Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Better late than never

I’ve always been a late bloomer. Things just seem to come into my life a lot later than they do for most other folks. That’s not a complaint, because I agree with Bob Dylan “…I believe that things are handed to you when you are ready to make use of them.”

Yeah. That Bob Dylan. And he’s one of those “things” that has come to me later in my life.

I came of age when Dylan was roaring his way across the music world. He was always in my orbit, but being the shallow teen that I was, I gravitated more to The Beatles (because they were cuter), The Monkees (because they were funnier) and Jim Morrison (because he was more mysterious).

Dylan has become more front and center to me over the last ten years. During this time I’ve come to realize he’s more than a gravely voice. Even more than a celebrated poet. He is a non-stop wunderkind. Do you think you know his stats?

Well, here are the highlights:
- Released 44 albums in the last 46 years
- Sold more than 110 million albums
- Written over 500 songs
- His music has been covered by more than 3000 artists ranging from Duke Ellington to Bob Marley
- Won Academy Award and Golden Globe for “Things Have Changed”
- His memoir was on the NY Time bestseller list for 19 weeks
- Won a special Pulitzer Prize for “his profound impact on music…and extraordinary poetic power”
- As a visual artist he created a collection of drawings and sketches (a couple of which are featured on this post) and had them published.
- Was named a Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Art et des Lettres, the highest cultural award in France (where he is revered)
- Currently performs more than 100 concerts a year

As you may have noticed, I’m currently embroiled in a Dylan love fest. Better late than never. I think he has probably had an impact on most people at some point. So I’m curious – how, when, where -- did he touch your life?

Bonus Question: If Elvis is The King. And Springsteen is The Boss. Shouldn’t Dylan have his own superlative handle? Your nomination, please.


To jog your memory, some Dylan lyrics are below. I’ve chosen more popular songs in hopes you will hear the music in your head.

Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right
I once loved a woman, a child I'm told
I give her my heart but she wanted my soul
But don't think twice, it's all right

Forever Young
May your hands always be busy,
May your feet always be swift,
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift.
May your heart always be joyful,
May your song always be sung,
May you stay forever young.

Blowin' In The Wind
How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

Let It Be Me
I bless the day I found you
I want my arms around you
And so I beg you: Let it be me.
Each time we meet, love
I find complete love
Without your sweet love,
what would life be ?
So never leave me lonely
Tell me that you love me only
And say you'll always let it be me.

Just Like A Woman
She takes just like a woman, yes, she does
She makes love just like a woman, yes, she does
And she aches just like a woman
But she breaks just like a little girl.

Blue Moon
Blue moon, you saw me standing alone
Without a dream in my heart, without a love of my own.



Rudee said...

I like A Hard Rain's A Gonna Fall-especially when Leon RUssell sings it.

You feel about Bob Dylan the way I feel about Neil Young.

Cynthia said...

I understand the late-blooming thing. I'm there, too. You would think that at my age, I would have experienced about all that I could possibly have set out to...but no, I feel like I've just been born. I spent so many years focusing on everybody else that I forgot to check in with me, until of late. :^)
So, although I had what I thought were my own preferences through the years along with the many band-wagons that I jumped on...I'm just now discovering what I REALLY like.
I did not know all of those amazing facts that you stated about Dylan. I am, however, pleased that I am savvy enough to like all of the songs that you mentioned. His sketches are amazing.
His list of songs is indeed, vast, but two that came to my mind that I especially like are "It Ain't Me, Babe" and "Everybody Must Get Stoned"---the lyrics to this are really quite "deep" but mostly I like it for the rawness, the rhythm,and the truth. It just makes me smile.
How about Dynamo Dylan or SIR Dylan?
My recent "bloom" is Robert Plant. He is just absolutely brilliant. I love everything he ever did with Led Zeppelin. He's prolific, however, and just keeps on spinnin' 'em out. His album Mighty Rearranger is phenomenal. I also like the work that he's done with Allison Kraus. Gifts to the doubt about it.

Utah Savage said...

Bob Dylan played the soundtrack to my young adventurer's life. I was in my late teens when he hit it big. He and Joan Beaz. And he has the biggest spot on my Itunes collection. Sometimes I listen to nothing else by Dylan for hours on end.

Anonymous said...

As a Hippie Rock & Roller in the late 60's and thru the 70's, Dylan was THE MAN to me and almost all the Hippies I knew. He stood up to The Man, his lyrics were (and always have been, still are) so right on with depth and meaning.

So I vote for Dylan The Man.

The Old Silly from Free Spirit Blog

we_be_toys said...

I love Bob Dylan, the songwriter, but I'm not crazy about his voice. I think my favorite Dylan song was recorded by Peter Paul and Mary, "Blowing In The Wind", but most everything he's written is flawless. Didn't realize he was a visual artist as well, though. One of my favorite Joan Baez songs is the one she wrote about her and Bob - "Diamonds and Rust" - does that sort of count, since he inspired it?

If Elvis is the King, and Bruce is the Boss, then maybe Bob should be the Poet, or the Word Master?

lakeviewer said...

He wrote Blue Moon? I didn't know. I was introduced to Bob Dylan by my next-door neighbor who became my husband. He played Bob Dylan all the time; and the rest is our mutual soundtrack. I'm glad you are getting into him.

Marty said...

I wrote my own tribute to Dylan but it is hidden in the words of a poem. Perhaps he should be known as the General because he has covered everything!

Lola said...

Great post!

I found Bob Dylan in a stack of old LPs at my mom's house, when I was still living there as a teen. It was the album Street Legal, and it was not love at first sound. I was still too young to appreciate Dylan's music then, I was a child at 16.

Then years later, fate made me stumble on a box set on sale at a bookstore. 2 x 24 Greatest Hits, and Bob Dylan became my guru, my buddha, my teacher.

I was supposed to be attending the Rome leg of his European tour in April, but work got in the way.

More of these posts, please! Ciao

Gail said...

Amen! I even know his drummer personally. Hopefully I will get to meet the master someday.

Bruce said...

If Dylan were to have a name it might be "The Concience". I have never really had a love for the man, but can't dismiss him either. He is sort of like Orsen Wells. Obviously a genious and miles above anything we could do, but I never made the connection to him, except for one or two of his works, he still remains a mystery to me. Although, "Tangled Up In Blue" has to be the best ballad I have ever heard, bar none.

Prairie Chicken... said...

if you like Dylan then you should check out some Neil Young.. he and Dylan run in the same circles.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't around when Dylan was doing his original funky thang all over the protest movement but I do like him a lot now, especially his slower numbers which I think he does extremely well. I was actually playing a few of them on my playlist during my trip the other day including "Forever Young"! I love his version of "You Belong To Me" as well.

A Thousand Clapping Hands said...

I'm crazy, crazy, crazy for Dylan. I've read Chronicles twice. I'd just call him Bob.

Promytius said...

Blue Moon? Dylan? I don't think so!

I don't think Bob was even a gleam in his daddy's eye in 1934.

I've only heard one of his albums, in 1962, and it was ok, but hard to hear the words. That year Dean Martin sold more albums than Dylan, I think.