Wars are a part of human nature. People will always have different opinions about things, and won't give in to the other side. People have also helped others that have the same opinion, which is not always a good thing to do. When the United States became involved in the Vietnam War, citizens believed that the Vietnam War wasn't the United States' war. Protests became a big thing across the country. One man protested musically. Bob Dylan wrote songs that protested the Vietnam War. Although he wasn't the best singer or musician in many people's opinions, his lyrics are what made him famous. Bob Dylan opened new areas in song writing by writing anti-war songs.
The lyrics that Bob Dylan wrote contributed to a new way of anti-war protest in the 1960's.
Above all, he used words; his lyrics went way beyond the slogans of rock 'n' roll (Awopbobaloobop). For the first time, he fed kids with songs that actually meant something that expressed revolt through something more complex (Cohn, Nik. Rock From The Beginning).
Dylan's lyrics were not so much a form of entertainment, but created to get the public aware of what was going on in the world. Bob Dylan's imagination and energy with words is what made him famous.
His lyrics turned the heads of everyone who heard his songs. His lyrics came right out of the song with a really deep message for the audience to think about. Unlike other folk singers of his time like Woody Guthrie and Joan Baez, Dylan sold his lyrics outside the normal folk audience and reached the mass teen public.
"Well, the crowd, they gathered one fine morn/At the man whose clothes 'n' shoes were torn/There on the sidewalk he did lay/They stopped 'n' stared 'n' walked away" (Tikkan:13).
The song "Man on the Street", Dylan explains the human suffering that is caused by human cruelty. For example, people would see a starving man on the street and not do anything to him. Dylan felt that people expect someone else to help the starving so they never do. On a larger scale, Dylan felt the government of the United States might be so tied up with other things in other countries, they forget that they must run this country. Bob Dylan made it clear that the political problems in the United States are not out of the reach of the general public, but are actually the problems are right by our side and we could help to solve the problems.
Bob Dylan enabled artists to write more about their innermost feelings than about cars and love. Many bands after Dylan made remakes of his songs. Peter, Paul, and Mary remade the Dylan song "Blowing in the Wind" and it soon became a hit for them. Bob Dylan became famous at about the same time as the civil rights movement in the 1960's. At this time he introduced a new style of lyrics that would remain around forever. "Open your ears, and you're influenced" (Bob Dylan). Bob Dylan didn't just come into the music world by himself. He was also influenced by other musicians. Woody Guthrie was a major influence on Dylan. "_he sat by the bedside of the dying Woody Guthrie" (Cohn, Nik. Rock From The Beginning). Joan Baez made many of Dylan's songs popular before Dylan himself became popular. In his early career Dylan worked with Joan Baez, who was also against the Vietnam War. Baez was one of the really significant female folk singers of the 1960's.
Bob Dylan is not only famous for his lyrics, but for what he contributed to folk music. "Bob Dylan, an American composer, singer, and musician, he was the most influential folk-song writer of the early 1960's" ("Dylan, Bob". World Book Encyclopedia. 1996 ed.) Bob Dylan's singing is heavy, almost shouting in style, but from a folk perspective. His singing made it impossible to miss the message of the song because it had no pop overtones. Bob Dylan began as a folk singer by trade. In 1961, Dylan left his home town of Duluth, Minnesota and headed east. There, he went down into Greenwich Village and joined the circuit of musicians. While at Greenwich Village, Dylan became famous rather quickly.
Down in the Village, he grew into a cult, he began to dominate, and already there were people who called him a genius, a primitive prophet" (Cohn, Nik. Rock From The Beginning). Bob Dylan was one of the first people to give folk music a little rock sound to make it folk-rock. He showed this by beginning to play the electric guitar in the mid 1960's. After a motorcycle accident in 1966, Dylan leaned his style of music towards country. In the late 1970's, he began to show his religious interests.
The ways of protest changed with the new ways of writing music that Bob Dylan began. Almost everyone in rock has been influenced by him. Bob Dylan's influence on rock and roll has changed and will keep changing music forever.
"Bob Dylan" Jake Rae.
Copyright © 1997 Jake Rae.
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