This year, Bob Dylan will be awarded the first Nobel Prize in Literature ever to go to a songwriter. Of course, this is all over the news, but here are a couple of articles from Rolling Stone and NPR.
After designing and teaching a course on his work for three semesters, my head is spinning, my mouth is grinning, and my eyes may or may not be tearing up as I continue to watch things unfold today. I hope that many teachers take the time over the next few weeks to explore Dylan’s legacy.
For now, as the stories continue to unfold, I thought I would share a few of my favorite resources.
The Official Bob Dylan Site I’ve watched this site grow and expand over the past few years. What I appreciate tremendously here is that they’ve provided the lyrics to almost every Bob Dylan song, as well as documenting where, when, and how many times a song has been performed. For too many popular artists, trying to find the lyrics to their songs can lead down paths to sketchy and perhaps spam-laden websites. The site also includes news, interviews, some streaming audio, and other useful links.
BobDylanTV YouTube Channel It’s unclear if this is the “official” YouTube site for Dylan, but it’s the best channel I’ve found. And unfortunately, as I found with teaching, videos for Dylan are particularly unstable as far as their availability on YouTube goes. I’ve found even more videos removed as of this morning, which is disappointing as I think this would be a great time for increased availability as many are drawn to explore his work given today’s news.
Rolling Stone magazine’s inclusion of archival material online is phenomenal. for example, this 1969 interview. They also have a number of “song list” style articles, which are great ways to explore his legacy and perhaps find some unfamiliar songs, for example, 100 Greatest Bob Dylan Songs.
Martin Scorsese’s “No Direction Home” is a masterpiece of storytelling. Framing Dylan’s story around his momentous move from acoustic singer-songwriter to electric rock-and-roller, the narrative radiates both backwards and forwards from that point, combining archival footage with contemporary interviews with Dylan and his colleagues. The film captures the simultaneous transparency and caginess, vulnerability and defensiveness that Dylan presents in his public persona. Bonus, the film will soon be released in an expanded edition with over two more hours of special features!
Dylan and protest/politics--deep breath--these are complicated issues and I hope that I can write a follow-up post with more resources and incorporate some of the archival footage available on YouTube. However, this article is an excellent survey, and would be a good jumping off point to discuss the issues in a more in-depth way.
Please listen to some Dylan songs today, and feel free to share your favorite songs and resources in the comments!
Joanna & Tim
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