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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Dylan Gets Pulitzer

A surprising milestone was reached this week in rock and roll history. Bob Dylan was recognized with an honorary Pulitzer Prize – the first time a rock performer has received this high honor.

The official announcement proclaimed Dylan as “the most acclaimed and influential songwriter of the past half century, who more than anyone brought rock from the streets to the lecture hall.” Dylan was cited for his "profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power."

The full news story is at

Back in the way-back when Mike played his acoustic guitar more than he does now and we sang together, Mike did a lot of Dylan songs. Bob Dylan, born Robert Zimmerman, was a big influence on Mike’s musical development. But then, Dylan was a big influence on a lot of musicians including Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles and Tom Petty. Hendrix did many Dylan songs. He had a huge hit with “Watchtower.” Hendrix even adopted the Dylan hairstyle and headband. From Jimi Hendrix to Johnny Cash seems like a big leap, but the already-famous Cash also performed Dylan songs and was a large admirer. Dylan was a guest on the first episode of Cash's tv show in the late '60s.

Dylan frequently asserted that his songs were not political; they were “just songs.” His social commentary, however, was unabashed, and many of them became anthems for an era. Do you remember these?

Blowing in the Wind
Oxford Town
The Times They Are A'Changin'
Masters of War

Bob Dylan is a genius and a modern poet who’s still out there performing. His most recent studio album, Modern Times, entered the album charts at #1 making him, at age 65, the oldest living person to top those charts.

Click this link for one of my favorite Dylan songs, “Don’t Think Twice; It’s Alright.”

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