Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Bob Dylan: Inspiring the Greats

Bob Dylan is considered by many as one of the most influential musicians and songwriters of all time. In a list made by Rolling Stones he was placed as the second best artists of all time falling behind only the Beatles. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/100-greatest-artists-of-all-time-19691231 It is not simply that Bob Dylan is amazing as a musician but also as a lyricist having his songs covered by stars like Adele “Make You Feel My Love”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0put0_a--Ng and Jimi Hendrix “All Along the Watchtower” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLV4_xaYynY.  His songs were so powerful that one of them “Blowin in the Wind”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWwgrjjIMXA served as an anthem for the civil rights movement. Bob Dylan was an inspiration to many and even John Lennon has been quoted to say “I'd have a separate songwriting John Lennon who wrote songs for the meat market, and I didn’t' consider them (the lyrics or anything) to have any depth at all … Then I started being me about the songs, not writing them objectively, but subjectively. … I'd started thinking about my own emotions. … Instead of projecting myself into a situation, I would try to express what I felt about myself. … It was Dylan who helped me realise that”. http://www.aaronkrerowicz.com/beatles-blog/bob-dylans-influence-on-the-beatles  Bob Dylan was an inspiration for John Lennon to start to think of his lyrics from a more artistic, less fan pleasing point of view and this led to a turning point in the quality of his lyrics.  

Times They Are Changin’ Bob Dylan Live

What I believe is distinctly noticeable about Bob Dylan is that even now after 50 years he is still making new music. As Gardner brought up in his book on creativity, for people who are truly creative there is a need for their expression of creativity that cannot be put out. To Bob Dylan I believe it is less about the product and more about the process of creating which is why even though he has had countless hits and has made huge amounts of money he cannot stop.  Bob Dylan does not simply go with what the world wants from him. Bob Dylan is notorious for changing himself and his style. When Bob Dylan “plugged in” and went from folk song writing to a more Rock and Roll style of music many of his fans felt betrayed and believed he was selling out. I believe that rather than “selling out” Bob Dylan was simply allowing his creative impulses to take him where they led him no matter what his fans thought. In an interview with Time magazine Bob Dylan says that he “just writes” making it sound as if the lyrics are just gushing out of him not from necessarily a point of deep reflection but rather on pure creative instincts. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnl5X5MQKTg This can be reflected when looking at original write ups of his songs seemingly done on the spur of the moment inspiration many on simple scraps of paper.

Bob Dylan’s creativity is reflected in almost every one of his songs. With interesting lyrics and a singing/talking tone all his own there is clearly a unique flair to his music. Bob Dylan in the course of his long music career has covered many genres including country, rock and roll, folk, and even gospel and through this variety he has left a mark in each influencing others and providing countless inspiring songs. 


  1. When you dig deep...so many of the greatest artists...just love what they do...there is no substitute for that intrinsic motivation!

  2. I think Bob Dylan is a great example of high productivity--lots of divergent thinking! As you said, he has written so many songs and the fact that he still has a career after so long shows that he seems to have an endless source of intrinsic creativity from which he can draw to continue to change his styles, and have lyrics "gushing out" of him, as you said.

  3. Bob Dylan is a really great example of what a creative mind is. Almost all of his songs have some meaning behind the words, and it is clear that he was, and continues to be, incredibly dedicated to his work. And I agree with your thoughts that Bob Dylan was not "selling out" when he decided to switch genres. He chose to follow the direction of his creative impulses rather than confine himself to just one type of music. After writing folk music for so many years, rather than exhaust one type of music and have to reuse old material, he went in a completely different direction and made new music that was equally as influential. And 50 year later, he continues to follow his passion.

  4. Thanks for the post about Bob Dylan! I agree with Shayna that Bob Dylan is a good example of productivity. When I what you wrote about Dylan's transition from folk music to rock, I was reminded of Frank Gehry's shift from the architecture he assumed people wanted to the more dramatic architecture he created for Bilbao. Dylan also reminded me of Gehry in that he is so productive and has enjoyed such a long career, despite moments of evolution and new opportunities.


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