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Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?

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GUEST 18 Nov 04 - 12:30 PM
Peace 18 Nov 04 - 12:37 PM
chris nightbird childs 18 Nov 04 - 12:37 PM
GUEST 18 Nov 04 - 12:45 PM
chris nightbird childs 18 Nov 04 - 12:46 PM
GUEST 18 Nov 04 - 01:01 PM
Chris Green 18 Nov 04 - 01:06 PM
alanabit 18 Nov 04 - 01:21 PM
GUEST 18 Nov 04 - 01:24 PM
Mooh 18 Nov 04 - 01:26 PM
chris nightbird childs 18 Nov 04 - 01:33 PM
Chris Green 18 Nov 04 - 01:39 PM
PoppaGator 18 Nov 04 - 01:42 PM
GUEST 18 Nov 04 - 01:43 PM
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Little Hawk 18 Nov 04 - 01:55 PM
chris nightbird childs 18 Nov 04 - 01:55 PM
GUEST 18 Nov 04 - 01:58 PM
Clinton Hammond 18 Nov 04 - 02:06 PM
George Papavgeris 18 Nov 04 - 02:08 PM
GUEST 18 Nov 04 - 02:12 PM
GUEST 18 Nov 04 - 02:15 PM
Mooh 18 Nov 04 - 02:22 PM
GUEST 18 Nov 04 - 02:25 PM
Blissfully Ignorant 18 Nov 04 - 02:30 PM
Chris Green 18 Nov 04 - 02:36 PM
GUEST 18 Nov 04 - 02:38 PM
PoppaGator 18 Nov 04 - 02:42 PM
Chris Green 18 Nov 04 - 02:47 PM
Blissfully Ignorant 18 Nov 04 - 03:01 PM
GUEST 18 Nov 04 - 03:08 PM
PoppaGator 18 Nov 04 - 05:01 PM
GUEST 18 Nov 04 - 06:43 PM
Peace 18 Nov 04 - 06:55 PM
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chris nightbird childs 19 Nov 04 - 10:30 AM
GUEST 19 Nov 04 - 11:37 AM
chris nightbird childs 19 Nov 04 - 12:45 PM
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Subject: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 12:30 PM

Not so much.

In an effort to generate flagging magazine sales and desperately seeking pop culture relevance, Rolling Stone has come out with a "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" and put Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" at #1.

(I have yet to recover from Dylan's Dirty Ole Man of Victoria's Secrets fame phase, but that isn't why I went "waaahhhht the fuck??? to that song).

"Like a Rolling Stone"? #1 best song of all time? I can understand the profound desire to do the easy and sleazy by putting a Dylan song at #1. Rolling Stone is the propaganda wing of The Bob's PR and hype machine, and Jann Wenner probably deserves a lifetime achievement award for hyping Dylan more than any other 60s nostalgia addicted over the hill rock groupie.

After all, the list appears to be made up of Jann Wenner's people: Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Bob Dylan, John Kerry...

Here is a blurb from the New York Daily News' comments about the issue:

"Bob Dylan over John Lennon? The Stones over the Beatles? And Abba over, well, anybody?

Sure to spark heated debates around the jukebox - or maybe the iPod - Rolling Stone magazine has just published a collection of what its panel of experts deem the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

But younger folks may be left wondering whether these critics turned off their radios for good when disco hit. And older folks might wonder why there's very little before Elvis started wiggling his hips.

Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" sits atop the chart - (hmm, why do they like that one so much?) - followed by the Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and Lennon's "Imagine."

Considering this magazine is now several decades beyone it's relevance sell-by date, I don't even understand how this magazine stays in business.

But I am not the least bit surprised to see the "magazine of the 60s generation" once again hyping it's own hype of Dylan being the "voice of the 60s generation" by playing this silly game of generating a buzz and hype list of "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" to go with it's other idiotic "greatest list" issues.

Perhaps a darkly ironic anti-list is in order...


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: Peace
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 12:37 PM

Mr Tamborine Man should be there, IMO.


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 12:37 PM

It would've been fine if they stayed the magazine of the 60's generation, but they continually try to be hip... and fail.
As for their top songs, all of their choices are typical...


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 12:45 PM

The top 20 songs from Rolling Stone Magazine's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time":

"Like a Rolling Stone" Bob Dylan
"(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" The Rolling Stones
"Imagine" John Lennon
"What's Going On" Marvin Gaye
"Respect" Aretha Franklin
"Good Vibrations" The Beach Boys
"Johnny B. Goode" Chuck Berry
"Hey Jude" The Beatles
"Smells Like Teen Spirit" Nirvana
"What'd I Say" Ray Charles
"My Generation" The Who
"A Change is Gonna Come" Sam Cooke
"Yesterday" The Beatles
"Blowin' in the Wind" Bob Dylan
"London Calling" The Clash
"I Want to Hold Your Hand" The Beatles
"Purple Haze" The Jimi Hendrix Experience
"Maybellene" Chuck Berry
"Hound Dog" Elvis Presley
"Let It Be" The Beatles

The celebrity panel included Joni Mitchell, "David Letterman" bandleader Paul Shaffer and Daily News critic-at-large David Hinckley.


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 12:46 PM

It's the same list they use everytime... the all-purpose list, I guess.


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 01:01 PM

Out of the list above, I'd say "Imagine" and "What's Goin' On" deserve top twenty five status, depending on how the list is contrived. And "London Calling" is a good choice.

But the whole series Wenner has done of the "500 Greatest" things seems just sooooo tragic 60s nostalgia, doesn't it? Again, from the Daily News:

"Indeed, of the 500 songs, a staggering 202 were written in the 1960s, and another 144 were penned a decade later. Meanwhile, only 55 songs from the 1980s were selected. Okay, maybe they got that right.

But just three songs from the current decade were chosen: Eminem's "Lose Yourself" (No. 166) and "Stan" (No. 290), and last year's ubiquitous hit, OutKast's "Hey Ya" (No. 180).

Not surprisingly, the Beatles placed the most songs on the list with an astounding 23. Their ancient rivals, the Stones, took second with 14, two ahead of Dylan and three in front of Elvis.

These totals, once again, show the list's generational bias: Of the acts that place at least seven songs on the countdown, only one - U2, with a new album out next week - can still be seen as being at the top of its game."

It is important to remember that Rolling Stone was the only unique cultural enterprise Wenner ever had, and I've a feeling it was probably his wife's idea anyway.

Lest we forget, Wenner also believed neither MTV or Netscape would ever be relevant.


