were splintered, my head was cracked, I couldn't walk, couldn't talk, smell, feel...couldn't see...I didn't know where I was...I was bald...quite lucky to be alive, though!"
posted by danb at 11:00 AM on May 24, 2007


And I believe next Friday is International "Quit Talking Like Other People, You Freaking Dipshit... It Was Funny When It Was Pirates But This Is Getting Out Of Hand" Day.

Seconded, except it wasn't even all that funny when it was pirates.

But Bob Dylan can talk like Bob Dylan all he wants. He's good at it.
posted by languagehat at 11:07 AM on May 24, 2007


Eeeeeeaaaahdiot weeeeeeeond!
posted by ZenMasterThis at 11:11 AM on May 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


He's going to be doing another DJ on radio2 on Monday. Should be fun; he's telling jokes.
posted by chuckdarwin at 11:59 AM on May 24, 2007


Wheeeeeeeeh heeeeeeeeeeew. Meh twennny fourth is myyyyy birthday teeeeeeewwwww.
posted by devetron at 12:24 PM on May 24, 2007


...The point at issue here is that the intellectual and the artist are not only diametrically opposed, but actively hostile to one another, absolutely incompatible, in fact.

...The true battle for human purpose, then, is not fought out there in the wider world, where the intellectual seeks to use his influence, but within the mind of each human individual, which explains Dylan's album title, Bringing It All Back Home. As for that wider world, intellectuals who contribute to the constant struggle for power may well have acted as artists at another time, but in their public endeavours their concern is rarely with humility and truth, more likely with pride and the desire for power. Is it any wonder that so many of their pronouncements are absurd?
Do we need intellectuals?
posted by y2karl at 12:47 PM on May 24, 2007


Bit of a rubbish article, really. Like a scraping 2:2 essay trying to prove its point through endless appeals to the authority of genius. Dylan is a significant artist, and the mining of his songs for supposed nuggets of lyrical wisdom is a bit dull. For a start, these are lyrics, not poems, and hence not well understood without their musical content. Secondly, even if they were to be taken as "some other kinds of songs", the significance of the words stripped of context is vastly depleted.

Still. Some awesome songs in there.
posted by howfar at 12:53 PM on May 24, 2007


First of all, I once wrote a birthday poem to Bob Dylan. Thankfully it's safely hidden away in a box.

Second, phoo-wee is that a terrible essay. I love Dylan as an artist. Hell, growing up my dad would sing his songs to me and my sister as lullabies. But man if that essay didn't have me foaming at the mouth. There's a grand total of one good observation in there, the bit about the eyes signifying illusion. I hadn't thought of that. That's a clever interpretation. However, stuff like this had me spittling up my keyboard:

So what is the purpose of Bob Dylan's creative renaissance? It is nothing less than to reinterpret the perennial philosophy of mysticism in twenty-first-century terms, to bear witness to the fact that mysticism is not what the dictionary says it is, something related to a sacredly obscure attempt to achieve elevated religious feeling or ecstasy, but a philosophy that sets out to comprehend and explain the nature of reality as it relates to man. In this endeavour, Dylan is perfectly in tune with one of history's most famous mystics, St John of the Cross, who counselled against being distracted from the mystic's true purpose by any transfiguring experiences that might occur along the way.

Third, and last, the interview with Bob Dylan in the 40th Anniversary Edition of Rolling Stone, despite the rather poor interviewing technique of Jann Wenner, was very good. That's where the quote about McCartney comes from. Incidentally, the interview with McCartney was also very good, but the other interviews I looked at I found uninteresting.
posted by Kattullus at 1:41 PM on May 24, 2007


"You may be a preacher with your spiritual pride,
You may be a city councilman taking bribes on the side,
You may be workin' in a barbershop, you may know how to cut hair,
You may be somebody's mistress, may be somebody's heir

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You're gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody."


I'll never forgive him for this shit. And all the zillions of times they played it on the radio -- because it was BOB! DYLAN!
posted by davy at 1:52 PM on May 24, 2007


You know it balances on your head
Just like a mattress balances
On a bottle of wine
Your brand new leopard-skin pill-box hat
posted by Huplescat at 3:03 PM on May 24, 2007


I hear Bob Dylan might be getting back together.

“The west is not aging ... The baby boomers are aging.
I'll be glad when they are gone.
They've screwed this country royally with their short-sightedness. Anything that doesn't directly benefit them is falling apart and they could care less.
Not to mention how much they screwed up their kids.
meh”

Yeah, plus something or other: Bob Dylan.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:32 PM on May 24, 2007


I'll never forgive him for this shit.

Dylan's long career has seen no shortage of people who've disparaged him for one reason or another: who'll "never forgive him". I don't think he's too worried about it, nor should he be. And even his worst material (and I'd argue it gets worse than "Serve Somebody") is redeemed by the fact that he's written hundreds of brilliant, transcendent songs.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:34 PM on May 24, 2007


Leopard-skin pill-box hat.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:11 PM on May 24, 2007


Bob will live forever just for saying "Folk music is just a bunch of fat people." Live long 'n' prosper, Bobby.
posted by jfuller at 4:33 PM on May 24, 2007


Hey flapjax, that looks like a leopard-skin fez. Those things balance on your freaking head like a bucket on a basketball.
posted by Huplescat at 5:05 PM on May 24, 2007


Except it's more like a bucket on a bocce ball.
posted by y2karl at 7:01 PM on May 24, 2007


I don't think he's too worried about it, nor should he be.

True that. I can almost hear him saying: "You don't like my stuff? Fine, complain. Ain't gonna stop me, you know. But go ahead. Get it out there. Whine. Gripe. Fulminate. Shout. Shriek. Roar. Rage. Yes, rage; rage against my dying in the light."

... Hey, you know, that's got kind of a nice ring to it. Somebody oughta put that in a song lyric or somethin'.
posted by eritain at 3:17 AM on May 25, 2007


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