God gave Robert Zimmerman a gift. The ability to connect, communicate and to express his poetry in ways that even the great poets of the past could not.
There are songwriters, but there is no songwriter with the talent to write, sing and to teach us that the only truth that matters is the truth that you yourself believe in.
Trust yourself to find the path where there is no if and when
Don’t trust me to show you the truth
When the truth may only be ashes and dust
If you want somebody you can trust, trust yourself (Empire Burlesque – Trust Yourself)
The lyrics to his songs, the poetry mixed with traditional folk, blues, pop, rock; (whatever you want to call it) have influenced the world in ways that no other poet, songwriter has or ever will. No one else could have written the songs the way he did, the way he continues to write them.
And if we never meet again, baby, remember me
How my lone guitar played sweet for you that old-time melody
And the harmonica around my neck, I blew it for you, free
No one else could play that tune, you know it was up to me (Blood on the Tapes – Up to Me)
On stage he has a unique persona. Not everyone carries with them the responsibility to have to choose a set list from his over 50 years of songwriting.
Sometimes on stage he seems like he has to go to the bathroom and the teleprompter is out of wack, so the words to his songs are indecipherable. Its because he is constantly adjusting, editing and retooling his songs. He is not happy with promoting his “Greatest hits” and performing them the same way, night after night. He is an artist who needs to be challenged and challenges himself by recreating some of the greatest songs ever written.
Even after 55 years, he keeps on writing new songs which still have so much to say – 12, 14 minute songs – which have been cut down from God knows how long. Lyrics which ecapsulate life with all its black and white moments sprinkled with hues of red, green and blue.
The sun is beginning to shine on me
But it’s not like the sun that used to be
The party’s over and there’s less and less to say
I got new eyes
Everything looks far away (Time out of Mind – Highlands)
Bob Dylan can be resting on his laurels – instead he understands that as a man who has been blessed with abilities which have changed the world, it is his responsibility to give back. To keep on touring and to keep on writing; to keep on inspiring.
Happy Birthday, Mr. Dylan – Ad 120!