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: Chris Green
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 01:06 PM

I genuinely don't get why "Imagine" is classed as a great song. It seems to me like a turgid, obvious, hippy-dippy dirge! I'm not flaming, honestly, - could anyone explain what (if anything!) I'm missing?


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: alanabit
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 01:21 PM

I don't know why anyone can get too excited about this sort of thing. It's all subjective and it's use is as a starting point for a discussion among friends. I would expect most people of any generation to list what they know best. Why should that surprise anyone? In the event, I like most of the songs listed and I think that talkiing over a drum track is not the same as composing a song. It's what you would expect. I come from that generation.
At least Bob Dylan put a name to his songs - good or bad. I wish the poster who began this thread had done likewise.


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 01:24 PM

The zeitgeist the song represents. It was an anti-Vietnam War anthem. I think "What's Goin' On" is a million times better song, and if there is any song that captured the 60s, in my mind, it is Marvin Gaye's song NOT a Dylan song.


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: Mooh
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 01:26 PM

ELP's take on Jerusalem, the ELO version of Roll Over Beethoven or better yet Mountain doing the same tune, the Stone's doing Like A Rolling Stone, Hendrix's All Along The Watchtower, Led Zeppelin's Since I've Been Loving You, and Gallows Pole, Mott The Hoople's own All The Way From Memphis, Jeff Beck doing I Ain't Superstitious, the Allman Bros spin on Statesborough Blues and even the Jethro Tull one, Neil Young's Rockin' In The Free World, the Stone's Street Fighting Man, Deep Purple's Lazy, Jethro Tull's Aqualung...And I haven't even left the era!

What, you weren't asking for my ideas? Rolling Stone just needs something to print...what do they know?

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 01:33 PM

Imagine is not one of Lennon's best. If he were here he'd say the same thing...

"Imagine was just Working Class Hero with sugar on for conservatives..."

- yes, an actual quote.


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: Chris Green
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 01:39 PM

So even Lennon didn't particularly rate "Imagine"? The plot thickens... :)


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 01:42 PM

I, for one, pretty much agree with RS -- certainly in regard to the top 20 listed above. I'm part of that same dreaded dinosaur demographic, first wave of the postwar baby boom. Of course, I haven't read the magazine in years -- they seem to be trying to leave old farts like me behind, but this list seems to indicate they've reverted to their roots after all.

"Like A Rolling Stone" not only *is* a great song, it *was* an even greater event. If you weren't "there" (i.e., if you weren't alive at the time), you probably can't imagine its impact.

I will agree that "What's Going On" and "Imagine" are probably more timeless and in that sense perhaps objectively "greater." But I know and love almost everything on the list -- 18 out of 20, anyway. (I know but *don't* love the Nirvana number, and I don't know one Clash song from another, although I'm sure I'd enjoy the one they chose.)

If it's OK to be attached to 18th/19th century sea shanties, or to 1920s/30s Delta blues, it must certainly be OK to love the "tradition" of 1960s/70s folk-rock/psychedelia -- no?

My only quibbles -- where's the Memphis soul (Stax/Volt) and the Grateful Dead?


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 01:43 PM

Which begs the question, why wasn't "Working Class Hero" there instead of "Imagine"?

Answer: I think it was the zeitgeist thing. That song was the musical apex that represented middle class boomer angst over the war, hence it's subsequent popularity amongst middle class liberal baby boomers.

I'm not a huge fan of the song, but I do appreciate the impact the song had, which is what makes it reasonable in a "greatest songs of the 60s and 70s" list, which is really what this list should be titled.

Another pop song of same ilk as "Imagine" amongst middle class liberal boomers of the era was a much better song: "Scarborough Fair".

Surprising there is no Simon and Garfunkel on the top 20 list. Wenner must have a grudge match thing going on with Paul Simon.


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 01:52 PM

I can remember still how I felt when "Like a Rolling Stone" came on the radio, and it felt a bit like a "soundtrack to the 60s" sort of feeling, the same way "Satisfaction" was. But both songs were overhyped and overplayed then, and are still overhyped now as "greatest songs".

I do still look to the Top 40 lists to distinguish between the soundtrack of the era sorts of songs, and the zeitgeist sorts of "greatest" sorts of songs, like "Born in the USA" for example. "Imagine" is in the latter category, "Like a Rolling Stone" in the former category.

And excuse me but, why aren't the Everly Brothers on the top 20 list? Shouldn't either "Cathy's Clown" or "Wake Up Little Susie" be there?


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 01:53 PM

Or Roy Orbison's "Only the Lonely"?


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 01:55 PM

(shrug)

Having a bad hair day, GUEST? Look, I don't particularly care what Rolling Stone thinks about "Like A Rolling Stone"...or what you think about it either. :-) Just 2 more opinions, that's all. They were there, though, and I wonder if you were? If not, you can't possibly imagine the impact some of those songs had at the time, particularly "Satisfaction" and "Like A Rolling Stone". "Yesterday", "I Wanna Hold Your Hand", "Blowin' in the Wind", and "Purple Haze" were similarly influential. And...the Beatles and Stones from '65 on owed a lot to Dylan, and aspired to write in similar fashion if they could manage it (not easily!). Did you know that?

All considered, it's not a very surprising lineup of songs for the top 20.

Just make up your own list of songs. Then you'll feel better, hopefully...and then other people can have the fun of attacking your list. More fun for everyone!


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 01:55 PM

Orbison should be there At least 5 times!


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 01:58 PM

Amen to that! Also, why no Stevie Wonder, hmmmmm???


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 02:06 PM

There's only ONE persons Top 500 list that yer ever gonna agree with, and that's your own...

So why give it any more thought?


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 02:08 PM

No Bohemian Rhapsody? No We Will Rock You? None of the dozens of wonderful Queen songs?

No Sweet Home Alabama? No Mama Told Me Not To Come? Whiter Shade Of Pale?

No Mr Blobby or Tiger Feet? (OK, I'm joking here)

What is it that has the UK and US masses besotted with lists? They mean sod all, they are arbitrary and subjective, and they only serve promotion purposes. Why do we even talk about this?


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 02:12 PM

Because it amuses us, Clinton, why else? It isn't a be all, end all thing. But we humans love to make lists of our favorite things, and see what other peoples' list of their favorite things looks like compared to ours.

Not terribly complex, now is it?

I mean, here is the About.com Top 100 Pop Hits list which is a fan voting list. It puts "Satisfaction" at #1 and "Like a Rolling Stone" at #21 I think it is--and "What's Goin' On" behind that.

Of course the lists are arbitrary and capricious, that is the point. Which is why Rolling Stone keeps putting the "Greatest" list issues out.

Now, how is it that Motown isn't represented in the top 20? Surely there must be a Motown song that would qualify as a zeitgeist sort of song...


