Radio Blog #6: Bob Dylan - A Primer

Filed under: — Kate @ 2:48 pm EST

Like it was written in my soul from me to you…

I will now attempt to give you a crash course on Bob Dylan.

I’m not trying recruit new converts—

No, you see. Here’s the problem. You don’t know the history of rock and roll. I do—

I just hope you will give it an honest chance, and possibly come away with a better understanding of one of the masters.

Your lesson begins after the jump.

PART I: The Essentials (or my version anyway)
Here is some required listening, along with a few of my sporadic notes. This only skims the surface, but it should help cover the basics.

1) Blowin’ in the Wind
It’s been covered by everyone from Joan Baez to Elvis to the Staples singers. Jenny sang it in Forrest Gump. Without question, this is the best known and most covered Bob Dylan song. It became the anthem of the civil rights movement, and is arguably the most famous protest song of all time—to the point where it has almost become cliché. Peter, Paul and Mary probably had the most famous version, which I’ve included in Part II.

2) Like a Rolling Stone
Regarded by many as the best song he ever wrote (I would argue that point), Like a Rolling Stone was the biggest radio hit of Dylan’s career, and probably the best known tune where Bob himself is doing the singing. It’s also the most overplayed.

3) Tangled Up In Blue

4) Mr. Tambourine Man
I never used to like this song when I was younger, and then one day it just clicked for me. I think maybe I can identify with the insomnia. Actually, I really love the way the words just roll off his tongue in this song. It just seems so perfect.

5) Hurricane
In this song, Dylan tells the story of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, long before Denzel ever came along.

6) Desolation Row
I love songs that paint a vivid picture in the listener’s mind, and this song is one of the best examples of Dylan’s ability to do just that.

7) A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall
Most people think this song was born out of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the ongoing Cold War. Dylan says it wasn’t, but you can’t really take anything he says at face value.

8) The Times They Are A-changin’

9) Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right

10) Subterranean Homesick Blues

11) Visions of Johanna

12) I Want You
My personal favorite (usually), so I just had to throw it in.

Now onto the second half of the tutorial.

PART II: The Covers
Bob Dylan’s voice is certainly an acquired taste, but that shouldn’t detract from the brilliance of his song writing. So here are some of the most famous covers of his songs.

1) Blowin’ In The Wind - Peter, Paul and Mary

2) All Along The Watchtower - Jimi Hendrix
This is widely regarded as the greatest Dylan cover of all time. There are also well known versions by Dave Matthews Band and U2.

3) Mr. Tambourine Man - The Byrds
I know, I know, you’re all thinking of William Fucking Shatner.

4) Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door - Guns N Roses

5) It Ain’t Me Babe - The Turtles

6) My Back Pages - The Byrds
This song is where the tagline of my blog “Fearing Not I’d Become My Enemy…” originated.

So there you have it. That wasn’t too bad, was it?

For more info, see:
Official Site

4 Responses to “Radio Blog #6: Bob Dylan - A Primer”

  1. Holz Says:

    Shatner’s verison of Mr. Tambourine Man is f’n priceless.


    Best. Cover. Ever.

  2. Kamin Says:

    Ha Holz.. that takes me to right to Stewie…. “She packed my bags last night PREFLIGHT! Zero hour… 9 AM”

    By the way, didn’t Dylan sing that Rhinestone Cowboy song?

  3. Kate Says:

    By the way, didn’t Dylan sing that Rhinestone Cowboy song?
    No… that would be Glen Campbell.

  4. Kamin Says:

    I know… I’m just trying to get a roise out of you, Vanessa!