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Like a Rolling Stone Bob Dylan & I Both Individually Roll on Through Life

Updated on November 16, 2013

As a child I never expected my life to veer from the tepid buoyant pebbles-in-the-road path I thought my parents followed. But then as a teen, when I heard Like a Rolling Stone, I visualized a big hulking chiseled round boulder, hot in pursuit of the normalcy of my life, and in many ways it was.

It was a little unsettling - a lot unsettling

that the boring ordinariness of my life could keep me nailed to the sidewalk of my block. Since my family had made the move from a truly exciting life in Alaska to a quaint small town on the shores of Puget Sound, and we assimilated into our schools things had been quite tame.

Dad was pretty much absent so in some ways

we all breathed more easily, after all - he was still up North earning our living in the wild land. A frugal family from the core, making do was the norm. The food tasted good, the clothes were clean, we had gas for the car, and Mom didn't seem to mind working at a low wage job, the only thing she qualified for based on her high school education.

Mom decided to make the break and

we scrimped a little more than before. But one thing for sure, we knew our days of our Mom & Pop & Kids Family had been flattened by that Rolling Stone Bob Dylan ratted on. So when we teens first heard the song we already belonged to the flattened folk.

As far as I knew, mine was among the first family broken

by divorce in our town. What would my Catholic friend's parents think of my mom now, I had wondered in the period prior to the release of this song. The religious dictum of married for life still affected us, because even though we had gotten this far without the aid of baptism, it seemed like everyone else in our world was a dedicated Christian, and their convictions permeated the community.

Once I heard the lyrics a time or two, and then joined

my brother for some eye opening discourse at the ramshackle cabin of an older man, in an alley near our high school, pondering civics and world affairs and philosophical discussions that included talk of psychedelic drugs, my perception of the future opened wide. These people blew up ideas.

Poverty and want need not restrict the lives of our minds. Maybe I wouldn't be relegated to a future of housekeeping for a prospective husband who worked an 8-hour day and drank an 8-hour evening.

The charm of Bob Dylan's voice, the speaky-singy

tones, and the uncertain meter of the lines, seemed to me a roadmap for my future: challenge the fit of the rules and the notions that girdled me to replicating the past generation, as if that's all there were to life.

When I hear the songs from Highway 61 on the Revisited album, I hear a call to continue to journey through satisfying the need to know.

It could have come from a favorite old uncle

and in some regards it did come from his wife, a newcomer to the family during my high school years. The sound of her voice, her wisdom, and her outstanding style of dress were a gentler, even if feminist, version of the rock wheeling behind me. But for me it took the combination of new auntie, Bob Dylan, parental divorce, and my brother's mentor, who prompted me to grasp what I can from every event, refusing to let my voice be flattened.

& that's why Highway 61 was a go-to album in my youth!

background photo credit: Allen Ginsberg and Bob Dylan by Elsa Dorfman

If you respond to Bob Dylan's sound, you'll want to add these to your collection, or maybe spread the love around in a gift to someone who's young today

Did Bob Dylan's music change anything in your life? or in our country?

See results

Which Bob Dylan song do you connect with the most strongly?

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    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 

      4 years ago from Perth UK

      Bob still speak to me. I love Bob Dylan and that's that!! Thanks for your very insightful story.

    • Baddew Fibes profile image

      Baddew Fibes 

      4 years ago

      The man is a story-telling legend!

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      One of my favorite songs.

    • boneworld profile image

      Jackson Thom 

      4 years ago from West of Left South Lucky

      I didn't start out a Bob Dylan fan, but I learned to play the guitar in high school, and some of the songs I started out learning were by Dylan, because they're all very easy to learn, and get up to speed. Now I'm a fan of a lot of his stuff. Great review!

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I love your lens and your personal story. Didn't everyone love Dylan back in the day? I still do.

    • Erin Mellor profile image

      Erin Mellor 

      4 years ago from Europe

      The answer my friend is ... Blowin' In The Wind. As a fellow Catholic kid of the first couple to get divorced in my Catholic neighborhood, I had questions, not answers. I loved your personal take on this.

    • Diaper Bag Blog profile image

      Stanley Green 

      4 years ago from Czech Republic

      Bob Dylan is not my favorite singer, neverheless your review is really interesting.

    • profile image

      sybil watson 

      4 years ago

      I love the term "speaky-singy" - it describes him so well. Bob Dylan really did change the course of music when he came on the scene, and he's collaborated with so many other great artists.

    • sousababy profile image


      4 years ago

      Like a Rolling Stone because of the lyric "When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose."


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