A very belated happy birthday to Bob Dylan who turned 80 last week. I was preoccupied with my dad’s own 80th birthday (amongst other things) to really pay attention. But this week I enjoyed reading John Harris on Dylan in the Guardian and this by Alan Jacobs from his blog post linkage over at Snakes and Ladders. And BBC 6 Music did a nice 6 Music Artist Collection I am currently listening to.
If I had been able to pay it any mind I would have chosen a song by Dylan for Going For A Song last week instead of choosing nothing. So to cover that omission may I point you in the direction of a GFAS I wrote in 2016 about ‘Sign on the Window’ from New Morning.
If it’s not obvious by now that I’m a fan of Bob Dylan this Bob Dylan tag will leave you in no doubt.
A part of what makes him special for me became apparent when driving in the car with my mum and dad and ‘Make You Feel My Love’ by Adele came on the radio. My parents knew the song. Now, I’d take a punt they weren’t aware it’s a cover of the Dylan song, and I thought then how many Dylan songs do people know but don’t know they were written by him? But I realise it doesn’t matter.
It wouldn’t matter to Dylan that my mum and dad don’t know he wrote ‘Make You Feel My Love’. The song is the thing. As Alan Jacobs suggests about Dylan in that piece I linked to:
He is one of the few truly great figures in American popular culture – Duke Ellington was another – who has never forgotten that he himself isn’t what it’s all about. Dylan’s most consistent message has been, simply, “It ain’t me, babe, its ain’t me you’re looking for, babe.” Dylan never lets you turn him into a graven image to worship.
Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. That doesn’t go far enough. He should be awarded his own symbol on the periodic table. He’s elemental.