#AtoZ Dylan – “Z” is for Robert Zimmerman


“All I can do is be me, whoever that is.” ~ Bob Dylan

Dylan young

 

What better way to end this series than with the man himself? One of the most prolific and talented songwriters of our generation, Bob Dylan has been a major cultural icon for six decades. He has received ten Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and an Academy Award. He’s in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame, the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
In 2008, the Pulitzer Prize jury awarded him a special citation for “his profound impact on popular music and American culture.” In 2012, President Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and in 2016, Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”
When I learned of his Nobel Prize, I wanted to do an A to Z Challenge on Bob Dylan. But then he decided not to accept the prize. There was some controversy (you can read about it here if you want), but he did eventually accept the award.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed these post and videos. I deliberately did not go into a lot of detail about Dylan or his songs, knowing that your time is precious, and you can always read the lyrics at your leisure. The fact that so many of Dylan’s songs have been covered, by so many diverse artists, is testament to his influence, even nearly sixty years later.
So I will conclude with a song by Bob Dylan (how to pick just one??!)

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#AtoZ Dylan – “Y” is for You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere


“All I can do is be me, whoever that is.” ~ Bob Dylan

Dylan young

“You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” was written in 1967, during Dylan’s self-imposed exile from public appearances, after his motorcycle accident the previous summer. The first official release of the song was a live version on his album Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits Vol. II.

Click HERE for a link to the song’s lyrics.

“You Ain’t goin’ Nowhere” has been covered by many, including The Byrds, Louson Wainwright III, and Phish, among others. Here is a live performance by Counting Crows with Hootie and the Blowfish (Hootie now known by his given name, Darius Rucker):

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#AtoZ Dylan – “X” is for MiXed-up Confusion


“All I can do is be me, whoever that is.” ~ Bob Dylan

Dylan young

(Hey, in the A to Z Challenge, sometimes we have to get creative!)

“Mixed-up Confusion,” even though it doesn’t begin with ‘X,’ deserves a place in this series, because it was Dylan’s first released single. He recorded the song in 1962, but it was not included on The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. A different version of the song was released years later on Dylan’s compilation album Masterpieces.

Click HERE for a link to the song’s lyrics.

I managed to find a good cover of “Mixed-up Confusion” – here again is Zachary Scot Johnson:

 

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#AtoZ Dylan – “W” is for Watching the River Flow


“All I can do is be me, whoever that is.” ~ Bob Dylan

Dylan young

 

Written and recorded in March 1971, “Watching the River Flow” was included on Dylan’s album Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits Vol. II.  Some people have written that the song is about Dylan’s writer’s block (early 70s), whereas others interpret it as simply Dylan not wanting to write political songs.

Click HERE for a link to the song’s lyrics.

The song has been covered by the Earl Scruggs Revue, Colin James, and Leon Russell, but here’s the great Joe Cocker

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#AtoZ Dylan – “V” is for Visions of Johanna


“All I can do is be me, whoever that is.” ~ Bob Dylan

Dylan young

 

“Visions of Johanna” appears on Dylan’s 1966 album Blonde on Blonde. Several critics have acclaimed “Visions of Johanna” as one of Dylan’s highest achievements in writing, praising the allusiveness and subtlety of the language. In 1999, Sir Andrew Motion, poet laureate of the UK, listed it as his candidate for the greatest song lyric ever written. (source: Wikipedia)

Click HERE for a link to the song’s lyrics.

The song has been covered by The Grateful Dead, Marianne Faithfull, Lee Ranaldo, and Chris Smither. Here Robyn Hitchcock introduces “Visions of Johanna” as ‘possibly the greatest song ever written.’ He joins Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings in Newport in July 2015

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#AtoZ Dylan – “U” is for Unbelievable


“All I can do is be me, whoever that is.” ~ Bob Dylan

Dylan young

“Unbelievable” was recorded and released in 1990, both as a single and as a track on the album Under the Red Sky.

“They said it was the land of milk and honey, now they say it’s the land of money, Whoever thought they could ever make that stick, It’s unbelievable you can get this rich this quick.”

Click HERE for a link to the song’s lyrics.

From what I could determine, there weren’t a lot of covers of this song. It doesn’t matter – this is the one cover – what a version by American soul singer Bettye LaVette:

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#AtoZ Dylan – “T” is for Things Have Changed


“All I can do is be me, whoever that is.” ~ Bob Dylan

Dylan young

Released as a single in 2000, “Things Have Changed” is, besides being one of my favorite later-day Dylan songs, the winner of both the Academy Award for Best Original Song and the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. It appeared in the film Wonder Boys. 

“People are crazy and times are strange. I’m locked in tight, I’m out of range. I used to care, but things have changed.”

Click HERE for a link to the song’s lyrics.

There’s nothing like hearing Dylan sing it, but for today, I’m offering Curtis Stigers’s version:

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