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 02:15 PM

"Whiter Shade of Pale"--excellent choice, as is "We Will Rock You" and "We are the Champions".

"Whiter Shade" is a true zeitgeist sort of song, as can be attested to by it continuing to show up even now in pop culture (I'm recalling "The Commitments" scene on the church organ).

I hated Queen, but those songs certainly qualify, I'd think.


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: Mooh
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 02:22 PM

I dunno, I always thought the first two Queen records were the best ones.

What about the Ruttles? Rock's ego still prevents laughing at itself.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 02:25 PM

I'm trying to go back to the early 60s and before too, hence my mention of Roy Orbison and the Everly Brothers.

The 50s is poorly represented, and the "Greatest Songs of All Time" one would think might have at least one Sinatra song it, or something penned by Irving Berlin or the Gershwins.

I was also trying to think of a zeitgeist sort of song for WWII. "I'll Be Seeing You" perhpas?


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: Blissfully Ignorant
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 02:30 PM

You do realise they only did it so we could all discuss it? Why, you should be grateful! :0)


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: Chris Green
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 02:36 PM

If we're talking zeitgeist songs how about "Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag?" Or going further back, how about the 17th century Civil War song "Babylon"? (in the DT here)

I would tentatively suggest that what we're referring to as 'zeitgeist' songs are now in fact 'nostalgia' songs, which is why the pre-50s are so poorly represented - ie, there are fewer people around who were actually there! :)


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 02:38 PM

Well, I didn't know they did it because I follow the magazine! I read about the list at Google News, while there getting my daily news fix. Here is my fave quote from all the articles about the list, so far:

From Brian Donnelly at The Herald:

"Welcome, then, to the sound of middle-aged conformity, where songsmiths who themselves have reached hallowed status define their influences for a brand new generation...

...No-one's disputing the era-defining power many of these songs still possess. Being commodified in such a way, however, cheapens them, and ignores anything off-kilter or non guitar-based. Dance culture? Not likely...

But where are those other slices of post-modern pop brilliance, like Beyonce's Crazy For Love and Kylie's Can't Get You Out Of My Head?
Maybe they're just too darned girly for Rolling Stone, or perhaps the panel are too stricken with advanced tinnitus to recognise such 21st century bubblegum genius."


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 02:42 PM

GUEST (whichever guest, if there are indeed more than one of you): "What's Goin' On" is a Motown song, technically at least (i.e., on the Motown label, by a Motown artist), but I know what you mean. There's no typical "Motown-sound" number on the list. The problem is probably singling out just one of them -- just like there's no one Grateful Dead number you could easily select.

And, as I've already hinted: where's Otis -- and the rest of the Stax/Volt bunch?

I was not particularly alarmed at the omission of Simon and/or Garfunkel -- certainly no moreso than by the absense of Neil Young and/or Buffalo Springfield/CSN/CSNY. "For What It's Worth" would have been an appropriate choice, especially given the early-RSmagazine-era bias.

My own personal list of faves (if were to bother making one) would also omit just about anything after the mid-70s -- but would NOT omit the 50s and early 60s, like their list does. Orbison and the Everleys, indeed -- plus, definitely, my single all-time favorite slow-dance record, the Flamingos' eerie and beautiful "I Only Have Eyes for You."


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: Chris Green
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 02:47 PM

Beyonce?! Kylie Minogue?!! POST_MODERN POP BRILLIANCE???!!! For f**k sake!

Who's next then? Right Said Fred? The Banana Splits? Boney M?

Yours sincerely

Apoplectic of Coventry :)


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: Blissfully Ignorant
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 03:01 PM

Kylie Minogue makes me feel grateful that i have buttocks. I mean look at the poor lassie, there's nothing to her!


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 03:08 PM

No need for apoplexy, m'dear duelling, if one reads the last paragraph as an ironic, tongue-firmly-in-cheek commentary of the oft-insipid choices of the list makers, whom it is claimed are "172 writers and artists, including Joni Mitchell, Elvis Costello and k.d. lang."

And I believe Wenner has arrogantly decided that "All Time" began with the birth of his magazine in San Francisco.

"I Only Have Eyes"--another choice made in extraordinarily good taste!

I was also thinking of the 50s R & B doo wop & ballad genres--classics like Little Anthony and the Imperials "Goin' Out of My Head" and "Hurts So Bad". Or Ray Charles' "Georgia".

As to the Motown "choice" of a song that embodies the era and the sound, I'd have a hard time with that one too. "My Girl"? "Tracks of My Tears"?

Or howzabout rockabilly? How can this list not acknowledge the uniquely American influences on 60s rock fer chrissake, like Little Richard, Lefty Frizell, Carl Perkins, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, "Hey Bo Diddley"...Not just the Stax stuff but Memphis Sun, and a whole lotta other stuff.

Or even the rockabilly/country pop crossover sorts of stuff like Johnny Rivers' "Memphis" or "Mountain of Love" or "Poor Side of Town"?


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 05:01 PM

Looks like we're compiling our own "Top 100" -- maybe even 150 or 200!

Mention of Little Richard reminds me of my very favorite rock 'n' roll subgenre, the stuff recorded here in New Orleans at J&L Studios, with that great band featuring Earl Palmer, Lee Allen, Red Tyler, Papoose Nelson, etc.

That would include most of Richard's hits, several of Ray Charles' pre-"What'd I Say" race records, all of Fats Domino, plenty of lesser-known stuff by the likes of Shine Robinson, Irma Thomas, and some major works by my single all-time favorite artist, Professor Longhair.

And then, just a few years later, there's another slew of great records produced by Allen Toussaint at his Sea-Saint Studios, with The Meters as studio band: Jesse "Oooh-Poo-pa-Doo" Hill, Lee Dorsey, Ernie K-Doe, Robert Palmer...

Of course, I don''t expect much national/international awareness of this unfortunately obscure "local" New Orleans stuff. But it sure is great!


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 06:43 PM

Well, my intention isn't to create my own list, I am just ruminating aloud as to how so many of the great songs and great artists are ignored by a magazine that claims to be about rock and pop music.

I mean really--not even ONE Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Carl Perkins, et al song in the top 20? What the hell kind of rock song list of all time can it possibly be?


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: Peace
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 06:55 PM

Any Dave Edmunds?


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 19 Nov 04 - 01:14 AM

Oh no! They forgot "Whiter Shade..."? THat's one of my favourite songs of all time!

(No Bliss, Kylie doesn't have much of a bum does she?)


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: alanabit
Date: 19 Nov 04 - 02:53 AM

Yes she does! I think her act works better on posters than it does on pop records...


