I have always thought Bob Dylan’s lyrics were “literary” – ever since I first heard him as a teenager, maybe with the “Times they are a’changing.” The Swedish Academy has redefined the boundaries of literature. Yes he is a poet and I’m glad to hear he was honored with a Nobel Prize. His own mentors ranged from Shakespeare to Woody Guthrie and of course Welsh poet Dylan Thomas from whom he took his name.
Here are some of My favorites: (add one of your own in the comments below)
Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right
Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands
There must be some way out of here (All along the watchtower) It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue
Love Is Just a Four-Letter-Word
Blowin’ In The Wind
Dylans’ lyrics usually tell a STORY and are thus hard to condense but here are a few anyway.
How many roads must a man walk down, Before you call him a man? Yes, ‘n’ how many times can a man turn his head, And pretend that he just doesn’t see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind, The answer is blowin’ in the wind.
I don’t want to fake you out, Take or shake or forsake you out,
I ain’t lookin’ for you to feel like me, See like me or be like me.
All I really want to do, Is baby be friends with you…1964
In the time of my confession, in the hour of my deepest need,
….In the fury of the moment I can see the Master’s hand
In every leaf that trembles, In every grain of sand…1981
You that build all the bombs, You that hide behind walls,
You that hide behind desks… I can see through your masks – …Masters Of War’ – 1963
So when you see your neighbour carryin’ somethin’/Help him with his load, And don’t go mistaking Paradise/For that home across the road… The Ballad Of Frankie Lee And Judas Priest‘ – 1967
He’s been nominated more than once or twice in the past for the Nobel. My take on that is that in a previous generation he could not be taken seriously, nor could the Academy see poetry in lyrics. Many of the people who nominated him today however belong to Dylan’s generation and see him as the voice of that generation. Dylan is of course the first songwriter to have won the prize and there has already been a huge amount of negative reaction to the Award. True to his inscrutable personality, the music legend has not (of yet?) made any public comment. That also makes me smile. What do you think?