Happy Birthday Bob Dylan
First published on Takes My Fancy.“All I can do is be me, whoever that is.”
Today the legend, musical wizard and blessing that is Bob Dylan celebrates his 75th birthday. An influential figure for more than five decades, Dylan’s lyrics, instrumental style and all-round talent are as prominent now as they were in 1962 when he released his self-titled debut album.
This year, he released his 37th album, Fallen Angels. THIRTY SEVENTH. It is difficult to name an artist with a more culturally signifiant reign than Dylan; he’s probably the most studied musician of all time, is the most quoted songwriter in courts, and introduced a distinctly poetic intellectual approach to social protest. Unashamedly unique, he has never been the heart-throb front man that the pop industry simultaneously craves and creates, he paints and directs films despite an infamous lack of technical skill, his croaky vocal style has always been questionable bordering on tuneless but nobody cares because he’s BOB FRICKIN’ DYLAN. Plus, his signature 60’s fashion sense will never not be cool AF.
Ballsy since the beginning, he paved the way for other artists during he 20th century and was the first to do many things we now accept as normal: Like a Rolling Stone was the first pop single longer than three minutes, he wrote and released songs that were brutally honest rather than cliched and romantic, he is credited for basically inventing folk-rock and country-rock, and bringing an unprecedented amount of good to the world – since Christmas at the Heart was released in 2009, its entire proceeds have gone to charities helping the homeless. Even during his controversial electric period (in which HE STILL REMAINED TRUE TO HIMSELF DESPITE A VERITABLE SHIT STORM OF CRITICISM) he gifted the world with such perfectly illustrative descriptions as “that thin wild mercury sound”.
And let’s not forget some of the eternal classics that Dylan has bestowed on us: Blowin’ in the Wind, Hurricane, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, All Along the Watchtower, Mr Tambourine Man, Subterranean Homesick Blues, The Times They Are A-Changin’, the entire Blonde on Blonde album…
Thank you, Robert Allen Zimmerman, and happy birthday.