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Bob Dylan the Voice of a Generation
Bob Dylan was born on May 24th, 1941. He seems forever young. At 80 plus years he is still touring and writing new songs.
(revised and updated February, 2021)
Anyone who has ever attended his concerts throughout his career will know that he also rarely ever sings a song exactly the same as it was recorded. He is constantly working with his band to make changes.
I have many memories of the man who some have called the Voice of a Generation.
He surely belted out words that were in my mind during the sixties, and I am sure many more remain in my head.
Bob Dylan’s Voice
He has never been a great singer. We ignored the growling voice and let the words penetrate spirits. Many of his lyrics could easily be speaking of today. The times, however, have indeed changed.
He could still be sharing this one with us:
Dylan is still out there performing in concerts. In fact earlier this year he was in Fort Worth. I thought about going. He was playing with Elton John. I looked into tickets they were $200. I never did appreciate Elton John much so I figured I would just listen to Dylan on Pandora.
Then two years ago, I attended a Bob Dylan concert at the Chaktaw Casino. I joined a mostly baby boomer audience. Its seems we are all forever young. Prior to Dylan coming on stage, these children of the 60s were sharing their memories of Dylan songs.
When Bob began to sing the mood changed. We very soon realized that Dylan sounded much better on his records than on the in-person sound system.
If his recent act on the Academy Awards was any gauge, my digitized “oldies” were probably more pleasing to the ear.
Dylan Continues to Sing and Compose
His folk singing and poet forerunners Woody Guthrie, Hank Williams and Pete Seeger, among others, sang well into their latter years as well.
A few years back Dylan published Chronicles vol. 1 (there was never a vol. 2). It is a very lyrical narrative of his life. I listened to the audio version, narrated by Sean Penn. If everything in the volume is factual, I am impressed that in his 60s Dylan still could remember many details from his life including conversations, smells and sounds. He has always down played his popularity.
Fame Was Not His Quest
Bob Dylan wrote many protest songs. Some were counter-culture ballads and others strong criticisms of 1960s protesters and their causes.
Though he was hailed by many of us as the minstrel of our time, he never sought nor claimed fame.
“I was never a prophet, I was just speaking what was on my mind.”
Forever Young – The Song
His wish and desire for Jesse was that he:
- remain forever young
- build his own ladder to the stars and climb it
- grow to be true and know truth
- always be courageous and strong
- remain joyful even during change
Rod Steward recorded a song very similar song in 1988 that he also entitled “Forever Young”. It had the familiar melody from Dylan’s and many of the same lyrics. The similarity was so obvious that Stewart agreed to share his royalties with Dylan.
Bob Dylan’s Forever Young became the theme song for the television program Parenthood.