Bob Dylan and Popular Music

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“the man who did to popular music what Einstein did to physics,” while initially sounding like hyperbole, really isn’t (Gates, cited in Detmarr, 2009,p.20) Why is Highway 61 revisited such a culturally important album? The year is1965, 8 years into the Vietnam war and 2 years in the shadow of a presidential assassination, marked the inception of an artistic vision, cut to Vinyl. Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 revisited is a testament to the state of America in the 1960s, using poetic devices, and engaging rock and roll music to capture the imagination of a breadth of people, unwittingly, it would seem, brought change to the minds of Americans. Opening their eyes to what was happening and inflicting a sense of new found justice in their hearts, Living vicariously through Bob Dylan’s intense imagery, due to the events unfolding in that period, People latched on to Dylan’s lyrics and imposed their own expression and feeling onto his songs. Bob Dylan was considered one of the greatest influences on popular culture of all time, and though influential, Bob Dylan’s rise to idol status in popular culture was more brought about by historical factors, his life was affected by many historical events including, The Cuban missile crisis, the Vietnam War, the Kennedy assassination and the civil rights movement, to name a few. His songs became known as protest songs, despite Bob Dylan’s apparent lack of understanding for the meanings the public attached to his writing. In an interview with time magazine, Dylan said “I haven’t got anything to say about the things I write, I just write em’, I don’t have anything to say about them, I don’t write them for any reason, theres no great “message”, if you wanna tell other people that then go ahead and tell... ... middle of paper ... ...odernizing physics the way Dylan modernized the folk tradition.(Polizzotti,M,2009), It could also be argued that Dylan is stating in a cynical way that Einstein helped to achieve Atomic Bomb which caused the “duck and cover” propaganda that saturated his childhood, from the early 1950s US schools were teaching youths during the cold war that the threat of nuclear attack could be imminent, and as ‘protection’ against this if there was no time to evacuate, to look for any close structure to get underneath and ‘duck and cover’ to save themselves. In the old televised announcement from Civil Defence they state that we have fires and automobile accidents, but that we have safety precautions in place which allow us to be ready, and goes on to explain the duck and cover procedure. This kind of media was inescapable in the 1950s and directly had an impact on young Dylan.
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