Today is Bob Dylan's 70th birthday. Second only to the Beatles on the list of my all-time greatest influences, I can't go too long without listening to his music. When I was a teen I studied his lyrics, so much so that I copied Tangled Up in Blue onto my history folder, with the seriousness and accuracy of a surgeon. When the teacher's droning got to be too much, I'd run my fingers over the words, again and again, hoping their perfection would seep into me somehow. I learned a lot about diction from Dylan, and the power of the image. Those lessons have stuck with me.
In honor of Bob's big day, here are my favorites of his many songs. Feel free to add your own to the list in the comments.
1. Tangled Up in Blue: A friend once said I require narratives of my music. I'd say that assessment is spot-on. Tangled Up in Blue is a freaking 7 minute novel. LOVE this song.
2. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right: So simple on the surface but so emotionally complex, really.
3. Just Like a Woman: I, uh, assumed he was talking about me. He was, right?
4. Subterranean Homesick Blues: Maybe I just like the performance arty-ness of Bob standing there with the words on placards. Maybe it reminds me of the Beats. Maybe it's because the words feel like little punches.
5. Baby Let Me Follow You Down: Okay, he didn't write this one, but it's the perfect blend of Dylan's signature guitar, harmonica, voice. It just always makes me feel good.
Happy birthday, Bob!