Dylan on PBS

"I didn't go to classes. I just didn't feel like it."
- Bob Dylan reminiscing on his years at the University of Minnesota.

See if you can catch the second half of Martin Scorsese's 4-hour biopic: Bob Dylan: No Direction Home on PBS. The first half was the 'folk' Dylan, his genesis and his influences. It is amazing how Dylan connects so many worlds - the Beats, folk singers, Civil rights, rock 'n roll; in my opinion - the most influential musician of the 20th century.

The documentary like its title is generally without direction as it goes back and forth in no particular order with the interviews, songs sung by Dylan, songs sung by people who influenced him (Odetta, Pete Seeger, the Clancy brothers, and of course, Woody Guthrie) and 60s news footage. The rare concert/tour footage and interviews with people (some dead) more than makes up for the lack of a clear narrative. In the movie you will see the rare video footage of his London tour where a heckler called him 'Judas' for betraying folk music and Dylan just cranking up the volume. Among others, Allen Ginsberg and Joan Baez reminisce on their times with Bob Dylan, the 60s and the Greenwich village scene. It was funny to hear an old friend, Nelson narrate the story of how Dylan stole 25 records from his house and then disappeared.

The second half will look at the 'electric' Dylan and the near fatal crash in 1966. Though protest movements have often appropriated his songs, and even Dylan at times, he says with much humility, "Just because you write about people who are fighting injustice it does not make you a protest singer." . Dylan explains on the film how Liam Clancy of the Clancy Brothers would sit him down in Greenwich Village, require him to drink 30 pints of Guinness, and then say to him,
"Bob - no malice, no fear, no envy." . I also think that's good advice for us all.

3 comments:

Ashutosh said...

Interesting. I did not know Rolling Stones magazine has rated 'Like a rolling stone' as number one on its list of the 500 greatest songs ever.

Hirak said...

Coincidence? huh?

See:
http://hirak.blogspot.com/2004/12/rolling-stone-top-500-songs.html

Sinfully Pinstripe said...

Hey that calculation bit was nice. And I laughed hard at "Listen to all the 500 songs, improve your RSQ and waste more time at work ".

And Like a rolling stone is spectacular. The song means a lot to me, coming as it did into my life at a weird moment. My fav Bob is, but, rainy day women 12 and 35. That song rips one apart from inside. And not just because he says "everybody must get stoned" ;)

Would love to watch the biopic.

BTW, Like a rolling stone was also chosen as the most important of 100 music, movie and television moments that have changed the world.