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: Big Tim
Date: 19 Nov 04 - 10:27 AM

Any of these could be top!

Blowin in the Wind,
Hard Rain,
Don't Think Twice,
Hollis Brown,
One Too Many Mornings,
North Country Blues,
Hattie Carroll,
Chimes of Freedom,
My Back Pages,
Like a Rolling Stone,
Ballad of a Thin Man,
Highway 61,
Desolation Row,
Visions of Johanna,
Stuck Inside of Mobile,
Sad Eyed Lady,
Tangled Up In Blue,
You're a Big Girl Now,
Idiot Wind,
Changing of the Guards,
Where Are You Tonight?

Lennon, Jagger: don't make me laugh. They couldn't lace Dylan's boots of Spanish leather.


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 19 Nov 04 - 10:30 AM

Jagger wouldn't be anything without Richard, I think that's been proven by his solo albums. Lennon's the only one that ever came close to Dylan...


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Nov 04 - 11:37 AM

I disagree that Dylan was a better songwriter than Lennon/McCartney. While I agree that Dylan shook up the folk status quo by going electric with the performance of "Like a Rolling Stone" that act didn't change the face of popular music the way the Beatles did.

Besides this list being ridiculous in it's "of all time" claims (it is almost exclusively a list of songs from the 60s and 70s), so are it's claims of having chosen the greatest songs. If that is the criteria, then it should actually choose great songs. I also believe the bias in the list is apparent too--besides being skewed to the realm of middle class conformity and tastes, it also skews towards an American bias over the British.

"Like a Rolling Stone" is a great song, and one of the great songs of the era, and Dylan is a great songwriter.

But that doesn't change the fact I am of the generation he is supposed to be the voice for, and I can tell you flat out Dylan never spoke for me or to me with his music. I know many people of my generation who would say the same thing.

History will tell us for sure, but I'm guessing that the Beatles place in popular music history is well secured. Dylan's place in music history? Not really. It's much more tentative.


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 19 Nov 04 - 12:45 PM

The "voice of a generation" label was pressed upon Dylan. He never said he was. I agree with Lennon/McCartney being better IF you're talking about Pop Music... their was/still not anyone to touch them, but if you're talking strictly songwriting, it's Bob all the way. Hell, I think Lennon was a better writer than McCartney in that aspect.


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Nov 04 - 01:06 PM

Well, to me pop songs are songs, and therefore qualify as songwriting. Just because many of us prefer the type of rock songs Bob Dylan wrote to the type of pop songs the Beatles wrote shouldn't mean that Dylan is better than Lennon/McCartney as songwriters.

I really do put Lennon/McCartney right up there with the Gershwins, Irving Berlin, Rodgers/Hammerstein, etc. I think Dylan is the rung below that as far as songwriting goes.

Let's face it, Dylan just don't do love songs as well as a songwriter needs to, in order to enter the ethers of the greats that stand the test of time.

I love a lot of Dylan's songs, but that is because they are "of my era" and nostalgia plays a huge role in that, as someone noted above. There is that rule of thumb that says we applaud our own memories of songs and how they acted as soundtracks of our lives, more than we applaud great songwriting.

For instance, as I thought of the two Queen examples I gave above, I decided that I wouldn't put "We Are the Champions" on the list. That is a soundtrack of the era sort of song. But "We Will Rock You" belongs in the "great song" category, IMO, because it is the one song I can think of that truly defines the "arena rock" genre of music.

I don't know how well I'm articulating the difference here. Also, it is difficult when there are Dylan devotees in the midst who insist (subjectively, not objectively in my view) that Dylan is the best of the best for all time, period, end of discussion.


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 19 Nov 04 - 01:10 PM

Whether you like Dylan or not, and whether or not you felt included among the multitudes who hung on his every word, you cannot deny that he opened the enterprise of songwriting to a completely new level of seriousness and expanded the variety of topics and concerns that a songwriter might explore.

John and Paul may or may not have been "better" songwriters than Bob in some final evaluation, but it's undeniable that they not only acknowleged his influence, but that -- at a certain point in time, anyway -- they looked up to him and explicitly stated their desire to emulate him.

There's a quite obvious difference between the Beatle's work before and after Dylan's emergence from the US folk-music "ghetto" into the worldwide rock-pop scene and after the Beatles and Bob had had their historic meeting.


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Nov 04 - 02:15 PM

I can't agree Dylan opened up songwriting to a level of seriousness and subject matter--there was plenty of serious songwriting about political subjects for decades when Dylan came around--or doesn't political folk music count? Dylan, along with several other songwriters, got it played on the radio more than it had been before, because political songs became part of pop culture in the 60s. But he wasn't the only who did it by a long shot. I can't stand on solid ground and say he wasn't even the first songwriter to do it--maybe he was, but I don't think so. There were a lot of people recording and performing political songs at the time Dylan decided to take it up.

I just don't see Dylan as the pioneer that his devotees see him being regarding songwriting with serious subject matter. Now, if you want to say that "Like a Rolling Stone" matters because it was longer than 2 minutes and therefore changed the airplay format on radio, you might have a case. But that isn't the same thing as revolutionizing popular music the way the Beatles did. And whether you like the label or not, Bob Dylan plays popular music.

Here is my thing: in 1965 there was a lot of different sounding music in the pop charts, and Dylan was part of that, but not the Supreme Being of it. I mean come on, in the Top 409 hits for 1965, there were also these songs:

Baby the Rain Must Fall - Glenn Yarborough
California Girls - Beach Boys
A Change is Gonna Come - Sam Cooke
Do You Believe in Magic - Lovin' Spoonful
Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood - The Animals
Eve of Destruction - Barry McGuire
For Lovin' Me - Peter, Paul, and Mary
For Your Love - Yardbirds
Go Now! - Moody Blues
Going to A Go Go - Smokey Robinson & the Miracles
Satisfaction - Rolling Stones
I've Been Lovin' You too Long - Otis Redding
Hurts So Bad - Little Anthony and the Imperials
In the Midnight Hour - Wilson Picket
The In Crowd - Ramsey Lewis (an instrumental that hit #5)
Laugh, Laugh - Beau Brummels (a "Whiter Shade of Pale sort of song)

And I didn't include the multiple hits of many of the music acts that year that could be added to the above. I just give this list as a sample of what the music was that was being played on radio in 1965, when "Like a Rolling Stone" hit the Billboard charts.

