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Bread & Circuses

The 1% owning everything while the 99% fight each ther for scraps is not a new concept. “Panem et Circensus”, literal translation being ‘Bread and Circuses’ was a formula created …

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Shut Up, Caveman!

5am this morning I woke up terrified. I don’t just mean a bit scared, here. I mean terrified, the kind of paralysing, mind-numbingly, oh-my-god-i’m-gonna-die type terror that I last felt …

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Exploding Heads, Limbs and Comfort Zones!

Film making and acting has always fascinated me. I’m a huge fan of movie making and I did quite a bit of stage acting when I was younger, but lost …

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Anyone For Anaesthetic?

There’s a great moment in the great David Fincher movie ‘Fight Club’ when a bloodied up and buff Brad Pitt empowers the members of fight club to rise up and …

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Wanna Wear Your Undies Over Your Jeans And Save The World?

As I’ve mentioned before on my blogs, there are several massive upsides to embracing real creativity in your life, your business and your Industry. You see, those individuals and organisations …

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From Leonardo to Led Zep, the magic is all in the gaps.

Whenever I need a surge of energy, swagger and attitude I always turn to the same place. I get the Led out. For many reasons, and to many millions, Led …

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Don’t Believe The Hype: We are ALL Creative

My mate has a younger brother who works in marketing for a global food brand. To the outside world, he is a ‘creative’ and carries with him every marketeer creative …

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IDEAS are the new ‘Little Black Dress’

In these, the greatest times of uncertainty we humans have probably ever faced, it’s good to know that there are some things in this world that can always be relied …

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Seize The Day…Make Your Lives Extraordinary

Hi folks. It’s been ages since I last blogged – mainly ‘cos (a) I didn’t really know what to say or why, and (b) cos i’ve been busy writing albums, …

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People Who Inspired Change Through Music #3 – Mozart

I was ten years old when I went on my first ever holiday abroad. Mum and Dad had saved for years to take us to Playa de Palma in Majorca, …

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People Who Inspired Change Through Music #2 – Bob Dylan

I’m in the car a few days ago. I click on the radio and immediately the car is filled with the lush sound of The Byrds. “Hey, Mister tambourine man, play a song for me” I sing, full pelt, all the way to the shop. I then proceed to hum it to myself, sporadically whispering some of the lyrics under my breath purely for my own joy, whilst walking round the aisles (don’t pretend you haven’t done it yourself). In fact, the tune is so infectious I sing it all the way home too. Anyway, safely back in the warm, my partner, Julie, and I settle down to watch a movie. We pick Forrest Gump. Schmaltzy I know, but a nice little story for a snowy evening, plus it’s got a KICK-ASS soundtrack to boot. But there’s an issue. About half way through, I can no longer hold in my need to air-guitar (I swear it’s a form of music-enduced tourettes). I’ve already let The Doors, Creedance and Elvis pass by unhindered, but I just HAVE to do a power-riff from my sofa seat as Hendrix blasts on to the screen with ‘All Along The Watchtower’. Yessssssssssssssssssssss.

It wasn’t until the morning after though, that it occurred to me; those two huge changes in my energy levels and consciousness had been supplied to me by the same man. Yes, via the immense power of Hendrix and the marvellous sound of The Byrds, but both songs written by possiby the greatest singer songwriter of all time, Bob Dylan.

This Blog is about musicians, composers, performers, songwriters and songs that have inspired change through music. And some people fit the bill so perfectly in all areas that they are a complete no-brainer. And this dude changed everything in the world of popular music, his effect much deeper and more profound than even that of my last Blog subjects, the Beatles.

Born Robert Zimmerman, Bob Dylan was the original, and greatest, of the singer Dylan Sketchsongwriters. He emerged on the scene in the early 1960’s and his approach to songwriting almost single handedly transformed a superficial, cellophane teeny-bop popular music culture into a powerful societal art form. His songs introduced astoundingly real poetry as lyrics and, with his passionate and nasal vocal delivery, were a million miles away from the saccharin-sweet songs being written by most of his contemporaries at the time. In doing so, he managed, over time, to create a more inclusive and progressive social consciousness across the US and the Western world and instigate change.

But the strange thing is, that for a man whose songs literally redefined a generation, it’s very hard to put your finger on what most of Dylan’s songs are exactly about. Why?

Well, like so much of the greatest and most inspiring literature, his creations are allusive, deeply metaphorical and can mean so much to so many. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Bob Dylan’s name is cited more times than any other artist as an influence on fellow musicians. Perhaps it is also why his material is felt just as profoundly now around the world as ever. Some even think of him as a shaman, or prophet of our times. I’m one of them, and there’s no better example of it than this;

In 2005, Uncut magazine asked Industry experts, musicians and actors for their seminal experiences of the past 50 years, and Bob Dylan’s ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ -the song that, according to Bruce Springsteen, “sounded like somebody’d kicked open the door to your mind” – was judged as the most important of 100 music, movie and television moments that have changed the world. The single, recorded in 1965 for his influential album Highway 61 Revisited, was remarkable for its lyrics. Griel Marcus, his biographer, said the phrase “How does it feel?” does not just come out of his mouth, it “explodes”. Have a listen here and see if your spine tingles like mine.

One thing is for sure though; Bob Dylan is a living example of what we would call a ‘Transformational leader’. He instigated change. He was agile, flexible and powerful in his communication. He stood firmly in his power and spoke his own truth. He led from the front. He empowered the mass music listening public toward social change both directly and through inspiring and influencing the waves of other songwriters and performers of both his own and future generations so as to ensure momentum was sustained…..

Now that’s real change for you.

See you next time. I’m off to see Johnny, who’s in the basement mixing up the medicine……

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  1. Pete England on said:

    I couldn’t argue with any of what’s been said about his early work but we shouldn’t overlook all the rest. For instance, I think his middle-period “Blind Willie McTell” is the equal of any of the earlier stuff. It was recorded in the early eighties bit didn’t appear on a record umtil the Bootleg series in the early nineties. The songs from the “born again” period tend to get overlooked too but I was reminded of how good they are by Christain Bale’s performance of a couple of them in the film “I’m Not There” – surprisingly, he seemed to capture the essence of them though Cate Blanchett got all the plaudits for her impressive impersonation.

  2. Stuart Roper on said:

    I bought that single (like a rolling stone) in 1965 aged 11 or 12, and it was such a revelation. Even at that tender age I understood its revolutionary message and it’s pure anger, I still listen to it and puzzle at some of the lyrics. Dylan is a great artist in the broadest sense and I think like many great artists his early work is the most pungent. It’s interesting that Hendrix playing all along the Watchtower and Joan Beaz singing It’s all over now babe Blue show what a great songwriter and poet he is. Other favourites are; Sad eyed lady of the lowlands (only he can perform that) Sara from Desire others like Lay lady Lay bring back memories, smells, tastes and emotions from those hideous teenage years. Thanks for the blog David thought provoking