"Now everything’s a little upside down
As a matter of fact the wheels have stopped
What’s good is bad, what’s bad is good
You’ll find out when you reach the top
You’re on the bottom"
RZ - Idiot Wind
Congrats, Bob. (I think).
Freewheelin Bob Dylan
Highway 65 Revisited
Blonde on Blonde
Blood on the Tracks
Together Through Life
Love and Theft
Time Out of Mind
These represent better received ones overall. Most others worthwhile as well. Depends on what one is looking for and might enjoy. You can start with the more recent ones and go backwards or vice versa. Personally I like the musical variety shown in his more recent works but the older ones are still consdiered teh classics after many years.
Allen Ginsburg, upon hearing Dylan in 1962, was reduced to tears. He said he knew the torch had been passed from his generation to the next. Dylan single-handedly changed the world, not least of all by transforming John Lennon, who pre-Dylan was merely a Pop songwriter. Without Dylan showing him what was possible, John would not have become the writer he did (for better or worse ;-). He also introduced John and the other Beatles to Jazz cigarettes!
Dylan has had many "periods" (as they call them in the world of painting), changing styles without warning. The difference between 1966’s Blonde On Blonde and it’s 1968 follow-up John Wesley Harding (one of his most personal, with a lot of religious imagery) is absolutely staggering---it’s hard to believe they came from the same person. Both are amongst his best, but completely---and I mean completely---different from one another. On Blonde on Blonde he is wound tighter than a drum core snare drum head, sparks flying off him (he was pretty amped up on amphetamines in ’65-6), his Strat cranked up and running down the road at about ninety miles a hour, the rate at which the surrealistic lyrics are flying by. He has a pretty big band, with multiple electric guitars, piano, and organ. On JWH he is playing an acoustic Martin, about as relaxed as you can imagine, singing what sounds like theology discussions in a seminary. Really heady stuff, far, far beyond what anyone else had ever done, to this day, in Pop music.
Always over-looked is his "Born Again" period, during which he produced three solid albums, all having a Southern Gospel feel. Really good music, but the Christian lyrics are off-putting to atheists, which his traditional audience---the counter-culture baby boomers---mostly are. It was funny to watch their reaction to him becoming a "Jew For Jesus"!
His 1974 Before The Flood live double album with The Band, his best collaborators, is a good place to get a lot of great Dylan songs, played and sung with a lot of energy---Dylan absolutely spits out the words. It was recorded on his first tour since 1966, on which The Hawks (who became The Band upon the release of their 1968 debut album Music From Big Pink) were his, heh, band. The studio album they did together around the time of the live album, Planet Waves, is an overlooked little gem, a personal favorite of mine. It has recently been released on vinyl and SACD by Mobile Fidelity in great sound.
All his albums from Time Out Of Mind (1998’s Grammy Album of the year) forward are really good imo, having a number of hypnotically-entrancing songs ("Not Dark Yet" is a masterpiece) I can’t get enough of. You get sucked into the world Dylan creates, temporarily leaving your body and losing sense of time. Not many other "Pop" songwriters are capable of that, unlike Classical composers, who routinely do it.
Absolutely and by a wide margin the most significant, influential, "important" artist of the 20th Century---bar none, even for those who don’t particularly like him. It’s inconceivable what Pop music would now sound like had Dylan not been born. He alone changed Rock ’n’ Roll from teenage music to adult art. Some hard-core 1950’s Rockers I know wish he hadn’t!
****perhaps the biggest artistic impact on the world over his time****
"Over his time" being the key distinction. Thank goodness for moderation.
****Absolutely and by a wide margin the most significant, influential, "important" artist of the 20th Century---bar none,****
Yikes! Appreciate the appreciation (and the artist); but, really?
Mapman, I think you are right, but there must be something more than that.
Tostadosunidos, this is not about me. As you said, Bob Dylan is in the minority. I would not be completely surprised if he refused the award. He will not feel comfortable among all those people who received this award in the past. Go, Bob, do the right thing !
Please, give an example of his "sublime" lyrics, let's discuss it.
We are not members of the Nobel Prize Committee, as far as I can guess, and as such cannot judge whether he deserves it or not. What we can judge is that his influence appears to be very strong and broad. We can also judge that he can't bloody sing or play a guitar. In addition, I suspect that the members of that committee are well aware of the existence of many poets and writers who are incomparably better at that. I read that the committee's decisions are often very political but cannot verify it. In any case, who is next - Rolling Stones or Pink Floyd ?
I don’t understand people who want others to do the heavy lifting for them. Listen for yourself; if you don’t get it, you don’t get it, no shame in that. Allen Ginsberg did, Sam Shepard did, John Lennon did, as did Bruce Springsteen and countless other leading songwriters and singers. You know who Bob loved that loved him back? Johnny Cash, another guy who couldn’t sing or play guitar "very well". I’d much rather listen to them than lots of "better" singers. To each his own.
A Facebook friend today posted a video of Marshall Crenshaw doing a killer version of "My Back Pages". It's on a compilation entitled Bleecker Street, and Marshall's take on the Dylan song is imo even better than is The Byrds', if you can believe that. And if I'm not mistaken, Marshall plays every instrument and sings every part. Really, really good. Available for viewing and listening on You Tube I assume.
On a more personal note, though I won't listen to Dylan because I can't accept such a low level of musicianship and singing, I think he is quite authentic, kind of quaint and likeable city cowboy summoning memories of American heritage and evoking universal dreams and feelings of protest and discomfort.
An Audiogon member praises the, say, Audio Research pre-amp he owns, saying it in his opinion is the "best" pre-amp in the world. Do you ask him to convince you that such is the case or to explain why he thinks so, or do you listen for yourself, coming to your own conclusion? Whatta you care what he thinks, it's what you think that matters, right?
To my way of thinking, the hyperbole that is the idea that Dylan is the greatest artist of the 20th century does no more than diminish his very real importance in the art world. Likewise, the true significance of the award should be tempered by the acknowledgment of the inherent politizarion of the nomination process; this, best exemplified by the award of the Peace Price to a president who's achievements at the time of the award were largely only ideas which remain mostly unrealized. Still, congrats, Bob.
If you read the criteria for winning a Nobel Prize, Dylan fits it perfectly. Him putting his words into music is the icing on the cake that makes the totallity of his impact even more obvious. Being a musician brought his wordws to more people than it would otherwise I would say though. Perhaps an unfair advantage, but certainly not against the rules. Maybe other Nobel hopefuls should learn to play a guitar or piano.
If you read up on Dylan, nobody will say he is a great musician or a great vocalist. What he is is a great artist with more tools than most, although he has also demonstrated his dedication to what he does by touring almost contantly over the years and continuing to produce music that is appealing. He learned to hire other good musicians and use them in his band to help convey his message, which changes at his whim.
The facts speak for themself. He is brilliant, a genius, a machine,totally deserving of any accolade given him. He knows how to make things work when it comes to delivering his message to his audience which only continues to grow as the years pass. He is also the gold standard by which many an aspiring musician has been compared to over the years and that many aspire to be able to equal or exceed.