Before 1965 we had the Beatles, Marvin Gaye, Roy Orbinson, Ray Charles, the Shirelles (hey, now that I think of it--how come none of theirs and the other girl group songs made the list, like "Heat Wave" or "One Fine Day" etc?), Etta James, James Brown, Beach Boys--hell, Peter Paul and Mary had hits with "Blowin' in the Wind" and "Don't Think Twice" in 1963, 2 years before Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" hit the charts. So if someone wanted to argue that Dylan's PP & M songs (rather than his performances and recordings of his songs) predates the Beatles, you would be correct about that in the US. But that is because the Beatles don't enter the US charts until January 1964. But hell, Elvis' "What'd I Say" was a 1964 hit too.

Lennon/McCartney weren't as profoundly influenced by another great songwriter of the era who WAS all over the charts pre-1964/1965 when the shit hit the fan musically, and that was Brian Wilson. "Don't Worry Baby" was just one of their hits in 1964--along with the Drifters "Under the Boardwalk" and "Baby I Need Your Lovin'" (the Temptations) and "Memphis" (Johnny Rivers) and "It's All Over Now" (Rolling Stones), and "Dancin' in the Streets" (Martha and the Vandellas), "Pretty Woman" (Roy Orbison), "You Really Got Me" (Kinks), and a bazillion Beatles songs that year, along with "She's Not There" and some other classics of the "British invasion".

So if you base your arguments on Dylan influencing the Beatles, I think that is pretty weak, considering they couldn't possibly have heard any Dylan songs prior to the PP & M songs that were on the charts in 1963. But they sure as hell heard Brian Wilson, and the Beatles harmonies in their songs certainly reflect that influence. Not Dylan. His influence on Lennon/McCartney wouldn't come until much later. By the time Dylan arrived on the charts, the seismic change in popular music had already occurred. Dylan was a beneficiary of those changes, rode the wave--he didn't set the changes in motion the way the Beatles & the British invasion did, or the way that the R & B genre moving into popular music did at the same time.


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 19 Nov 04 - 02:38 PM

Good point about Brain Wilson, for sure. And about R&B's emergence into the mainstream. And I *love* just about every single item on your list of 1965 hits; the one that surprised me the most was "Hurts So Bad" -- I had forgotten that Little Anthony was still at it into the mid-60s.

I still feel that Dylan's importance remains unparalleled, but can't "prove" it, and certainly can't convince an unbeliever. Sorta like trying to argue the existence of God. ;^).

You and I agree about too much to keep arguing over one artist.


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Nov 04 - 02:44 PM

True, we do agree on just about everything...

...except that pesky detail as to whether or not Dylan is God. ;-)


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: alanabit
Date: 19 Nov 04 - 03:32 PM

I have to wade in here and say that Dylan was a revolutionary songwriter. He didn't have the melodic subtlety of Lennon and McCartney - let alone Richard Rogers or Irving Berlin et al. His early political songs were not his strongest claim to originality either (in my 'umble opinion). You are right to say that had been done before.
What really marked out his path to greatness was his mastery of the complex, psychologial profile and the stream of consciousness in song. He was the first to do that on such an ambitious scale. I just can not think of any song similar in ambition to "It's Alright Ma I'm Only Bleeding" or "Ballad of a Thin Man" before Dylan came along. Only Bob Dylan could have been the first to make such songs sound credible. I can't think of anyone else offhand who can pull it off quite so well.


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 19 Nov 04 - 03:36 PM

I thought it was *Clapton* who was God...


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: alanabit
Date: 19 Nov 04 - 03:47 PM

He's not quite God, I guess, but he does play guitar annoyingly well!


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Nov 04 - 03:50 PM

Everyone is God. :-) So, why not Dylan?

But I digress. "Whiter Shade of Pale" is definitely one of the great seminal songs of all time.

I think Dylan considerably exceeded Lennon/McCartney or Jagger/Richards as a poetic songwriter...but...at the same time it is true that the Beatles and the Stones were both exceptional at what they did in their own unique fashion. Dylan was a great admirer of what the Beatles did with melody, chording, rythm, and vocal harmonies. As far as he was concerned, they led the way in those areas from '64 on, and it changed everything. He led the way in poetic imagery, serious lyrical content, and in bridging roots music with popular music...and the Beatles were aware of that. The Stones led the way in blues-based "angry young white boy" rock music. They were all masters of their particular craft, and they all borrowed happily from one another. It wasn't a competition, it was a mutual explosion of creativity.

Their fans can fight over it after the fact if they want to... :-)

"All Along the Watchtower" as recorded by Jimmy Hendrix (but written by Bob Dylan) was another very significant song.

As for WWII era zeitgeist, I would nominate Vera Lynn's "White Cliffs of Dover", "Lili Marleine", and Edith Piaf's marvelous signature song, "La Vie en Rose".


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Nov 04 - 04:11 PM

No, PoppaGator, the God of Guitars...

...or was that Duane Allman?

I agree that Dylan's songwriting had a "something" to it that made a certain type of song more "credible". But I think what we are talking about is the folk/rock singer/songwriter genre being born with Dylan, much more than his actual songwriting abilities.

I mean, how many "classic" Dylan songs are there compared to the Lennon/McCartney or Jaggers/Richards? Certainly not more in number, or quality really.

Now, if you want to argue body of work, I think you have an argument, just not one you'll win. ;-)

How many Dylan songs get covered nowadays? How many kids of subsequent generations have thought Dylan was a great songwriter? Nowadays, the only kids who look to Dylan as a god are the indie rock kids who look up to Beck and others of that ilk.

And I would argue, that Dylan is no better/worse than John Prine, Roger McGuinn, Paul Simon, Fairport Convention, Phil Ochs, Joni Mitchell. But I would especially say John Prine, who, IMO is the best "short story set to music" songwriter of the generation, and even out-Dylans Dylan in that genre of songwriting.

I don't want y'all to think I don't like Dylan. I agree he is one of the top songwriters of the 60s, but I don't see him as being more extraordinary a songwriter than others I mention above, who weren't exactly songwriting dummies. I just hate the "voice of the generation" propaganda, because I have always felt it shortchanged so many songwriters who really were as good as Dylan, and who at the time blew our minds just as much as Dylan did.

That's all I'm sayin'. And that I haven't bought a Dylan album in a couple decades because there just wasn't much there that interested me. Unlike John Prine and Joni Mitchell--I kept listening to their music for longer than I did Dylan's. There isn't much in the post-Band era of Dylan's I thought was worth much. Some, but not much.


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: GUEST,Danny
Date: 19 Nov 04 - 11:55 PM

I'd have to say that as a Brit in the '70s, we didn't get Bob Dylan at all. We just wondered why a jew changed his name to that of a great Welsh poet and ripped off a large part of the British traditional folk music catalogue, changed some words and then claimed it as his own.
From friends in America, his personality is apparently best described as "an Asshole".


