Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Tribute to Bob Dylan

By James W Morley

Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman on May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, musician, artist, bard and, more recently, disc jockey, who has been a foremost character in fashionable music for five decades. Much of his largely celebrated handiwork dates from the 1960s when he was, at first, an informal chronicler and then an apparently reluctant figurehead of social instability. A quantity of his songs, such as "Blowin' in the Wind" and "The Times They Are a-Changin'," became anthems for both the civil rights and the anti-war movements.

If Bob Dylan is the very definition of a composition legend, you have to allot his fans acclaim for being pretty legendary themselves.

From the very start, Dylan fans have been a breed apart. They analyze his lyrics line by line, dig through his garbage to unearth them, and sign up for fully accredited college courses to understand them. On the Internet, the conversation - and dissection - of Dylan is no less intense, as his devotees pour over every trace of his life and music .

Dylan has always been, and will probably for eternity be, an enigma. He has produced as many impudent flops (Self Portrait, Knocked Out Loaded, and the majority of his work in the Eighties and Nineties spring at once to mind) as he has masterpieces like Highway 61 Revisited, Blonde On Blonde, and Blood On The Tracks. He's written American classics like "Blowin' In The Wind," "Like A Rolling Stone," and "Just Like A Woman," as well as average fair like "Man Gave Names To All The Animals."

But the single thing Dylan has forever done is reinvent himself. The voice of remonstration for a generation in the Sixties and the born again believer of the Seventies, most recently Dylan has once again stunned the globe with a brilliant series of albums including Time Out Of Mind, Love and Theft, and Modern Times.

'He has received numerous awards over the years including Grammy, Golden Globe and Academy Awards; he has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2008 a Bob Dylan Pathway was opened in the singer's honor in his origin of Duluth, Minnesota. The Pulitzer Prize jury in 2008 awarded him a special citation for what they called his profound impression on popular music and American culture, "marked by poetic compositions of extraordinary poetic power".

Beyond all else, Dylan is arguably America's supreme songwriter and a national treasure.

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