Sunday, 3 July 2011

What do you call a man named Robert Allen Zimmerman? Bob Dylan!

I find the term fan limiting, as to how I conceive Bob Dylan the artist, the poet, the musician and the man. Fact is, his influence on modern/popular music- if you wish to categorise that into your preferred genre, i.e. country, pop, rock and r&b - is unavoidable.
Newark Airport 1964 by Daniel Kramer / Promo photo 1978 - Anon. / Modern Times 2006 by William Claxton
Whether you have read Shakespeare or not, you cannot deny William’s importance to the English language; most writers have been inspired by his descriptive use of words and prose. You may not understand the cubes, or the blues of a Picasso painting, but it is open knowledge that he was one of the greatest influences on the face of modern art. You could go as far as to say that they were prime architects of their craft; who, ignoring negative criticism, smashed through all established barriers, opening to those who followed the unending world of creativity. Bob Dylan ranks on par with the few who fall into this elite, farseeing, artistic category of geniuses.
In the early 60’s he was the prophet who showed the music world that it was time to grow up and leave school to face the World and all its perils. Armed with a guitar and a typewriter, he set long imprisoned words free, and married them to music. No subject was taboo for this young writer, the flow of ideas and the lyrics out of his artistic soul never ceased; even his rejects were masterpieces, a fact confirmed by Joan Baez, who seems to have enjoyed rummaging through his waste paper basket! Among his mentors were: Woody Guthrie, Robert Johnson, and the poet Dylan Thomas. Their job was to fuel his innovative mind, the product that came out was pure Bob Dylan.
Photo by Jerry Schatzberg

Dylan showed the major artists of the time that they could break out of the chains of conformity and write and sing about other matters besides teenage love and high school dances. He gave an attitude to songs and lyrics; it showed the Beatles that there was more to writing a song than “Love Me Do”, or the Rolling Stones that they could go further than “Not Fade Away”. The list of those who kicked off their careers by riding on the back of one his songs is long, and many of his works are falsely attributed to other artists. This attitude personified his own characteristics, once his mind was set on a direction the opinions of the press or fans could not sway him; for example, despite the outcry when he went electric, he carried on his chosen path, ignoring all the threats and abuses thrown at him.


  1. Excellent insight and prospective.

  2. Ray, Bournemouth4 July 2011 at 16:55

    He speaks personally to you every time he sings on record or live, its up to you how much you hear,take in and use,if you take any of his songs as either personal advise or as his comment on the world he sees around him, that is the work done by any good poet, and he is a very good poet.