Bob Dylan’s influence on the shape of British music has been examined in great detail by a new historian.
Tudor Jones, an academic historian with a strong background in political historian and honorary research, has collected his new study into a book titled Bob Dylan And The British Sixties and details Dylan’s significant impact on some of Britain’s most acclaimed icons.
Jones details how Dylan significantly influenced Beatles duo John Lennon and George Harrison as well as The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger. Dylan’s far-reaching influence also had a prominent effect on Pete Townshend of The Who.
“Dylan’s influence on songwriting in modern British popular culture during the 1960s was profound and far-reaching,” says Jones who has vast experience having conducted research through Coventry University.
Jones continues: “The effect of his influence was felt on three main levels: first, in widening the range of subjects and themes that could be addressed in the lyrics of popular music; second, in conveying the notion that lyrics could have something reflective and significant to say about contemporary society, human relationships or even the existential realities of the human condition; and third, in fostering a more personal and emotionally direct mode of address.”
Jones also details how The Beatles—prior to being influenced by Dylan— predominantly wrote songs on the subject of “boy-girl romance” but changed after hearing Dylan: “In Britain the influence of Dylan’s songwriting was particularly evident during the 1960s in the case of The Beatles, and John Lennon and George Harrison especially,” Jones adds.
While conceding that songs written as “further reflections on aspects of contemporary British society” are still prevalent in the music of all the aforementioned bands, Jones adds: “Paradoxically those were songs written by the one major British popular songwriter of the 1960s,” in reference to The Kinks’ Ray Davies and added: “who was probably least influenced by Bob Dylan.”