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PostPosted: Fri July 13th, 2012, 14:15 GMT 

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The argument can be made that his music is certainly an acquired taste...not for the mainstream. Sure there have been top 40 hits but the vast majority of his work seems to be for the cult following or the underground. The strange thing about that though is the fact that Bob Dylan is a household name; he's generally regarded as the most important figure in rock history (with The Beatles and Elvis). Just another Dylan dichotomy...


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PostPosted: Fri July 13th, 2012, 14:41 GMT 

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I would agree he is underground. Though he is a household name. The 1966 bob Dylan is a household name due to the fact he is easy to mock. Comedians or others love mocking the voice and it's easy to joke about (it's always eay to mock something than to understand). Most people hear Dylan and do that odd voice singing blowin in the wind. But if there is anything coming from Dylan, let say 1967 to the present. It's all underground music. I guess the man himself is well known but the music is underground. Which is a dirty rotten shame.


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PostPosted: Fri July 13th, 2012, 14:56 GMT 
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I tend to agree that is is underground. I had heard about Bob Dylan most of my life but the references to him were always so contradictory. They were either reverential or mockery. I think the only songs I had heard before September of last year were Mr. Tambourine Man (Byrds cover :roll: ), Like A Rolling Stone and Blowing In The Wind. Thank God for No Direction Home. I am very grateful that I watched that movie on Netflix on a whim. I feel like I unearthed some great treasure.


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PostPosted: Fri July 13th, 2012, 15:08 GMT 

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Dylan: 'I feel my stuff is very hard-edged and not everyone's cup of tea.' I think that pretty much sums it up. (Indeed, I use that quote a lot when puzzled people ask me why I like his music so much - as if you can make the deaf hear).

Dylan absolutely is 'underground' in that his body of work is simply too vast, complicated, and thorny for the mainstream to process even when it tries. Look at Scorcese's documentary - great as it was, it ultimately offered us only a (very impressive) sliver of the entire oeuvre. There was not even the pretense of going near his mid-70s stuff, or his gospel period, or his late-career resurgence, let alone his baffling other excursions. Add to that Dylan's irascibly changeable and hard-to-assimilate voice, you've got an artist who will fascinate and confound listeners and possibly scholars for generations to come, but who - apart from perhaps a couple of songs (Blowin' in the Wind, LARS, Forever Young) - will never become fully incorporated into mainstream culture in the manner of, say, The Beatles. I like raging-glory's story; I think it exemplifies the fate of Dylan's work: to be a sort of Sphinx that searchers will keep digging up and rediscovering, in a state of awe. But just as most of us never actually see the Sphinx, so will most casual listeners will never really hear Bob.


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PostPosted: Fri July 13th, 2012, 15:17 GMT 
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Fantastic post, Lone Pilgrim. I don't have much to add but I think people aren't attentive enough to grasp the greatness. There's a big difference between listening and hearing a song. I suspect a lot of people who say they've heard "Like a Rolling Stone" really couldn't answer what the song is about and that song is pretty much as straightforward as Bob can get.


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PostPosted: Fri July 13th, 2012, 18:31 GMT 
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Dylan's music is underground I suppose, and a lot of people can't stand his voice or whatever. His lyrics, though, are universally loved. When I first started listening to Bob, I mentioned him to my mom, and she was like "Have you heard a Bob Dylan song? And I was like, "Yeah?" and she started doing her ridiculous Bob Dylan impression that she continues to do every time she hears me listening to Bob, which is quite often. Everytime I tell someone I like Bob Dylan I get, "Yeah, he was a great songwriter". And that was it. His voice is one of the most underrated things in music.


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PostPosted: Fri July 13th, 2012, 18:34 GMT 
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I don't know what underground even means anymore. Didn't Cliff Richard recently claim that HE is an alternative artist. And I can see his point.

But I catch your drift - yes, Dylan has always existed separate to the mainstream and the tides of fashion. Thank goodness, though I wonder whether I am the only one who preferred it in a way when he managed to stay under their radar in the pre-TOOM days?


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PostPosted: Fri July 13th, 2012, 18:36 GMT 
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The Saw wrote:
Everytime I tell someone I like Bob Dylan I get, "Yeah, he was a great songwriter". And that was it. His voice is one of the most underrated things in music.