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: Big Tim
Date: 20 Nov 04 - 03:49 AM

Danny, you're talking rubbish. If "Brits" didn't get Dylan, how come his fans nearly sunk the Isle of Wight in 1969, and sold out Blackbushe in 1978 (one of the biggest paying gigs of all time) and, finally, how come "Brits" have bought millions of his albums and are counted by Bob himself as being among his most loyal fans? I forgot, how come 100,000 paid to see him at Wembley in 1984, at a time when his career was not exactly at its peak? How many roads must a man walk down before you call him a man?

Sam Cooke felt that HE (Sam) should have written "Blowin in the Wind", which he recorded, so he sat down and wrote "A Change is Gonna Come". That's influence.


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Nov 04 - 08:39 AM

And where are all the anti-Dylan folk nazis who reside in splendor here? Don't wanna rock the boat I guess


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 20 Nov 04 - 11:04 AM

Dammit, GUEST, I swore I wuz gonna drop this, but I can't!

1) I (too) stopped following every Dylan release, sometime around the mid-70s. My high opinion of his work is pretty much based on the earlier stuff. I think he's "back" -- into another one of his high-quality creative periods -- as of "Love & Death," which I like and admire (as I did other isolated latter-day albums, like, say, "Blood On The Tracks").

2) As far as that "Voice of a Generation" business goes, I plead guilty to having felt that he *was* speaking to me and my peers during a very turbulent time. The Beatles and others, too, but none so tellingly as Bob. Since then, I've come to realize that, while there was indeed "something happening here" within worldwide youth culture to which musicians with worldwide exposure gave voice, those musicians themselves were blundering their way through the times just about as blindly as everyone else. Their efforts to make sense of things, however, were welcome and admirable.

3) What surprised me the most when I read "Chronicles Vol I" last week was all the great, complimentary things Bob had to say about *folk music* in the final part of the book. Based on things I've read and heard over the years, I had thought his attitude was different -- that rock 'n' roll was his true calling and that he valued it most highly, that he played it in high school and then again in '65 and ever since, and that those years in the folk world were just a youthful diversion and/or a ploy to get involved in a briefly popular trend. What he says in his new book is quite different: as he recalls his younger days, when he first encountered folk music and threw himself into learning everything he could about it, he goes on for pages and pages about the depth and seriousness and timeless appeal of songs that have come down to us through various folk traditions -- thoughts that even the hardest-assed "folk Nazi" would applaud. Kinda surprising, and very nice indeed.


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Nov 04 - 12:17 PM

I know I'm going to sound cynical, but The Bob has had plenty of time to think about what he wanted to say in The Bob Chronicles. Considering the folk music arena is where he was most vociferously criticized for selling out (well, at least until the Victoria's Secrets commercial), it doesn't surprise me that he would speak affectionately and even authoritatively about folk music.

That said, I'm guessing Dylan picked up most of what he learned about songwriting from folk music and the folk musicians he learned from at the time of the 609s folk revivals in American, British, and Irish music. The folk traditions make for pretty good songwriting teachers, and the rest I put down to The Bob's natural gift and talent for lyric writing. The Bob's tunes are much less impressive than the lyrics. Which is why I put him on the second rung of songwriting greatness, rather than the top.

And finally, I appreciate that Dylan was the be all and end all for some people who value his type of song above all others. But that is hardly universal. I think it's pretty safe to say, most people on the planet would rather hear a catchy Beatles song than the best that Dylan has to offer. His kind of music, at it's best, is an acquired taste. Most people want music to speak to their hearts and their feet, ie to emotions put to rhythm so's they can dance to it.    You never see too many people dancing to Dylan, do ya?

Dylan is the undisputed master of a certain kind of intellectual song, a certain kind of music that appeals to educated Westerners. But his music just doesn't have the universal appeal of the Beatles. That is how I measure true greatness in songwriting ability: the reach of the song itself in terms of appeal, and it's reach through time, which makes it a classic down through the generations. There is a reason why "I Only Have Eyes For You" appeals down through the ages, even though it was written in the early 30s. How many Dylan songs will still be hits for the artists who cover them 50-75 years from now? My guess is, not a whole lot of them. A few, but not many. But there will be a huge slew of Lennon/McCartney tunes that will be covered and made hits anew.


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 20 Nov 04 - 12:37 PM

"Most people want music to speak to their hearts and their feet, ie to emotions put to rhythm so's they can dance to it.    You never see too many people dancing to Dylan, do ya?"


Ha! You just hit upon the crux of something there, my friend. I never listened to music at any age because I wanted something to dance to. Never. And you know why? Because I grew up listening to folk music. Music that made me think. Music that gave me a comprehension of history, philosophy, social causes, ideals, cultural change, and so on. Folk music, unlike most other musical genres, is NOT primarily intended as dance or entertainment music...it's primarily intended as "think and then feel that which you are thinking about and think some more" music. It doesn't merely entertain, it enlightens.

Popular music is intended as feel only...and then dance...but for heaven's sake, don't think! Just danc with the other sheep who aren't thinking. Do you think that commercial radio stations want anyone to think? Hell, if they did they'd turn off the damn radio station and listen to something real that wasn't permiated with an endless avalanche of advertising and obnoxious deejay blabber.

And therein lies the divide. I like the side of it that Dylan is on and I take to it naturally...hence I consider him the greatest songwriter of them all. You prefer the other side of that general divide, thus you are naturally more tuned in to the Beatles and a great many others. (who also did great music in their own fashion)

Dylan does not write songs for people to dance to. And that's just fine with me.

He either moves you profoundly or he doesn't. If he doesn't, there's nothing I can say that will faze you in the slightest.

And for the other yobbo from the UK...he did NOT name himself after Dylan Thomas!


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 20 Nov 04 - 01:08 PM

Dang, GUEST, are you *always* on line, lurking at Mudcat, or are you just always here at the same times I am? Did you put some kinda spyware in my computers (home & work both)? Soon as I open my virtual mouth, there you are again!

I had the same cynical thought about Bob's paean to folk music in "Chronicles," but I really felt as though he could only have formulated the thoughts he expressed if he had the requisite insights, if he had actually thought those thoughts himself. In other words, questioning his sincerity on this point is kinda moot. Of course, like all of us, I'm sure he has certainly entertained opposite points of view at different times.

I'll also concede that the Beatles' songbook probably includes more different numbers that will be long remembered by a wider public, but plenty of Dylan stuff will be immortal, too.

