Bob Dylan


Written by Brian Welk
21 Monday 21st June 2010

There may not be another musician alive who has become a legend in two different eras. Bob Dylan's bluesy strumming and harmonica rocking embodies the sound and spirit of the 60s and though he’s aged and his voice has changed, he is still one of the most active and iconic artists performing today.  

From The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan to The Times They Are-A-Changin’ to Highway 61 Revisited and to Blonde on Blonde, his repertoire is legendary. Rolling Stone magazine (perhaps somewhat ironically) named Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone the best song of all time. All Along the Watchtower is one of the most highly covered songs ever written, and it’s surprising how many people forget Dylan wrote it. But even Dylan himself has acknowledged that Jimi Hendrix’s version is perhaps the better song, and he honors the late guitar idol by performing his version of it at his shows. 
He’s likewise reached out to younger generations in a way only few artists could. The Times They Are-a-Changin’ was the credit theme of Watchmen and teens everywhere have played along with Tangled Up in Blue on Rock Band. Dylan has been portrayed in numerous biopics, most notably in I’m Not There, in which six different actors (including Cate Blanchett) took a stab at the folk and rock legend. 
He has always reinvented himself and looking towards the future. His rapid shift from folk to rock inspired violent reactions at his performances, his music became highly political even before he started becoming famous, and even his electric rock soon took pages from R&B rather than the sound of the time.
But he has endured because of his never changing commitment to song writing. Whether people think of him as the person that put the Beatles on the track to more challenging and thought provoking musicianship, the man who redefined what it means to be a rock vocalist or the guy who brought the Band to fame because he hired them as his touring group, his music will live on most strongly because of its poetic lyricism and sound that evokes all sorts of emotions.
Bob Dylan is headlining the closing night of this year’s Hop Farm Festival on 3 July.


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