Dylan at 76

In honor of Bob Dylan’s 76th birthday, I present 76 of his greatest tunes…

Spotify Playlist

House of the Risin’ Sun
Song to Woody
Baby, Let Me Follow You Down
In My Time of Dyin’
Man of Constant Sorrow
Blowin’ in the Wind
Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right
A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall
Girl From the North Country
Masters of War
It Ain’t Me Babe
My Back Pages
Chimes of Freedom
All I Really Want to Do
The Times They Are A-Changin’
With God on Our Side
The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll
Boots of Spanish Leather
Only a Pawn in Their Game
One Too Many Mornings
Mr. Tambourine Man
Subterranean Homesick Blues
It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)
It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue
Love Minus Zero/No Limit
She Belongs to Me
Maggie’s Farm
Like a Rolling Stone
Desolation Row
Ballad of a Thin Man
Tombstone Blues
Queen Jane Approximately
I Want You
Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again
Visions of Johanna
Just Like a Woman
Sad Eyed Lady of The Lowlands
One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)
Most Likely You Go Your Way and I’ll Go Mine
Rainy Day Women #12 & 35
4th Time Around
All Along the Watchtower
I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight
As I Went Out One Morning
Lay Lady Lay
Peggy Day
All the Tired Horses
The Mighty Quinn (Quinn the Eskimo)
If Not for You
New Morning
The Man in Me
Watching the River Flow
Mr. Bojangles
Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door
Forever Young
Tangled Up in Blue
Shelter from the Storm
Simple Twist of Fate
Idiot Wind
One More Cup of Coffee (Valley Below)
Changing of the Guards
Gotta Serve Somebody
Man in the Long Black Coat
Most of the Time
Not Dark Yet
Love Sick
Things Have Changed
Thunder on the Mountain
Beyond Here Lies Nothin’
Duquesne Whistle

Dylan at 75

“Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tomorrow.”
Mr. Tambourine Man

Of all the artists who have walked this earth, none have spoken to my core as profoundly as the Midwestern troubadour known as Bob Dylan. He is easily my favorite poet, able to paint masterpieces with words both down-home and surrealistic.

Dylan has always epitomized Caucasian cool, his nonchalant approach to fame seeming more and more quaint as the American pop cultural landscape has become overrun with “look at me” types. While he continues to churn out albums as a senior citizen, it is the young Dylan, wise beyond his years, hair growing in a million different directions, that will be venerated for decades to come.

May the bulb that illuminated his mind continue to shine a little light on us all.

Dylan at 75 Playlist

The History of Cool

I’m going to say that our modern sense of cool began in the 1940s with Frank Sinatra, a midnight crooner who drank in classy bars with a pack of rats. Then Miles Davis showed up and perfected the art of jazz, which was the art of improvisation, the art of making it up as you go along, and people like Kerouac started living to this beat. Teaheads began getting high together and ushered in the age of hippies – Bob Dylan turning on the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix tripping on stage.

The 70s were weird and gave way to the even weirder early 80s. Blame cocaine for making everyone less cool. Things stopped making sense when David Byrne appeared on the scene. While the mainstream kids got swallowed up in a ridiculous sea of hair bands, the counterculture started digging the Talking Heads. It was at this moment, I believe, when your stereotypical, modern-day hipster was born. Now eccentricity became desirable. You could wear goofy glasses and clothes that didn’t fit, as long as you threw around the word ironic (regardless of whether you understood its definition).

With the 90s came Kurt Cobain and flannel. For whatever reason, he detested mainstream success and offed himself for selling out. Because cool implies exclusivity, once too many people like you, you’re no longer hip. While this may be common knowledge, it’s a stupid mindset. Snoop Dogg sold out but is still super suave.

And now, in the 21st century, we are left with a fragmented society in which Johnny Depp is admired for wearing crazy hats and leather flair. The kids in Brooklyn and Wicker Park grow beards and ride bikes and don’t eat meat because beef isn’t green, but cool remains a subjective abstraction. Pinning it down is impossible.

In conclusion, I leave you with this exchange from America’s most culturally relevant family:

Homer: So, I realized that being with my family is more important than being cool.
Bart: Dad, what you just said was powerfully uncool.
Homer: You know what the song says: “It’s hip to be square.”
Lisa: That song is so lame.
Homer: So lame that it’s… cool?
Bart+Lisa: No.
Marge: Am I cool, kids?
Bart+Lisa: No.
Marge: Good. I’m glad. And that’s what makes me cool, not caring, right?
Bart+Lisa: No.
Marge: Well, how the hell do you be cool? I feel like we’ve tried everything here.
Homer: Wait, Marge. Maybe if you’re truly cool, you don’t need to be told you’re cool.
Bart: Well, sure you do.
Lisa: How else would you know?