As far as Dylan being praiseworthy only as a lyricist, not as a tunesmith: Bob speaks directly to this in "Chronicles," asking "Why then am I getting so many royalties for instrumental versions of my songs [e.g., elevator music, etc.]? True, much of his earliest folk-era stuff used "borrowed" trad melodies, but he eventually became a truly complete songwriter.

One example -- just the other evening, I was listening to the drive-time "Jazz From the Park" program on WWOZ-FM on my way home from work, when I heard a young female jazz singer doing her version of "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go." Hearing that song in a new and unfamilar arrangement made me realize more than ever before what a truly remarkable piece it is! Either the lyric or the melody by itself would be impressive, and the two go together seamlessly, of course. Way more sophisticated than anything the Beatles ever produced, I'd say -- and I'm a pretty enthusiastic fan of the Beatles. This is a song where Bob pretty much beats Cole Porter at his own game; I don't think I could say that about *anyone* else.

And one minor, almost-unrelated little argument: "Only Have Eyes" was/is an outstanding composition, of course, but the original arrangement and presentation had none of the strange and mysterious quality of the Flamingos' doo-wop masterpiece. The reinterpretation was even further from the original than was the Marvell's gloriously tongue-in-cheek "Blue Moon" (which my mother, of course, considered an absolute desecration of one of her generation's lovliest ballads).

I'd argue that there's *much* more difference between the original and later "Only Have Eyes"s even than there is between Bob's original "Watchtower" and Hendrix's memorable reinterpretation. (And that's a pretty big difference.)

In all three of these cases (and many others like them, I'm sure), the song as originally written always needs to have contained the "seed" for the remake, or at least to encompass enough complexity so that a fresh approach can find a wholly new mode of presentation. But, for my money, what the Flamingos made out of a 20-25 year old pop standard was so completely original, so one-of-a-kind, that it is in some sense a completely new piece, and the originator gets credit for only a relatively minor contribution to the end result -- this particular case is something completely different from the typical "cover version."


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 20 Nov 04 - 01:14 PM

I love the Flamingo's version of "Only Have Eyes...". It's a beautiful song in many ways.


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 20 Nov 04 - 03:48 PM

Little-known doo-wop trivia: a very young Ernie K-Doe (later famous for his novelty hit "Mother-In-Law) was a member of the Flamingos for a short time in the 50s, and his picture is on the cover of the album which includes "One Have Eyes..." Is that him singing on the record? Maybe even singing the lead? I don't know, and don't know how to find out.

His mother brought him to Chicago when he was a teenager; he auditioned for Harvey Fuqua and cut a few sides before returning home to New Orleans and starting to record under his own name. Working primarily with producer Allen Toussaint, he cut a *lot* of records, most of them released only locally and/or within the R&B "race record" market; mainstream America (i.e., white people outside south Louisiana) never heard any of his stuff except for that one big hit.

The late great Ernie K-Doe was a popular local stage act who put on a hell of a show, comparable to James Brown's. He had the most irrepressible ego imaginable, and his constant self-promotion always included a litany of his many (local) hits. Only during the last year or two of his life did he begin claiming credit for the lead vocal on "Only Have Eyes." I have my doubts; that voice just doesn't sound like him -- although it's possible: K-Doe had an amazing range, he managed to sound quite different on different cuts, and we don't know what he might have sounded like at a very young age. However, it it were true that he was lead vocalist on that Flamingos record, I think he would have been claiming credit for it from an earlier date, much louder and more often. However, since I've seen his photo on the album cover, I'm willing to believe he might at least be one of the backup singers on the record.

I got to know Ernie and his wife Antoinette a few years ago, hanging out at their Mother-In-Law Lounge on Claiborne Avenue. He performed all his old hits every weekend, and after a while let me join in and sign some harmonies with him. Once I got to join him onstage at a benefit concert at another, much larger, venue. (See 2d photo down on this page.) Sadly, less than two weeks later, years of alcohol abuse caught up to him; he fell into a coma and passed away on July 5, 2001, due to kidney and liver failure. Rest in peace, Ernie.


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: GUEST,Number 6
Date: 20 Nov 04 - 07:16 PM

'Imagine' .... silly, boring, and rather embarassing.

I like that quote "Imagine was just Working Class Hero with sugar on for conservatives..." ..... thanks Chris!


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 21 Nov 04 - 01:03 AM

"Working Class Hero" was indeed a memorable song, probably Lennon's most powerful composition.

"Imagine" was far too idealistic for anyone in a cynical frame of mind, so no wonder it bugs various people. My counterpoint to that, though, is this: Gandhi, Joan of Arc, Jesus Christ, and maybe even Abe Lincoln were idealists who believed that great changes for the better were possible and fully achievable...

Compare what they achieved against the puny achievements of the many pragmatic cynics who merely stood by and said, "That's a load of crap. It'll never happen."

I know who I'd follow through the fire, and it wouldn't be some clever cynic who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 21 Nov 04 - 03:25 AM

I personally think that "Positively 4th Street" was Dylan's best single, and the best 'F**k You' song ever written!


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 21 Nov 04 - 10:45 AM

Not much question about that... :-)


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Nov 04 - 11:21 AM

Uh, Little Hawk, you must have grown up listening to some purty strange folk music if you never listened to dance music, seeing as the body of folk dance music is much larger than folk songs in most cultures. But hey--you keep referring to The Bob as a folk musician, so I doubt we'd ever agree much on folk music anyway!

I do find many of the arguments about Dylan's lyric writing ability compelling--I agree there is a complexity to them. I believe that is what won't make them "standards" or "classics" beyond our generation though, and the reason for that is the tunes. They just aren't that catchy. I mean, I can appreciate someone doing a jazz cover of a lot of Dylan songs, and I can imagine someone doing an R & B cover of some Dylan songs, but for the most part, there isn't a timeless quality to some of his lyrics. There are a number of Dylan songs that already sound very dated to me, for ex. "All I Really Want To Do".

Now, there are plenty of Beatles songs that are dated, not that great, etc. But I think it much more likely that somebody will pull "It's Only Love" off the shelf and do a great jazz cover of it in 50 years than "Like a Rolling Stone". Of course, in 50 years, I'll be dead wrong if I'm wrong.

I'll certainly agree to the complexity of Dylan's lyrics, but not his tune writing ability, which I would consider to be pretty average, nothing that stands out. If his stuff is covered, it's because of the appeal of the lyric, not the tune. And as I said, because Dylan songs are really songs written for Western intellectuals, those are the people his music appeals to, not us unwashed mashes who love to dance, sing along, sing in the shower, etc etc


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: GUEST,MojoBanjo
Date: 21 Nov 04 - 06:49 PM

Well, part of the problem evident here is that a lot of people believe the world started at the moment they were born.

