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Bob Dylan

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(@purple)
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Joined: 20 years ago
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I was popping around on the internet hoping to find an article or interview about Bob Dylan and how he approached songwriting. I found this article talking about Dylan being called a poet and it pointed out these lines. I felt so dumb because I don't know if I ever would have picked this up. (This is the article, however nothing too great, http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/5817 )

Idiot wind, blowing like a circle around my skull,
From the Grand Coulee Dam to the Capitol

Seems simple enough but how about the fact that the wind is blowing from his physical head to the head of nation. Also his head and the capitol buildings are both domes. The article didn't say this but I looked up the Grand Coulee Dam and the first fact given about it is that it is the largest concrete structure in the US plus it gives the imagery of a dam, something blocking flow. By writing the song 'idiot wind' he certainly is calling people stupid but he really adds extra meaning with his lines. Especially, how he appears to be calling those in the capitol thick-headed. Well, of course heIs this all just crazy intepretation or is Bob Dylan just that amazing?

And if you have any info or articles about Dylan and how he wrote songs, I would be much obliged. Don't worry not going to try and copy just interested in the method of a genius.

It's not easy being green.... good thing I'm purple.


   
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(@anonymous)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 8184
 

i just figured it was the woody guthrie influence. you know, famous landmarks and all that. this land is your land, this land is my land, from the redwood forests to the gulfstream waters, from the golden gate bridge to the statue of liberty.... basically a whole lot of his songs rip off old folk singers. he's been described as a walking jukebox of old songs. but maybe he did mean it as a political slam as well.


   
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(@surly)
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being a big dylan fan i have a book called 'dylan on dylan' which is the complete transcripts of about 25 of his 'best' interviews from 1961 ish to 2005.

The one thing i think I have taken from reading it (and other Dylan writings) is that you'll probably never know if he meant it that way or if he just threw it in because it rhymed. Sometimes it seems like he just wrote some lines arbitrarily and amused himself by watching so called 'experts' fumble around to come up with the most profound interpretation. But obviously in some songs every word is purposefully crafted.

His approach to song writing seems to change everytime he is asked it and considering he had been writing songs for over 40 years i suppose its bound to change in time. I think at first he was writing songs because there was a 'need' for them (someone more cynical could say a market for them). For some songs like Masters of War he said that the world was waiting for a song like that so 'i just wrote it up'. Or something to that extent. But as he got older people say his songs became more personal as opposed to social and politcal. (However, he would probably dispute that)

I guess all i can see is the more you read, the further you get from an answer. Sometimes he seems so casual about his song writing and other times it seems to consume him completely. In the end (I think) he takes the view that he knows what he meant and the audience can take from it what they want, there is no right or wrong. You might think thats not really satisfactory (as did alot of interviewers over the years) but his reply was always, well, bad luck.

Anyway, im at work and im rambling. hope that helped. :D


   
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(@switch10)
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Joined: 17 years ago
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Bob Dylan is a lyrical god. Buy the autobiography Dob Dylan Chronicles Vol 1, he pretty much explains in detail the writing process that he went through for most of his records. I think its the best book a songwriter could buy.

Dave

Dave


   
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(@scrybe)
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I really love the lyrics to I Want You - the song sounds so simple when you play it, but the way he juxtaposes the complicated descriptive verses with the base and simple chorus really sums up the inherent ambiguity of love/lust. You feel it needs all them big words and complicated equations to explain because its such a complex thing, but words ultimately fal short and you're left with this simple statement of intent. also, the verses depict love going wrong - like you over-analyse why you feel the way you do about someone and what it is that you love about them and the inability to find a satisfactory answer 'confuses' you into thinking what you feel is an illusion or it prevents you from demonstrating your feelings.

but thats just my take on it.

Ra Er Ga.

Ninjazz have SuperChops.

http://www.blipfoto.com/Scrybe


   
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(@misanthrope)
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Joined: 18 years ago
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I read a good piece about All Along the Watchtower once, about how much description and meaning was packed into so few words by careful choice of words/phrasing/etc. I was a fantastic read, but I'm buggered if I can find it on the net now :(

ChordsAndScales.co.uk - Guitar Chord/Scale Finder/Viewer


   
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(@dommy09)
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Joined: 16 years ago
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and then his use of non sequiturs!

from tombstone blues:
"the sun's not yellow, its chicken!"

inspired me to write my own nonsense song :P

"We all have always shared a common belief that music is meant to be played as loud as possible, really raw and raunchy, and I'll punch out anyone who doesn't like it the way I do." -Bon Scott


   
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(@scrybe)
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there's also dylan's ciritique of paul mccartney/the beatles' Hello Goodbye, which is the best critique of a song I've ever read, lol.

will post a transcript later -its not too long.

Ra Er Ga.

Ninjazz have SuperChops.

http://www.blipfoto.com/Scrybe


   
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