Saturday, 28 May 2011

Bob Dylan turns 70



Bob Dylan turned 70 on Tuesday and with any milestone related to Bob Dylan it conjures up discussion of his myth and legacy. There are not many musicians who have become such synonomous cultural icons like Bob Dylan. His music invaded so many other areas of the arts from film to literature, alongside Elvis Presley he is the most studied and anthologised musical icon in popular music history.

For me the period in which Dylan captured my imagination was his mid sixties period, his marriage of biting poetic lyrics and the American blues couldn't have been more potent for the time. It heralded an important transformation in music in which musicians took their music seriously, it nwasn't about pure entertainment, it wasn't even necessarily about a message it was artisitc freedom and being passionate and true to your art, which had been missing from music especially in the popular realm for sometime. Music had become diluted, the british invasion and the onset of The Beatles had helped to initiate a transformation, but Dylan really opened the portal to the importance of the blues, and the importance of no compromise in striving for musical development.

Dylan in the 70's became more introspective but the power of his lyrics was no less diminished. If you listen to Sara from the Desire album, the sense of despair and loss is palpable in each verse, I'd struggle to find another song that matches the aching intensity of that song. Dylan is entering the twilight of his career, his reverance continues unabated even if his live appearnces are now inconsistent, he continues to release studio albums that find him in a reflective lyrical mood canvassing the travails of growing old, love and life. His msuic will continue to find new audiences over successive generations into the future, I don't believe he will ever become a cultural curiosity, the light of his legacy will continue to shine bright.

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