Happy Birthday, Bob

| May 24, 2011

There are at least five reasons I’m pumped the rapture was a spoof. In all honestly, one of them is not so I can continue to listen to Bob Dylan but hey, it’s his birthday and he deserves all of the recognition he’s getting.

For those of you new to the country (or planet) Dylan is an America icon. Objectively, Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman) is a native Minnesotan, who moved to NYC in 1960 and quickly rose to fame as a bohemian singer-songwriter.

Subjectively, he has been a counter-culture hero for two generations. He is perhaps best known for his unparalleled ability to craft astute, socially-conscious story-songs, and sing them while strumming his guitar and playing harmonica. He is not known for his almighty voice, his technical proficiency or his ability to annunciate, but his fans don’t care. Bob Dylan is one of the most important contributors to American music; his messages permeate our culture in too many ways to mention.

Okay, I’ll mention one way– his influence is so great, that in 2008 his lyrics were cited (by John Roberts Jr. no less) in a supreme court case.

allmusic says “Bob Dylan’s influence on popular music is incalculable.”

Bruce Springsteen has called him “the father of [his] country.”

Bono said “In short, all my life, Bob Dylan has been there for me.”

I don’t know that Bono and I have much in common but I,  undoubtedly as millions of others, feel similarly. Dylan’s written songs that range from observations on the more  quotidian aspects of life to documenting grave social and legal injustices. For me, there’s a Dylan song about most things that happen, or have happened. And he says it better than most ever could. Here are some of my tops, in no particular order.

I Threw It All Away: getting dumped

Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right: doing the dumping

To Make You Feel My Love: all the times inbetween

Tangled up in Blue: anytime at all, really

Shelter From the Storm: bailing out a friend, or being bailed out

Like a Rolling Stone:  revenge

I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight: you know

Subterreanean Homesick Blues: college

If Not for You: dancing with my husband at our wedding

Forever Young: dancing with my brother at his wedding

Mr. Tambourine Man: Ah, maybe this one is better left to your imagination.

Bob has famously said “Just because you like my stuff doesn’t mean I owe you anything.”  There is no shortage of love, fanfare or birthday celebrations for Bob Dylan but in a weird way, I kind of feel like I owe him a little something.