One of the most influential artists of the 20th century, Bob Dylan has had more lives than a cat of Egyptian extraction, on July 25, 1965, as he plugged in his 1964 Fender Stratocaster electric guitar at the Newport, Rhode Island Folk Festival, freewheeling’ Bob Dylan became Bob, the rock ‘n roll man. His decision was not well received at the time—although it was Dylan’s third consecutive year playing at the folk festival, it was the first time he received heckling and booing from the crowd but he kept on asking how does it feel? But none really knows. I remember catching a couple of his shows in the years I have been listening to his music. One in Los Angeles, flanked by Joni Mitchell and Van Morrison and a rather unique one in Las Vegas at the opening of the House of Blues Venue…a sort of surreal scene: the opening of a brand new hotel and casino and Dylan was like mixing oil and water only somehow it managed to get emulsified…
I remember one peculiar Saturday morning coming out of the shower with a towel wrapped around my waist and walking into the living room of my Beverly Hills apartment, adjacent to the Beverly High School famed grounds it was graduation day of 1984.
Far back across the street from where the graduation ceremonies were taking place, no more than 20 paces from where I was standing dripping wet there he stood: a solitary figure attending his son’s graduation. A very private moment for someone used to having all the attention bestowed on him.
I just sat on a chair in my living room and watched as he watched…it was my moment with Dylan, I guess.
My mother was friend with his wife Sarah for a while, I remember going over her house once, and one of my first wife’s girlfriend went out with him. There were gossips thrown around the table at a deli on a Sunday afternoon about him but gossips are not really my thing, however his music has always been around me. A sort of punctuation to a life lived in silence even when amongst a crowd. That sort of silence that never ends but rather moves on like the river waters going towards an unseen ocean. Almost every one always seemed to like the old Dylan as compared to the new one so there are a hundred new ones and as many old ones…I just think that there is or was a time when it matter and a time when it doesn’t so maybe now it matters again or maybe it is good to know that things they are-a- changin’. One more spin around the wheel, one more date to fill, one more song to sing. It is now a Dylan that looks more like a slimed down version of a Walter Cronkite. But as long as he still appears and disappears in and out of our lives with his mystery intact, his music still ringing in our ears even if now is on an Ipod; after half a century it is a reminder that there is still some humanity left out-here to snack on…some fire light that can warm a cold night and some water to quench a thirst…and a son that calls his father for no reason since that is the best reason of all…in a way it is good to have some one to pin it on.
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