This 1st weekend of February 2015, the Grammy’s music celebrations hit LA. On Saturday night, MusiCares celebrated their Person of the Year, Bob Dylan. I really love the music of Bob Dylan. And I love the character of Bob Dylan. He is a lightening rod for controversy. People either seem to love him or hate him. I have friends who liked his early stuff but now think his music is horrible.( Actually nobody ever argues the opposite). Whatever your opinion of the sound he makes, there is no question that his influence on the American Songbook is the greatest that the Baby Boom Generation will ever see and he certainly does rank in the top 2-3 in terms of his contribution to 20th century American music, Americana. And in this case, Americana music truly is one of the things that makes this country great.
He is a quirky, goofy guy. Most geniuses are. He is rich, world known and recognized, celebrated and debated, and still seems to be this down home good old boy, who doesn’t give a crap what anybody thinks of him. I have a feeling he has never had to kiss any ass to get what he requires to move forward. He has never been glamorous, but always hip. He is a father to 6 kids, has a bunch of grand-children and is even a great-grandfather. He’ll be 74 on his next birthday and he spends more than 200 days a year traveling the world in what some call the Never Ending Tour. In 2009 in Rolling Stone, he said, “Critics should know there is no such thing as forever. Does anybody call Henry Ford a Never Ending Car Builder? Anybody ever say that Duke Ellington was on a Never Ending Bandstand Tour? These days, people are lucky to have a job. Any job. So critics might be uncomfortable with my working so much. Anybody with a trade can work as long as they want. A carpenter, an electrician. They don’t necessarily need to retire.”
So if you are still with me on this and you want to see what caught my attention this weekend, click on this link. It is the 30 minute acceptance speech he gave to MusicCares. It is enjoyable reading and will take a lot less than 30 minutes to read it.
Lastly, this video captures part of his brilliance. Here is is, obviously ripped out of his drawers, being presented with a Grammy achievement award in 1991 by, who else, Jack Nicholson. He’s on national TV, in front of a huge live audience, the spotlight is on him and he is not able to sing. He is out of his comfort zone. And he ends up knocking it out of the park.