Like A Rolling Stone was revolutionary on a number of levels. Besides an amazing feat of writing, it broke the 2:37 barrier on AM radio. Prescious little of merit has emerged in the last ten to fifteen years, especially with the most unfortunate wheel in the ditch known as Rap.


Mojo Banjo


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 21 Nov 04 - 07:28 PM

"...a lot of people believe the world started at the moment they were born."

Amen, brother! There's a lot of that going around -- have you been following the thread on "Why Does Anyone Like Elvis?"? (In this discussion, on the other hand, I believe GUEST is old enough to know better -- just disagrees with you, me Little Hawk, etc.)

All due respect, I always have my doubts when someone complains that successful popular art is excessively "middle-class" and/or "intellectual." Almost without exception, the complainant turns out to be an intellectual with deep roots in the *upper*-middle class, and is basically full of it.

Dylan's work won't lose any relevance for being too brainy or too bourgeoise. Future people on earth, in general, are going to become more and more educated (albeit slowly), not less so, and basic human nature isn't going to change, so Bob's best work will not only still be valid well into the future, it should steadily become more and more accessible to mass numbers of people.

Not every song, of course, will stand the test of time. But I'm sure people will always relate to "Positively Fourth Street"!


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 21 Nov 04 - 11:25 PM

I appreciate how revolutionary Dylan was believe me... I'm just saying that "Rolling Stone.." is the first song people think of in reference to Bob, and it's not fair to all of his great work!
It's in everyone's top 10 and it should be, but to a lot of people there's nothing else but "Hoooow does it feeeeeeeeeel!?"


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: Peace
Date: 21 Nov 04 - 11:29 PM

Like a rollin' stone? I thought it was about horses--like a stolen roan. Dang.


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 22 Nov 04 - 01:51 AM

'...nothing else but "Hoooow does it feeeeeeeeeel!?" ????

*IS* there anything else besides "Hoooow does it feeeeeeeeeel!?" ????

To me, that phrase has always expressed an awful lot -- for me, anyway, when I sing it!

;^D


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 22 Nov 04 - 02:16 AM

GUEST - Yeah, I follow you. I know there's lots of folk music that was dance music too (jigs and reels come to mind), but that's not the genre of folk that I was drawn to. I was attracted to the genre that was lyric-driven and intended to be listened to rather than danced to. First of all, you've got the old English, Scottish, Irish ballads....things like Mary Hamilton, Barbrie Allen, and so on...they're mostly rather mournful and introspective. Joan Baez covered pretty well all of them, and she was my first real obsession as a folk performer. Then you've got the singer-songwriter ballad tradition, made strong by people like Woody Guthrie, Ramblin' Jack (who followed Guthrie), Bob Dylan (who followed Guthrie AND Ramblin' Jack), and so on...

That stuff tended to be modern in theme, yet strongly built on older tradition, and it could be either personal or topical, but it certainly wasn't dance music.

It's not that I look down on dance music, it's just not my main area of interest. I'm more interested in history, philosophy, spirituality, social change, and stuff like that.

Now as for the tunes..."Like a Rolling Stone" is not particularly tuneful, it's a visceral vocal recitation of anger and disgust for the most part rather than a tune. But...there are a great many marvelous tunes in Dylan's writing. I think it's the oddly particular tone of his voice that causes this to elude people. If you hear Joan Baez or Judy Collins or Shawn Colvin do Dylan songs you cannot deny the presence of those beautiful melodies.

A melody, put on paper, usually looks like a line of mountain ranges with peaks and valleys. Those peaks and valleys often mirror one another in various geometrical fashions and sometimes take a surprisingly big jump at some point. If you put Dylan's melodies on paper in this fashion and look, you will discover that he's just about as good at penning fine tunes as most other great songwriters.

It's just his voice that's throwing you off. I know this, because I can easily sing about 50 or 100 Dylan songs and I do not find the tunes lacking in the least. They're beautiful.

If you want to complain about lack of tunefullness...talk about Rap!!! :-)


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 22 Nov 04 - 02:29 AM

You can't say 'crap' without sayin' 'rap'... anyway, I've done Bob Dylan tunes and when my fiancee hears the original versions she says "I think you do this better."
Of course, I disagree with her. My voice might be more tuneful, more melodic (than a lot of earlier Dylan), but you can never beat the originals. Especially his...


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 22 Nov 04 - 10:11 AM

Exactly the experience I've had singing Dylan songs.


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 22 Nov 04 - 10:26 AM

I've always sung a lot of Dylan songs, but (unlike many other wannabes I've witnessed over the years) never tried to imitate Bob at all. My voice may not be the world's most beautiful, but like almost anyone's, it's probably a bit more conventionally appealing than Bob's.

Also, I never learned to play harmonica well enough to meet my own standards, and although I owned a rack at one time, I never put it to use in performance. So I never "imitated" that element of Bob's presentation.

After the release of "Big Pink," I'm sure I began making an unconsicous effort to sound like Danko, Levon, and/or Robbie when singing Dylan songs -- even the earliest pre-Band songs. Their approach was pretty close to the way I always wanted to hear that music anyway, and my versions of their interpretations came pretty natural.


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Nov 04 - 11:30 AM

Well thanks PoppaGator for telling me my opinion is "full of it" and "upper middle class" because I disagree with you!

As to the rest of the Mudcat Dylan cult, I believe this is where it's time to say you have your opinions, I have mine, and they don't agree.

And I'll politely leave it at that.


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 22 Nov 04 - 12:26 PM

Sorry, GUEST.

I had been biting my virtual tongue on that thought, but kept thinking it for several days, and finally blurted it out. Since I/we don't know who you are, there's no way of knowing whether my generalization would apply in any way to you personally.

And you're right, we certainly can and should agree to disagree and perhaps it IS finally time to leave it at that.

The differences have been interesting, though, and I have certainly taken most of your arguments quite seriously and even modified my own opinions (some of them) in response. It's been real!


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 22 Nov 04 - 12:38 PM

Nice, nice Fellas.............


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 22 Nov 04 - 05:19 PM

"They asked for some collateral and I pulled down my pants..."


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Nov 04 - 06:19 PM

Apology gratefully accepted, PoppaGator.

BTW, I have no problems with "upper middle class"! I only wish it was me!


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 22 Nov 04 - 10:11 PM

There we go, boys. Much better...


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Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 23 Nov 04 - 02:36 PM

*Wishing* to be more affluent looks like something GUEST and I definitely have in common!

Little Hawk, on the other hand, seems to have sufficient assets to put up some serious collateral...


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