I think I was about two when I first heard Bob Dylan's 'Blowing in the wind' and till date that is one of my all-time favourite songs. Dylan was amongst my dad's favourite singers, and I guess mine too, since I have acquired most of my musical knowledge from him. Today, the legend is turning 70 and all I want to do is wish him a very, very happy birthday and thank him for the wonderful music he made and gave to all of us. Also it was another thing me and my dad could bond over.
The Dylan before 1961
Robert Allen Zimmerman was born on May 24, 1941, in Minnesota and I am sure the day he was born he probably came out on a very musical note! Because Zimmerman would grow up to be the world famous songwriter, singer, poet and painter - Bob Dylan.
Zimmerman admitted that his inspiration was Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, and also the reason why he changed his name to Bob Dylan. In fact, in an interview, Dylan said, "You're born, you know, the wrong names, wrong parents. I mean, that happens. You call yourself what you want to call yourself. This is the land of the free."
He grew up playing in bands and performing covers at school dances and parties. But, the year 1961, changed his life in ways he never thought it could. It was the year he would meet Woody Guthrie, become his disciple, it would also be the year he would sign a deal with Columbia Records.
The Dylan after 1961
The year 1961 means a lot to me, apart from the fact that it was the year Dylan would start his climb up the ladder in the music world (and sort of fall of it too), it's also the year my dad was born. So, 1961 is extra special!
It was actually 1962 and the conscious changes Dylan made that catapulted him towards the 'Bob Dylan' people love, adore and worship today. It was in '62 that he legally changed his name to Bob Dylan and it was in '62 that he signed a contract with Albert Grossman.
Enough of history on Bob Dylan (you can probably Google him for more information if you already don't know enough about him, and if you are Googling 'Bob Dylan' right now, what were you listening to all these years?)
The Dylan I love to hear
Now, apart from just being an emotional connect with my dad, Dylan's voice has this control over me (you may not get it, but the word is control!). His voice has the power to calm me down when I am stressed, to make me smile when I am sad, to make me cry when I am happy, his voice can change my mood... anytime, anywhere!
'Blowin' in the Wind', 'Like a Rolling Stone', 'Song to Woody', 'Knockin' on Heaven's Door', 'Mr Tambourine Man', 'You're a Big Girl Now', 'Lay Lady Lay', 'Absolutely Sweet Marie',' The Times Are a-Changin', 'Don't Think Twice' and 'Just Like a Woman' are some the best songs Dylan's contributed to the world. Or at least, favourites of mine which I consider a contribution from him to make the world an easier place to live in.
Another reason why I consider the man so much more than probably many people out there do, is because he is one of the very few singers/songwriters out there who brought folk music into the electric rock of the mid-'60's; and what beautiful music came out of this "fusion" of sorts.
Even though I was born three decades after he started singing and it's just been two decades of me listening to the wonderful music and beautiful voice that describes Bob Dylan, not a day goes by where I am not thankful for the man and his music.
The man is not just a singer, after five decades, the man is truly a ROCKSTAR! He sings like a rock star, he walks like a rock star, the man even talks like a rock star! Apart from music, certain quotes by him have also taught me how to live my life. "All I can be is me - whoever that is," was said by Dylan and it's a motto I live by (sort of).
"Chaos is a friend of mine" - Bob Dylan - almost sums up the person I am.
So, today, May 24, 2011, I want to wish him all the best, to ask him to sing more songs (even though he's older now, the man still sings like a dream!), to give him a tight big virtual hug and to thank him for giving me an opportunity, a chance to listen and love the music I was probably born to hear.