Bob Dylan's Impact On Popular Music

1340 words - 5 pages

Bob Dylan is a man that needs no introduction, He was a poet with a guitar who brought poetic interest back to the younger generations. Born Robert Allen Zimmerman on May 24th 1941, no one saw him coming. Dylan started his music career upon dropping out of college and moving to New York, After reading his musical icon, Woody Guthrie's partially fictionalized autobiography, “Bound for Glory”, where he changed his name and began performing in Greenwich emulating his idol. He was given a 5 year contract by Columbia Records in 1961 and Bob Dylan released his first album in 1962 which consisted of mostly cover songs and only two original works. This was just the beginning of the rolling stone that is Bob Dylan, and how he forever changed and left such an influential impact on popular music.

Bob Dylan's second album, released in 1963, shone as the metaphorical light on the path, presented as one of the most original and poetic works of art in American music history, which included two of the most memorable folk song, “Blowin' in the Wind” and “A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall”. This is the beginning of using music as a means of Mass Communication. “Blowin' in the Wind” asks rhetorical questions about peace, war and freedom. And as of 2004's, Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of all Time, it was ranked number 14. With an opening line of “How many roads must a man walk down?” asking the ultimate question, that in its self is widely interpretable. Speaking to such an audience symbolically, presenting such a simple device. He covers an infinite range of topics not just peace, war and freedom, but a variety of basic rules of life. Work, marriage and to the younger generations, sex, drugs and even the standard model of going to school to go to university to get a job, etc.

With this one song he encouraged free thought to free form and the idea of being free and clear, the lines “The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind, The answer is blow'in in the wind” pose a beautiful idea that the answer is out there, there is no right and wrong. No one way we are being told to live by, but only personal interpretation and self growth. This idea alone spawned a new vision for popular music.

“A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall”, continued this with a lyric structure of question and answer in the style if the traditional ballad “Lord Randall”, Child Ballad Number 12. This displayed a level of musicianship never before shown in folk music, a degree of development that completely broke the rules and conventions of existing popular music in the 1960's, it was a definition of 'new'. Some suggest the piece was written as a comment on nuclear fallout and the discovery of soviet missiles in Cuba, however the song was written a month before President John F. Kennedy appeared on television to make the announcement. So it is safe to perceive this interpretation much as we look back upon George Orwell's, “Nineteen Eighty-Four”, nothing more then a coincidental prediction, that became such...

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