When one thinks of Bob Dylan and his presence in the music industry, the first word that comes to mind is ‘revolutionary’. He got his start in the folk community in New York City and followed in the tradition of Woodie Guthrie’s brand of the United States, in the sense that it is an ever-evolving idea, constantly in the state of flux – a nation under the influence of the cultural melting pot.
Dylan reinvigorated this idea of a travelling bard in the fashion of William Shakespeare or Geoffrey Chaucer – somebody who was always on the move, an artist who can correctly absorb the political and social calamity of society; how can one possibly relay the state of things through the art of song, if the messenger only lives in one area?
On his self-titled debut album, Dylan rehashed old folk and blues songs and re-invigorated them, very much in the same way that The Rolling Stones re-invigorated the work of Muddy Waters.
Dylan’s influence in the global music scene is tremendous. Pick any artist that comes to your mind first, and find out who they reference as a fundamental influence. Chances are, most artists you picked out has referenced Bob Dylan as an influence. If they didn’t, then that artist is not exactly in tune with any aspect of society. That is a bold statement, however, it is a reasonable statement when discussing the most important songwriter – he changed the face of Western popular songwriting.
To give you an example of the kind of range of influence Dylan had; Ritchie Blackmore, a classically trained and innovative guitar player who founded Deep Purple, spoke on his feelings toward the modern-day bard. “I would love to play with Bob Dylan,” he said. “I mean it sounds kind of funny in a way, but he is the only person I admire in the business. I have been in the business for so long, he’s the one that I still feel he remains mysterious, there is something about him that I think is truly monumental and he is so creative. When you think of all the songs that he has written, you know, ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’, ‘Blowing In the Wind’, it’s endless. So I’m a big fan of his.”
When you think about it, would you find a musician like Ritchie Blackmore in the same band as Dylan? I would bet you wouldn’t. Dylan had an air of change about him – he left a long-lasting impression on everyone he met.
“Death is going to happen to most of us. Most, not all. Some of us might get away with it, which is what Bob Dylan said,” in an interview with the Russian channel RT.
Watch the interview in which the rocker, Ritchie Blackmore, talks about Dylan, below.