Agreed about the voice, of course, but I don't think those who say "he's a great songwriter but he can't sing" have ever given him the time of day, really. I think that's just the culturally-accepted, kneejerk response for the type of people who one day decided to seek out the original version of All Along the Watchtower and didn't take to the singing. How many of those people have really come face to face with more than just one or two of Bob's masterpieces of songwriting? Idiot Wind, Abandoned Love, Changing of the Guards? If they did, I think there'd be far fewer people griping about the man's voice.


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PostPosted: Fri July 13th, 2012, 18:43 GMT 
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TheFatChocobo wrote:
The Saw wrote:
Everytime I tell someone I like Bob Dylan I get, "Yeah, he was a great songwriter". And that was it. His voice is one of the most underrated things in music.


Agreed about the voice, of course, but I don't think those who say "he's a great songwriter but he can't sing" have ever given him the time of day, really. I think that's just the culturally-accepted, kneejerk response for the type of people who one day decided to seek out the original version of All Along the Watchtower and didn't take to the singing. How many of those people have really come face to face with more than just one or two of Bob's masterpieces of songwriting? Idiot Wind, Abandoned Love, Changing of the Guards? If they did, I think there'd be far fewer people griping about the man's voice.

Agreed, and I will say that I think if everyone went out and listened to every Dylan album, they'd like at least 5. There's a Dylan album for everyone.


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PostPosted: Fri July 13th, 2012, 22:29 GMT 
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If everyone went out and listened to every Dylan song, I reckon three fourths of them would like at least 5.

Dylan repels some people there's no getting around it.

Plus he's old, and some young folks don't have time for 'old man crap' as I remember reading one young writers description of what was said to him by his roommate, upon his attempts to get him to listen to Dylan.

I've long considered Dylan mainstream, but there's some good points raised in this thread to the contrary.


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PostPosted: Sat July 14th, 2012, 01:21 GMT 

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Joan Baez said it well in NDH, "Some people..'ehh'. They could care less, but those who DO; he touches deeply"...or something along those lines.


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PostPosted: Sat July 14th, 2012, 01:26 GMT 
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^^ I found that quote!

“There are no veils, curtains, doors, walls, anything, between what pours out of Bob’s hand onto the page and what is somehow available to the core of people who are believers in him. Some people would say, you know, ‘not interested,’ but if you’re interested, he goes way, way deep.” - Joan Baez in No Direction Home


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PostPosted: Sat July 14th, 2012, 01:30 GMT 

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Yeah, thanks Glory; that's the one! It's true too. I'll show my friends how excited I am about my collection or the history and if they're not into it...it just won't change.


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PostPosted: Sat July 14th, 2012, 02:41 GMT 
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His lyrics are amazing nails, but his voice is the hammer that pounds them in.


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PostPosted: Sat July 14th, 2012, 03:25 GMT 
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TheGunfighter wrote:
His lyrics are amazing nails,
but his voice is the hammer that pounds them in.

..to expand on that a bit, i'd say
like any words delivered to anyone
from anyone - the successful
Impact and Effect is accomplished
by inflection, emphasis subtleties,
nuance, and mainly for Bob Dylan,
who we ALL know - even those who
don't want to ADMIT it - took the
'conveyance of message' via song,
to another world of endeavor.
- FIRST are the LYRICS - in no way
are you gonna astound with delivery
if ya' got nuthin' to deliver ... and we
ALL know - even those who don't want
to ADMIT it - that in the case of Mr. Dylan
'Something WAS Delivered' - and i tell this
Truth to you.. NO ONE had the WORDS, and
NO ONE had the PHRASING ABILITY to take
the handcuffs off the limits of vernacularity
like he did. You might even compare it to
the introduction of the Microphone to Music,
and the astounding new results due to the
freedom it accorded vocalists who prior to
this had to work within volume ranges
that did not lend to the display of
the talent they might possess. :arrow:

Bob Dylan was not the Voice of a Generation,
- He was the Human Microphone of Wordsmithery.
.. 8)


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PostPosted: Sat July 14th, 2012, 04:30 GMT 
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sanjuro wrote:
I don't know what underground even means anymore.

Me neither. And, please, let's leave Cliff Richard out of this.

sanjuro wrote:
... though I wonder whether I am the only one who preferred it in a way when he managed to stay under their radar in the pre-TOOM days?

You're not.


