He's Just a Song and Dance Man.
My very first introduction to the mere mention of Bob Dylan was through my Year 12 high school Literature teacher. At the end of the year, he wished us all well by giving us a poem. It was called "Forever Young". I cherished this always and still have it in my diary. He said it was a song written by Bob Dylan. No-one in the class had heard of him. He then explained that he grew up in the 60's and was to this day, a Dylan Freak. Wow! Sounded intense at the time, but I didn't think any more about it until 10 years later when I was 28 years of age. I met a man who was a child of the ‘60s himself and lived to tell the historical tales of those days of political change and social revolution.
He showed me his extensive collection of Dylan CDs, books and DVDs and then put together a cassette of his best picks of Dylan songs for me. I remember going home and sitting in my study on a bean bag and listening to this unique collection of songs over and over and over with my eyes closed totally focused on every word being sung and every note being played. I could not stop. Each time I re-played a song I heard something new. How can this be? No other music had given me such an existential experience.
Another fact that amazed me - how could a man, any man - know a woman's psyche so thoroughly as to be able to write songs as deep, honest and meaningful as "It Ain't Me Babe", "Like a Rolling Stone" and "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right"?
I fell in love with Bob Dylan immediately and as I heard songs like “Hurricane,” “Lay, Lady, Lay,” “Mr Tambourine Man,” “Blowing in the Wind,” and “The Times they are A-Changing” and a few others, I was transported back to my childhood in the 70’s where I remembered hearing these familiar songs on the radio but never quite knew to whom they belonged.
I actually learned “Blowing in the Wind” at primary school – it was in our song book. I knew it well. As for “Hurricane”, I remembered how funny it was that it was such a long song which played on the radio. I remember the DJs mentioning this on many occasions when it played. Almost 3 times longer than your standard 3 minute song. Also, it had a potent drive and story line to it like no other song did in it’s day.
Needless to say, I fell in love with Dylan and fell in love with the man who introduced him to me. My relationship lasted 18 years but my relationship with Dylan lives on and is essentially eternal. I can’t envisage that my admiration of such an important and influential artist could ever end. Albeit very few, there are some things in life that actually get better.
Dylan is truly a cameleon and I can only hope to learn to adapt to life’s changing tides and find the strength to defend myself against the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, and hope to rise above and shine as he "The Master," has done and continues to do as "a song and dance man" and as a human being.
© Copyright Maria D'Alessandro 2012. All Rights Reserved.