Saturday, May 24, 2008

Bob Dylan Turns 67 Today!

Happy Birthday Bob Dylan!!!

[Editor's note: I came across the fact that it was Dylan's birthday while cruising for music at the super-excellent, and totally streamable, Minneapolis radio station The Current. They had also posted a forum there for the discussion of favorite Dylan songs. Those of you who know me will know that, of course, I had to weigh in. So the following are the comments I posted there.]

Hi folks!

I'm sure I'm going to write too much here, but this is just too sweet a discussion not to contribute my little thoughts. I love Bob Dylan so much--I'm glad the Current has reminded me that his birthday is here!

I'm pretty anal-retentive about upkeep on my iTunes statistics, so, according to playcount, here are my five favorite Dylan songs of all-time:

1) Lay Lady Lay--from Nashville Skyline, another underrated album. I always laugh at myself for this somewhat cliched choice, but at the same time, an ex-girlfriend and I once shared a deep affinity for this song, and its truly a beautiful song about love, so it makes sense.
2) Time Passes Slowly--again from an underrated disc, New Morning. Also from Biograph. I live in Alaska now, so to hear Dylan singing about the mountains in such a plaintive voice is heavenly.
3) Girl from the North Country--because I'm from North Dakota, neighbors :-)
4) Like a Rolling Stone--my guess is that this is the Dylan song no one says no to.
5) Idiot Wind--from Blood on the Tracks. I just like how mad Bobby D. gets here, rallying against the stupidities of our sad humanity (stupidities for which he too is culpable, the lyrics reveal). I like to scream along sometimes.

There are so many others, though: "It Takes a Lot to Laugh...", "Abandoned Love," "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright." I truly believe the man has made a GREAT album in every decade since the 60s, and every single album since Oh Mercy in 1989 has been fantastic. He likes to tour baseball stadiums, hangs out with Victoria's Secret models, and simply seems attuned to the essense of the human condition. For all these reasons I love him.

To weigh in on conversation here a little [Ed: there was a commenter who mentioned that Dylan disliked his Minnesota roots, and arguments back and forth at the original posting site], I too think Dylan likes being from Minnesota, ultimately. His biography doesn't really say anything negative (if I remember correctly), and the song lyrics seem to suggest a fondness, as well. Lately my favorite Dylan discovery has been "Went to See the Gypsy," and the song ends with an elated-sounding Dylan singing, "And that pretty dancing girl / she could not be found. So I watched the sun come rising / from a little Minnesota town / from a little Minnesota town!" It seems a loving sentiment, to me.

My apologies for writing so much! Best to all of you, fellow fans and friends!

[Ed again: I'll try and post links to the above five songs after Memorial Day weekend.]


sarah said...

have you seen 'no direction home' yet (the PBS documentary on Dylan)? netflix recently granted me the privilege, and so i can unequivocally attest that yes, he DOES hate his minnesota roots -- or at least did for a long time; that might have changed. it took him something like thirty years to return there to perform, if i remember correctly (we'll see if jewel can match that in the years to come...)

Anonymous said...