Happy Birthday! Bob Dylan turns 70 in 2011-The arts world celebrates the living legend

Bob Dylan photo

Bob Dylan photograph
Bob Dylan photograph | Source

The evergreen Bob Dylan songs

Bob Dylan's music seems to transcend time and location. I remember listening to his songs back in Zimbabwe in my studio with no background knowledge of what they were inspired by or for whom they were. Songs like "Blowin' in the wind" would carry me on a meditative track as I would think about the questions he posed. "How many roads must a man walk down/before he's allowed to be free?" A universally applicable question in the realm of politics and personal day to day life. The melody is simple and so are the lyrics. However, they are so well constructed and thought out that they appeal to the most basic human needs. In reflection, many musicians must be asking themselves just that in the advent of  which threaten the music industry!

Bob Dylan celebrates his 70th birthday this year (2011) . The world joins him as The Rolling Stones Magazine give tribute to him by listing 70 of his best songs- a must read for any Bob Dylan fan. The BBC compiled a 5 minute slideshow in hour of the great songwriters achievements. What comes forward in these articles is how Bob's music has stood the test of time and seems relevant today as it did in the time of its release. What makes Mr.Dylan's music reverberate with so many diverse generations? I will give a personal view as Hubpages joins the world to celebrate the living legend. In case you would want to get on with it and view songs' lyrics, please visit  http://www.bobdylan.com/songs.

Object-Everything is broken-visualization

A visualization of "everything is broken" by Victor Mavedzenge
A visualization of "everything is broken" by Victor Mavedzenge | Source

My top songs in 2011 by Bob Dylan

Ten songs by Bob Dylan that move me and why

I personally think that Bob Dylans music is a testimony of the writers understanding of the world. He sees and understands the human struggle, does not impose solutions,but rather asks questions that leave the listener to decide what is and what is not. The following ten songs by Bob Dylan strike a chord in me. This may help me clarify why i think his music transcends time and space.

1. Blowin' in the wind- An almost moanful song. Asking the listener to examine the status quo. The direct link to our human existence being his questions on how long one has to struggle until they are free. The fact that the chorus is "The answer my friend ,is blowin' in the wind" both gives us hope that there is an answer somewhere and also that there are somethings we may never understand as they are intangible and a part of a greater universe-that certainly knows how to take care of itself. Personally I view this as a meditation on letting things be,there are somethings we can not control.

2. Masters of War- A very clear message for those in power. This song is my question and statement to the powers that be. Bob Dylan addresses the issue with no holds barred but still not pointing a finger to the individual but the collective of those in power. If I had the opportunity to speak to those that hold the reigns, I would qoute this song. It speaks for those on the receiving end of the effects of power mishandled.

3.Maggie's Farm- In this song, Bob speaks of the underdog, the "slave" . He paints a picture of people who the listener can relate to. These are real everyday people with their annoying displays of power, living in their cocoons and taking the world for granted. He speaks of simply wanting to be himself but "everybody wants me, to be just like them".

4. Highlands- A peak into the world to come. This 16 minute song lazily takes us to a Cafe where we see the masks we wear being slowly taken off. He looks at the mundane aspects of life, tiny details one may pick up in a certain location. All this is contrasted by the big picture of facing the afterlife. Looking at the young people"lookin' so good" he would trade places with them "in a minute" if he could. The song is a passage through time,reflecting the passage of life itself. The pace of the song and composition of scene make it a visceral lens through which we look at a man going through his journey, an ordinary man who accepts what is coming, yielding to beauty and youth, yet somehow confessing that his heart is in the highlands-a better place maybe? See the lyrics here.

5. Summer Days- A cheerful jumpy tune that gets me dancing like a spinning top. The song is full of energy. Bob Dylan seems to have the gift to inspire different moods with his music.

6.Ballad for a thin man- A sarcastic look at "the man".The song talks of a man who has no clue what is going on around him.This song exhibits strong story telling and invokes amazing imagery. I always think of the big money makers who have lost touch with the world around them when I hear this song.

