5 Reasons Why I Admire Bob Dylan

Post written by Warren. Follow him on Twitter.

"All I can do is be me, whoever that is."

"All I can do is be me, whoever that is."

You either love him or you hate him. And if you haven’t heard of him, you must be living on Mars…

Mr. Bob Dylan (real name, Robert Zimmerman).

The first time I heard Bob Dylan was early in high school. I had purchased a discount cassette copy of Highway 61 Revisited. Being an avid music junkie and connoisseur, I figured it was time I finally listened to this “legend” and see what all the fuss was about. So I popped in the tape and the first song I heard was “Like a Rolling Stone”. Hmmm…interesting. I remember once reading this song was one of the top rock and roll songs of all time. My first impressions of it were one of confusion.

What was that voice?

Is that organ in the background on a rock and roll song?

Oh…then there was that voice! “How does it feeeeeeeeel…” Yikes!

Needless to say, it was at that moment a seed was planted. It would not be years later until it grew and Bob Dylan had my heart and soul forever.The lyrics. The change in styles. The profound wisdom and charm. The man himself.

What at first was not love at first listen, grew to total admiration for this guy who took off from Hibbing, Minnesota at a young age full of desire and ambition and landed in the coffee shops of Greenwich Village simply doing the thing he loved most…playing folk songs.

Nothing else really mattered except doing what he loved.

Whether you are a fan of Bob Dylan, whom I believe IS the greatest songwriter to ever walk this planet (Shakespeare with a guitar)…there are a multitude of reasons you should pay attention to him. There are great lessons to learn and admire from him. Here are 5 of them…

Here are 5 reasons why I admire Bob Dylan…

1. He Lives Life His Way

Bob Dylan is a man who has always followed his heart and lived life the way he wanted to live it. As a teenager, Dylan dropped out of college as a freshman and left the cold constraints of Hibbing, Minnesota and headed off to New York City with just a suitcase and his guitar…and a quest. He had high hopes to play with his idol, Woody Guthrie. Can you imagine doing that at that age? That is bold. That is courage. That is fearlessness.

Even after fame and fortune come his way, he still does (to this day) what he wants to do without outside influence. It really is about the art and passion for music that drives him.

“A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.”

2. He Found His Passion and Made It His Life

From an early age, Bob Dylan was obsessed with music. He spent much of his youth listening to countless hours of radio which ranged from blues to rock and roll. In high school he formed a few short lived bands. In one performance of Danny and the Juniors’ “Rock and Roll Is Here to Stay” at their high school talent show, the principle cut the microphone off because it was too loud.  In 1959 he saw Buddy Holly in the Winter Dance Party tour and later recalled how he had made direct eye contact with him.

In his 1959 school yearbook, Dylan listed his ambition “To join Little Richard.”

But the real influence in his life was Woody Guthrie. He once said about Woody’s music, “You could listen to his songs and learn how to live.” Dylan even went so far to meet Woody on his deathbed. At that moment, I do believe the torch was passed from one great icon to another. Dylan once wrote in regards to Woody: “The songs themselves had the infinite sweep of humanity in them … [He] was the true voice of the American spirit. I said to myself I was going to be Guthrie’s greatest disciple.”

“I consider myself a poet first and a musician second.
I live like a poet and I’ll die like a poet.”

3. He Let’s Creativity Flow Through Him and Never Stops Creating

Dylan has been involved in music ever since he started listening to those early radio broadcasts in high school. That lead him into creating multiple bands at that age, and then, taking off to NYC where he eventually mesmerized those sitting in coffee shops with his unique songs. The major record labels soon came knocking and his life, and the world’s, changed forever.

He has been nothing short of prolific with thirty-four studio albums, fifty-eight singles, thirteen live albums, and fourteen compilation albums. The list of awards he has achieved is just beyond belief.

He has been consistently touring since the 1980’s now with his “Never Ending Tour”. Even at the ripe old age of 68, he still tours to this day.

“A lot of people can’t stand touring but to me it’s like breathing. I do it because I’m driven to do it.”

4. He Never Looks Back and Only Moves Forward

Dylan has always been the one to never look back and only move forward. He knows that looking backwards is simply a waste of time. In fact, there is a fantastic documentary about him during the time of the 1960’s called, Don’t Look Back that is simply amazing and I would highly recommend it. Dylan is the type of creative force to not walk in previously walked paths, he makes his own. Moving forward without looking back is a vital lesson we can all learn and admire. Doing so leaves us free of burden and opens up our cups to the flow of life. If there is anyone on this planet who does this really well, it is Bob Dylan.

“Yesterday’s just a memory, tomorrow is never what it’s supposed to be.”

5. He Is Not Afraid To Change Course

Early in high school Dylan started rock bands that were so loud, he was stopped mid-performance. Then he moved on to folk music and became the icon of the classic folk musician. He lead a movement in the 60’s with his folk songs about life, struggle, and politics. His followers grew and grew…until one day, at the Newport Music Festival (July, 1965) he decided he wanted to do something different and change.

He plugged in and went electric.

The “folkies” cringed and booed him. But Dylan didn’t care, he never wanted to be categorized as a “folk” singer anyway, he was simply a performer, a musician, a poet, and nothing more.

Put simply, he was not afraid to change course or direction in is creative endeavors. His art was all he truly cared about, and it was not driven or influenced by what his fans wanted.

Look at today’s music industry…can the same thing be said about it? I don’t think so. It is mainly corporate driven, not artistically driven.

Dylan has gone in all kinds of directions with his music over the last several decades. He has touched base with folk music, rock and roll, country, gospel, swing, and this year…Christmas songs.

“He not busy being born is busy dying.”

Beauty. Poetry. Heart. Simplicity. Soul.


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Posted on November 6, 2009

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