Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Dylan's Influence

Bob Dylan has been my inspiration. In my writing and in my ideas, the works of Bob Dylan have played a crucial part in moulding my individual manner.
Dylan didn't care much for building a facade and presenting things beautifully. That is why till today he sings in his characteristic raspy drawl. In fact, for him, that was the best way to sing...he insisted, "you gotta listen very carefully, but I hit all those notes"...his ability was to strike you in a way that other singers never managed. In spite of his harsh voice, listen to "Like A Rolling Stone" by Dylan and then listen to it rendered by any other singer, Dylan manages to get at you in a way that no one else truly manages to. And the quality of his lyrics is something that you don't need me to explain. There have been several miles of paper which have been dedicated to both explaining and analysing his lyrics. "When you ain't got nothing/ you got nothing to lose"...very few people can write simple truths as effectively as Dylan.
Dylan might not have had the external gloss that we have come to value, and in his concerts, he seemed to sermonize more than he sang, but that's something I appreciate and admire. Up until the Newport Folk Festival, 1965, when he plugged in an electric guitar, he stood alone on stage with his guitar and harmonica, linking directly to the audience. Even the time he went electric, and had his backup in The Band, he still focussed on a simple goal...making music. And what beautiful music it was. Apart from being lyrically brilliant, songs such as Like A Rolling Stone and Mr. Tambourine Man have a melodious quality to it as well.
As a writer, I identify with Dylan's constant insistence that he didn't have any message to convey or anything to protest about despite everyone trying to label him a protest singer. He kept telling anyone who would care to listen that he didn't know what inner meaning people gained from his songs...because he just wrote them...he didn't know what to make of them...that was for the people. I too, don't think of a greater ideal to it all...I simply write. When I start writing, I just keep writing...I don't think about what people might make of it or what it should sound like...I just write. Maybe people think that's the approach of a bad writer, but I don't care. To me, writing is simply a means of letting my thoughts unload in any form...whether it turns out a good result or bad.
I feel a lot like what one of Dylan's more recent numbers say,
"People are crazy and times are strange,
I'm locked in tight, I'm outta range
I used to care but, Things Have Changed".


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