7.All along the watch tower- A short song played on very few guitar chords.The message is subtle as it is told around the tale of a joker and a thief. I enjoy the story telling quality in this song. The song is only 12 lines long, yet has such a great impact.

8.It ain't me babe- A song about heart break and unmet expectations. Sometimes we have to admit when things are not working right and just accept the next step,to move on. This of course is always hampered by shared memories.This song captures the feeling well.

9.A hard rain's A -gonna fall- A song about upcoming upheaval (from my perspective). Dylan gives a solid warning of the break down of things if society is subjected to too much pressure.A clear reminder for me to know where to draw my boundaries.

10. Everything is broken- This song captures the state of the world today. Everything seems to be broken in one way or the other.The environment is at risk, politics and economics do not present a rosy picture. I think mostly of personal space invaded by marketing billboards and other advertisements when I hear this song. One cannot make a decision without being bombarded with a thousand advertisements-most if not all of which will get the better deal of you.


Comments 12 comments

Fiddleman profile image

Fiddleman 5 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina

Great hub and without a doubt one of the biggest influences on all genres of music.


tony0724 profile image

tony0724 5 years ago from san diego calif

Big Bob Dylan fan here. Good choices on your song list here. Knockin on Heavens door and Lay Lady Lay as well as Forever Young are a couple of my faves. Bob Dylan may not be the best all time musician but he is definitely the most important one !And his songwriting alone will always stand the test of time.


Alladream74 profile image

Alladream74 5 years ago from Oakland, California Author

I totally agree Tony, I had such a hard time selecting these. Thanks for passing by my hub.

Fiddleman-IYes I think Bob Dylan has had a great influence on music. I once heard a student singing All along the watch tower and I asked him who wrote the song and the answer was ,Jimmy Hendrix-the greatest! I thought ,wow...


justom profile image

justom 5 years ago from 41042

Great hub! I've loved Bob since the first tune I heard and have had the pleasure of seeing him live at least a dozen times. For me there is no better writer on the planet. I'm really glad to see the tunes you chose. You don't know how many times I've had to tell folks about Masters of War (I did a hub on that tune). Everything Bob has done and I'm pretty sure everything he will still do I'll be listening to. Happy B-day Bob and thanks Alladream for keeping it valid! Peace!! Tom


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

"I was so much older then,

I'm younger than that now."

Great poets never really die.


Alladream74 profile image

Alladream74 5 years ago from Oakland, California Author

Thanks for the comments guys,its absolutely wonderful to realize how many people enjoy such a great artist.


epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

..this is the coolest hub of all time my friend .....and when the ultimate Dylan freak of all time sees this hub subject she will freak out ....big time and by the way I am a freak for your hubs - they are awesome - or as they say in the business - hubawesome!!!!! I will be posting this to my Facebook page by the way and a direct link will come back here ....so others will see this including my buddy from down under .....


Alladream74 profile image

Alladream74 5 years ago from Oakland, California Author

Thanks epigramman, this means a lot to me!


Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 5 years ago from Great Britain

WOW! Well done. Great choice of songs. How on earth did you manage to keep it down to 10 ???

l´ve had a slightly different ´´take´´ on Ít ain´t me babe´. l´ve always seen it as rye humour , like Bob is not wanting a serious commitment with this person, if she wants someone so perfect, woooah It ain´t me , babe.... As you say unmet expectations.

Great tribute for bobs´ 70th. Thanks. loved it.


Alladream74 profile image

Alladream74 5 years ago from Oakland, California Author

Hi Dim. You are right,it was not an easy task narrowing it down to 10.There are so many great songs that I love by him.

I like your take on "It a'int me babe", I also think it was during a break up or something like that when he wrote it. Thanks for passing by.


theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 5 years ago from Holly, MI

Such a brilliant man he is! Love Bob Dylan!


Alladream74 profile image

Alladream74 5 years ago from Oakland, California Author

I totally admire his art both in music and in painting

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