I don’t have much time to write this morning, but I could not let the day pass without acknowledging the 70th birthday of Bob Dylan. It would be hard to name another complete stranger who has had a more persistent influence in my life – whether directly through his music, or indirectly through the myriad artists he has inspired and influenced. He likely has more of a presence in your life than you realize – even if you are among those who have never understood why people think so highly of him. Quite an achievement for a college drop-out from Duluth, Minnesota.
Dylan himself was and is a learner of the first order. By most accounts, when he arrived in New York City in the early 60s, there was nothing much to set him apart from all the other musicians banging around Greenwich Village at the time. But Bob was passionate and focused. Intuitively, he understood concepts like deliberate practice and flow, and by 1963 he was well on his way to transforming popular music forever. He’s never stood still and never gone stale, even if listening to him in concert these days can be a bit of a painful experience at times.
In recent years, my appreciation for Dylan’s music has increased as my young son has latched onto his music. His preference at this point is for the early years, and as a result I have now strummed “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “The Times They Are A Changin;” on the guitar more times than I would have ever cared to. My son – four years old – now knows pretty much all the words to each, and I have no doubt that the music and the language have contributed significantly to his own learning.
The video above is of Dylan singing a version of one of my favorites – “Tangled Up in Blue,” the first song from Blood on the Tracks. Enjoy.