Bob Dylan is, was, and always will be, my favorite folk singer-songwriter. I like to refer to him as Bobby Z because his real name is Robert Zimmerman. Rumor has it that he changed his last name to Dylan (after the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas) very early in his career, but you’d have to ask him whether or not this is true. Don’t expect him to give you a straight answer though, because this elusive poet is truly an enigma.
Bob Dylan’s songs from the 60s and 70s make up the background music of my life, but I won’t bore you with those details. However, you are probably familiar with, Knockin On Heaven’s Door. This song was written for a movie score about Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. It has been covered by such notable artists as Eric Clapton, and Gun’s & Roses. I prefer Bob’s original version of the song, which you can listen to below…
Knockin On Heaven’s Door
What I Like About Bob Dylan
One of the reasons I like Bob Dylan, is because he isn’t afraid to speak his mind. His lyrics can be painfully honest and very convicting too. They make an impact on the listener, often provoking, and/or providing them with a different perspective to consider. On the other hand, his lyrics can also be ridiculously funny. It’s almost always an adventure when you’re listening to his songs.
Bob often stuck his neck out on controversial issues during the Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam War era, which sometimes caused a great divide among people. They either loved him, or hated him, but no one could ever ignore him. When civil rights advocates wanted to use his popularity to promote their cause, he refused. He just wanted to focus on making music, which made some people angry.
Dylan doesn’t really seem to care what anyone thinks about him, his music, or his personal decisions. He just does his own thing and remains who he is. There is mystery to his personality, but no hype.
Woody’s son, Arlo Guthrie, was a contemporary of Dylan, who also became famous during the sixties. Arlo wrote the well-known
song “Alice’s Restaurant” among others, and was one of the many well known rock icons who performed at the Woodstock festival in 1969.
In 1979 Dylan declared that he had become a “born-again Christian” and was heard playing harmonica on the album “No Compromise” with the popular contemporary-Christian recording artist, Keith Green. Dylan later went on to win his first Grammy Award
that same year with a Contemporary-Christian album of his own called, “Slow Train Coming.”
Bob Dylan’s influence on the direction of popular music is legendary. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1989. During the ceremony Bruce Springstein said Bob Dylan…
“broke through the limitations of what a recording artist could achieve, and changed the face of rock and roll forever.”
The Byrds, Eric Clapton, Gun’s and Roses, and other notable artists have covered and re-created their own hit versions of Dylan’s songs. My all time favorite Dylan cover song is All Along the Watchtower by Jimi Hendrix. Believe it or not, I actually like it better than the original version. It’s that great!