by Craig Dargie
The lyrical genius of Bob Dylan is undeniable. The manner in which he blends seemingly unrelated phrases together and transforms them into individual meanings for each and every person is nothing short of majestic. Combine that with his prodigious talents for the harmonica, guitar and a rustic voice nobody can match, and you have a man who will forever remain the icon of an era.
Dylan’s music falls into the genre of folk rock, but an outcry stretching from the USA to Britain ensued when he chose to be backed up by a more conventional rock band when he released the single Highway 61 Revisited in August of 1965. This new style was far from the acoustic sound the world had grown accustomed to. When listening to the collection of Bob Dylan music, one gets the sense he went through a great emotional range during the writing of his music. One minute you will be singing along to an upbeat track, the next you feel yourself following a path of doom and darkness Dylan himself must have felt when he first put pen to paper.
Dylan became the symbolic leader for the movement of change in America. Perhaps this is completely encompassed in his song, The Times they are a-changin’. Dylan however, did not wish to be foisted into this role. His postmodern antics of taking photos of the hoards of paparazzi perhaps symbolize his need to be left alone to continue his love affair with music, without the side show the media craze surrounding him created.
Dylan uses a rather simple but melodic range of chords in all his music. His lyrics flow beautifully into each line, as if you were listening to a story with a tune to it. Highway 61 Revisited is truly one of Dylan?s great works, with songs such as the album?s namesake, Like a Rolling Stone and Desolation Row all on this album. Like a Rolling Stone is perhaps the song that defines the career of Bob Dylan. The sheer genius of the deep organ in the background, accompanied with a truly masterful vocal performance gives the song a signature which can only be defined as intrinsically Bob.
Rolling Stone Magazine?s Top 500 Songs of All Time credit Dylan with an incredible 13 hits, with Like a Rolling Stone taking the top spot. This indicates the high regard in which his music is held in the musical community, now and for generations to come.
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Bob Dylan – Like a Rolling Stone