Thursday, 13 October 2016

Words that open your heart and your mind

Bob Dylan has received the Nobel prize for literature. It's the first time that it's been won by a song-writer. It's probably the first time that I haven't rushed off to buy a book written by the Nobel prize winner, so many books that I've only read because of that prize, Beowulf by Seamus Heaney for example. Actually I didn't read all of it but I thought I should as it had won the Nobel prize.

I know most of Bob Dylan's songs they followed me through my youth. The very first record I ever bought with my pocket money was' Hey Mr. Tambourine Man', sang by The Byrds but written by Bob.It is still one of my favourite songs and still works it's magic on me. In a film where Michelle Pfeiffer was an ex Marine and went to teach in a rough school she uses this song to get  her students attention.

Another favourite was 'Like a Rolling Stone' the chorus of which can be sung at the top of your voice going along in the car. 'Blowing in the wind' is arguably the best song for peace, it was supposedly written in ten minutes in a cafè. Its' message echoes down the years, as relevant today as when it was written.
'Forever Young' is a heartwarming wish for us all, Bob Dylan's songs are powerful and poetic. They open the mind and they open the heart.
Olivia Newton John singing 'If not for you' is a sweet and gentle love song, sung by Bob Dylan it is husky and sensual.

No doubt Bob Dylan's nomination will cause some discussion, but I was thinking that maybe we need to be reminded of the message in his songs. Some were written over forty years ago and are still relevant today and always.

Just look at the questions he asks in 'Blowin' in the wind'.

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?

How many times must cannon balls fly
Before they're forever banned?

How many years can a mountain exist
Before it's washed to the sea?

How many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?

How many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn't see?

And then there is the verse from 'The Times they are a changin''

Come senators, congressmen please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway, don't block up the hall,
For he that gets hurt will be he who has stalled,
There's a battle outside and it's ragin'.

Then there is his beautiful love song 'If not for you', which along with 'I will' by The Beatles and 'Your song' by Elton must surely have sent shivers down the spine of many a lover.. I know, I'm one!!

If not for you, my sky would fall, rain would gather too
Without your love I'm nowhere at all,
I'd be lost if not for you
And you know it's true..

Maybe it's time to listen to all his songs again, thinking about today.


  1. Nice post Angela, going through all the Dylan hits and not only! Thanks for sharing the verses to these songs, very moving and thought-provoking!

  2. A lovely, positive post, Angela. As you say, there is some discussion about whether he should have won it and I won't offer my views here, but he is certainly one of the greatest songwriters of our time. I remember listening to an interview with him once and he said most of his lyrics were derived from the old folk songs he learned in his youth. I think it's true that traditional folk songs are often full of wisdom, so maybe that's why his songs continue to resonate so much with us. They offer almost traditional truths!

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.