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PostPosted: Sat July 14th, 2012, 04:55 GMT 
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sanjuro wrote:

But I catch your drift - yes, Dylan has always existed separate to the mainstream and the tides of fashion. Thank goodness, though I wonder whether I am the only one who preferred it in a way when he managed to stay under their radar in the pre-TOOM days?


You must be young sanjuro. Bob Dylan hasn't been under the radar for decades.

I guess some people still want to believe that, while having ample fodder for their own not really underground longings. You want to really go underground? Some things there could strangle a man.


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PostPosted: Sat July 14th, 2012, 09:10 GMT 

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his live shows are definitely underground. Nothing mainstream at all about it. Imagine if a new artist came out and played wild weird shows like Bob does live?!! I like to call his live shows 'outsider' music.


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PostPosted: Sat July 14th, 2012, 09:37 GMT 

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No; definitely not ........ the only time you can hear him on the tube is when sound leaks out of someone's (overloud) ipod. Then you only know what it is if you are very familiar with the baseline.


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PostPosted: Sat July 14th, 2012, 11:58 GMT 
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Ain't Talkin' wrote:
sanjuro wrote:

But I catch your drift - yes, Dylan has always existed separate to the mainstream and the tides of fashion. Thank goodness, though I wonder whether I am the only one who preferred it in a way when he managed to stay under their radar in the pre-TOOM days?


You must be young sanjuro. Bob Dylan hasn't been under the radar for decades.

I guess some people still want to believe that, while having ample fodder for their own not really underground longings. You want to really go underground? Some things there could strangle a man.


I've been a fan for about 24 years, which isn't very long I know. There was definitely a change around to the time of his illness and TOOM. It used to be a relatively rare thing to see him in the media, whereas now his face as always stuck on the front of Uncut or Mojo or whatever it is.


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PostPosted: Sat July 14th, 2012, 19:26 GMT 
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sanjuro wrote:
Ain't Talkin' wrote:

I've been a fan for about 24 years, which isn't very long I know. There was definitely a change around to the time of his illness and TOOM. It used to be a relatively rare thing to see him in the media, whereas now his face as always stuck on the front of Uncut or Mojo or whatever it is.


I've been a fan for 24-25 years as well, :) since the late 1980's. I remember Bob being on the cover or often written about if Rolling Stone, high public interest in his doings with Tom Petty, the Wilbury's, ect. I don't think much has changed at all, except for the arrival of the internet.


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PostPosted: Sat July 14th, 2012, 21:05 GMT 
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I worked in a drugstore in the late 80's and used to read Rolling Stone during my breaks. There wasn't a single issue that didn't contain a mention of his name somewhere. That's hardly underground, although even in the 60's his record sales were not on par with his legend, so there's maybe something to be said for the idea. But not much.


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PostPosted: Sat July 14th, 2012, 21:19 GMT 
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smoke wrote:
I worked in a drugstore in the late 80's and used to read Rolling Stone during my breaks. There wasn't a single issue that didn't contain a mention of his name somewhere. That's hardly underground, although even in the 60's his record sales were not on par with his legend, so there's maybe something to be said for the idea. But not much.

And how many times has he been on the cover of Rolling Stone over the years? And how does that compare to other artists? Probably speaks for not-so-underground.


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PostPosted: Sun July 15th, 2012, 01:54 GMT 

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Everyone who's into music knows at least some of his work - when talk comes up of influential artists of the 60s, he's always mentioned in the same breath as the Beatles, Stones, Hendrix.

He's like Prince in that he has had a lot of commercial success in his prime, but only hardcore fans will have heard "World Gone Wrong" or "Rainbow Children" - these could be considered underground/uncommercial.

Were any fans here around when Bob went ultra-commercial in the mid-80s with songs like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2tIj4Jd_R0 I think that clip sums up why he went back to being (out of necessity) an 'alternative' or outsider artist, look at that hilariously awkward chemistry, and listen to how out of place he sounds. If that's what it's like when he tries to fit in to normal mainstream music, you can tell why the uninitiated don't like the music he makes naturally.


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PostPosted: Sun July 15th, 2012, 02:20 GMT 
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Still Go Barefoot wrote:
And how many times has he been on the cover of Rolling Stone over the years?


By digging them up on Google Images I count at least 14 covers with Dylan on them (one time paired with Tom Petty and another with Joan Baez.)


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