Congratulations Bob!

When Bob Dylan makes the front page of the Okinawa Times newspaper you know the times they really are a-changing. That’s what happened this morning with his unusually smiling face adorning the front page and with another lengthier feature on an inside page on the occasion of his winning the Nobel Prize for Literature.

There isn’t really any point in trying to summarize his career – even if it could be done succinctly here. But to let this news go unremarked would be wrong so here’s a little something just to congratulate Bob on his great achievement. Without him roots music would not have achieved the attention it has now but, of course, his songs and music go way beyond that and have crossed all sorts of boundaries over the 54 years since the release of his debut album.


I first listened to Dylan back in 1965 when I was pointed in the direction of his Bringing It All Back Home album (probably by my friend Derek in Norwich) so I was already a bit late to the party as he had begun astonishing and outraging people in equal measure by his experiments with rock and electric guitars at that time. So I rapidly went back and listened to everything from the start and then to everything from there onwards.

Blonde on Blonde and its surreal images was a revelation to me and remains perhaps the greatest album of all. It also seemed to be the soundtrack to every party I went to for ages after its release. In the mid 70s there was another creative peak with the superb Blood on the Tracks. I’ve also seen him on stage at least ten times both in England and Japan, perhaps most memorably at the Blackbushe Aerodrome festival in 1978 when he played for nearly three hours to a crowd of more than 200,000.

By the 21st century he had reinvented himself yet again, this time soaked in roots references with Love and Theft and Modern Times. There was also the surprise publication of an excellent memoir Chronicles (Volume One) which finally managed to erase the memory of the impenetrable novel Tarantula.

If the Nobel Prize for Literature had been given to a pop singer even 30 years ago it would very likely have provoked anger and gasps of disbelief or worse. No doubt there will be some today who still won’t like it. That the Nobel Prize has gone to Bob Dylan should on the contrary be a cause for celebration and not only from his fans. Of course, Dylan himself is known for wayward and eccentric behaviour so there’s no guarantee he will accept it…

Explore posts in the same categories: Notes from the Ryukyus

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: