Bob Dylan – Nobel Lecture

Pyschodelic Music

Once I was discussing music with someone and they said something about how late in life they were before they understood that there was more to a song than just the words.  I laughed and said that it was even later in life that I realize that words in songs had any meaning beyond how they sounded when sung.  In my world view, the voice was just another instrument that was very flexible in the sounds it could produce, a kind of organic synthesizer.

Funny thing, though, as soon as I began to actually pay attention to meaning, Bob Dylan quickly became one of my favorites.  Doubly funny, is that for some of his songs, it is the immediate imagery more than the actual meaning that jumps out.  Close your eyes and listen to just about anything on “Highway 61 Revisited” and let your imagination run wild.  Do you see it?  At times it is back to my original thought of the sound of his voice, the individual words, creating its own meaning beyond what the words taken together mean.

There are a few odd things about this singer/songwriter.  The 1960s are known for its protest songs, its songs full of meaning, and Bob began it.  Sure, other folk singers sang important messages long before he took the stage, but he resonated with a generation more than any other artist.

And then there is his strange imagery, obscure symbolism, deep metaphors and the other poetic tools he used, particularly in some of his music from the mid-60s after he went electric.  I can think of no other poet/song writer who allows me to see his subject matter so clearly.

The 20th century saw some great songwriters, from Gershwin and Cole Porter, to Lennon and McCartney and on up to Curt Cobain.  These people touched lives of many generations, and yet I feel few had the lyrical impact of Dylan.  His words stand out.

I will not argue if he should have won the Nobel Prize for Literature.  I’ll leave that for others.  But I will say that his long-awaited Nobel Lecture was worth the wait.  Have you listened to or read it yet?  No?  Check it out: “Bob Dylan – Nobel Lecture”. Nobel Media AB 2014. Web. 7 Jun 2017. <>


9 thoughts on “Bob Dylan – Nobel Lecture

  1. Pingback: Bob Dylan Post Revisited (AKA – Plagiarism Day Man #1 & 2) | Trent's World (the Blog)

  2. Rowena

    Thanks so much for sharing this, Trent. Now, I’m going to head off and read his songs…and, of course, listen to them.
    I’ve been meaning to re-read the Odyssey so I’d better get on with it and add Moby Dick to the pile as well.
    xx Rowena

    Liked by 1 person

    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Moby Dick is an odd book and not the easiest to read – it changes tone or temperament several times as it goes along. The Odyssey is always one of my favorites. I hate to admit it, but I never read All Quiet on the Western Front. I have listened to a lot of Bob Dylan recently, though….

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Rowena

        I read All Quiet on the Western Front awhile ago and it could be due for another go. Well, given my reading pile, it might just be a fleeting visit. I might get Moby Dick out of the local library. See how it goes. Thanks for the tip.
        Actually made it outside in the sun today and went for a walk around the beach. It was beautiful.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. trentpmcd Post author

          The weather here has improved too. I saw your post from the beach.

          I really liked Moby Dick, but I haven’t met anyone else who did (except Bob, and I haven’t really met him, I’ve only seen him from about 20 rows back…). I guess I’m just strange ;)

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: If We Were Having Coffee on the 10th of June! | Trent's World (the Blog)

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