Birthday greetings to Bob Zimmerman, aka Bob Dylan, who famously celebrates No. 70 today.
From here, the only question is whether Dylan’s Blood on The Tracks is the greatest album of music ever made, or second greatest. Of course, there are probably Dylan fans who wouldn’t rank it in their top five — of Dylan albums (I once had a consistent late-night visitor who wanted to hear nothing but Blood on the Tracks at 3 a.m., and insisted it was the greatest album ever made; surely a night of carousing had no influence on his judgment).
If nothing else, Blood on The tracks must surely have some of the greatest liner notes ever written. “So forget the Dylan whose image was eaten at by the mongers of the idiot wind,” wrote Pete Hamill on the album’s backside. “Don’t mistake him for Isaiah, or a magazine cover, or a leader of guitar armies. He is only a troubadour, blood brother of Villon, a son of Provence, and he has survived the plague . . . Listen: the poet sings to all of us.”
The poet Dylan is reputed to be named for, Dylan Thomas, died at 39 in 1953 while on a poetry-reading tour in New York. Dylan has often denied it, and said he took the name from an “uncle.” “I’ve done more for Dylan Thomas than he ever did for me,” Dylan said in 1966. (Ironic that Dylan Thomas might have been the namesake for Bob Dylan, and his verse certainly was for the title of the great baseball book “Boys of Summer.”)
A link to Dylan’s Song to Woody, one of his very early songs.
Hey, hey, Woody Guthrie, I wrote you a song
‘Bout a funny ol’ world that’s a-comin’ along.
Seems sick an’ it’s hungry, it’s tired an’ it’s torn,
It looks like it’s a-dyin’ an’ it’s hardly been born.
Bob Dylan, 1962