MUSIC: Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man
Happy 65th today to the free-wheeling Bob Dylan! Hard to believe, the same age as my Dad. I've coincidentally been on a Dylan kick lately, reading the entertaining "Rough Guide To Bob Dylan" and recently finally upped my street cred by purchasing "Highway 61 Revisited" and "Blonde on Blonde."
I once read somewhere (wish I could remember where) something to the effect of, when you're a kid, you discover and love The Beatles; as a teenager, Led Zeppelin; a college kid, The Doors; and then as an adult with kids of your own, you finally grow into Bob Dylan. Perhaps that's true, because I've found new depth to the man in recent years. I've always admired Dylan, and owned all three of his greatest hits collections as well as scattered CDs, but I never quite ascended into Dylan fanatic status. But I've grown to really be fond of his finest works, such as the terrific, heartbroken epic "Blood On The Tracks," which I bought a few years back and listen to regularly. (If there's a better, more truthful and vicious song about the bitter bile of a breakup than "Idiot Wind," I haven't heard it.)
I've only seen Dylan once live, and it was back in 1990 when I was barely familiar with him. He was playing part of his 'Never Ending Tour' and came to the University of Mississippi. It was the hip show to go to; and everyone knew about his song "Oxford Town," which dissected the college's darkest hour (the racist uproar and violence over the admission of the college's first black student in 1962). It's kind of funny – "let's go see the show by this guy who wrote a song about how racist and awful we were back then" – but you know, you're a freshman in college, tickets were cheap. Dylan is reportedly either awesome or godawful live. Unfortunately, we pretty much got the awful, with lots of jibba-jabba incomprehensible muttering-singing by Dylan that obscured his great lyrics. (Didn't realize he was playing "Oxford Town" until halfway through the song.) Thanks to the miracles of the obsessional Dylanologists on the Internet I'm even able to find the set list for that long-ago 1990 show – he played "Wiggle Wiggle"??
Anyway, I was a little young to "get" Dylan then, but as one of the man's songs goes, "Ah, but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now." Happy birthday, Mr. Dylan.