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From The LA Times Music Blog
Bob Dylan turns 70: ‘I’m younger than that now’
May 23, 2011 | 11:59 pm
Somehow, a chorus of “Happy Birthday” just doesn’t cut it for Bob Dylan, the Poet Laureate of his generation, today as he hits the milestone of 70. First and foremost, Bob didn’t write it.
Not surprisingly, the momentous occasion is being observed in many quarters. Rolling Stone magazine has devoted the cover of its latest issue to him, for a story listing the 70 greatest Bob Dylan songs as selected.
Tonight at the Grammy Museum here in Los Angeles, author and historian Sean Wilentz (“Bob Dylan in America”) and journalist-author Mikal Gilmore will lead a musical and philosophical exploration of Dylan’s legacy following a screening of Murray Lerner’s documentary “The Other Side of the Mirror: Bob Dylan Live at the Newport Folk Festival 1963-1965.”
And—gulp!—AARP magazine, the publication of the American Assn. of Retired Persons, also has a Dylan cover piece in which the editors coaxed Bruce Springsteen, Bono, Judy Collins, Mavis Staples and Martin Scorsese into writing a few words in recognition of their peer/hero and/or friend.
Not to be outdone, Pop & Hiss views the occasion as a chance to offer up a salutary bonus episode of Dylan’s brilliant radio series, “Theme Time Radio Hour.” Number-conscious guy that he is, Dylan signed on with XM (now Sirius XM) satellite radio and delivered exactly 100 shows from 2006-2009, each devoted to a broad swath of songs reflecting a given theme, such as the Devil, Christmas, Cadillacs, Jail. Then it was time for he and those famous boot heels to be wanderin’. (TTRH had still been part of the Sirius XM lineup in reruns until, ironically, this month. It’s been taken off the air to make room for the Earle Bailey show.)
So with all humility, here’s a chronologically organized playlist of 70 minutes’ worth of Dylan songs spanning nearly 50 years, songs that reference various facets of age, a topic that’s surfaced repeatedly in his music over the decades: birth, death, youth, maturity, fate, heaven, hell, existentialism, spirituality, generational differences, paradise, past, present and future. read more from The LA Times on line…
I’m going to add to the story. I was still living with my parents when I first heard Dylan on AM radio. I don’t remember the song, maybe “Subterranian Homesick Blues?” Whatever it was the jacket was on the wall above my bed and I listened constantly. It was like the second coming. I’d been through Elvis and that was really cool. Dylan did it again. I listened – and played and listened and played from the Dylan music that appeared shortly after the “Minneapolis hotel tapes” as I understand through his 70th Birthday.
I still have questions. How did he do it? Where did the music/poetry come from? Knowing Dylan’s apparent clear honesty and crystal integrity why did he change his name? Did he have an issue with his being Jewish?
One word to describe Robert Bob Dylan Zimmerman: BRILLIANT! The closest I ever got to Dylan was at The Tropicana Motor Hotel in Hollywood in the 70s. I was checking in and he was checking out. My understanding was that he came down from Malibu with his kids. I recall that he was driving a station-wagon. Chuck E Weiss and Tom Waits were there…
THE GIVERS AND THE TAKERS
“At this point, music manager Albert Grossman began to take an interest in Dylan’s business affairs. Grossman persuaded Dylan to transfer the publishing rights of his songs from Duchess Music, whom he had signed a contract with in January 1962, to Witmark Music, a division of Warner’s music publishing operation. Dylan signed a contract with Witmark on July 13, 1962. Unknown to Dylan, Grossman had also negotiated a deal with Witmark. This gave Grossman fifty percent of Witmark’s share of the publishing income generated by any songwriter Grossman had brought to the company. This “secret deal” resulted in a bitter legal battle between Dylan and Grossman in the 1980s.”
BOTTOM LINE – DYLAN WINS!