Dylan turns 65

Random thoughts about the man once known as Zimmerman, who is eligible for Social Security today:

There was this poster in the library in my school, some op art thing with the word Dylan on it. I didn’t know how to say the word; I thought it was Die-Lan, rather than Dill-an. I soon learned.

The first Dylan song I owned: I Want You on my now-stolen “Best of 66” Columbia Records compilation.

Well, that was my first Dylan-as-artist song, for I had a number of Dylan songs by Peter, Paul and Mary, the Byrds and Pete Seeger.

The first Dylan album I bought was Nashville Skyline. Or maybe John Wesley Harding.

Someone bought me Dylan’s book Tarantula. I’m sure I still have it somewhere, but I doubt I’ve ever read it all the way through.

I worked in a dreadful summer camp when I was 17, where they constantly ripped off their workers. One of my colleagues wrote this song, written to the tune of “Maggie’s Farm” (name changed to protect the guilty). There were several verses, which he typed and mimeographed. Wish I could find my copy. One verse:
I ain’t gonna work at J.L.’s camp no more (X2)
J.L.’s always comin’ ’round and say “Go mow the grass”
He can take that lawn mower and stick it up his ***
There’s room for that and plenty more.
No, I ain’t gonna work at J.L.’s camp no more.

One of the first albums I bought as a gift was Self Portrait, which my girlfriend at the time really wanted. After she played it, I was not sure that she was happy that she had asked for it. It has, among other things, a nasty version of The Boxer, which I’m sure was in retaliation for the 1966 Simon and Garfunkel song A Simple Desultory Philippic, especially the “I’ve lost my harmonica, Albert” bit. The lyrics of this tune is here.

I didn’t understand My Back Pages, even when I was 18. I thought it was just some poetic mishmash. I thought I knew everything I needed to know in life. But by the time I was 23, I understood it all too well: “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.”

Most of my Dylan albums are from the 1970s.

I’ve never seen him play live. I’ve had the opportunity, but was concerned at the time about his then uneven performance track record. My loss.

I was weirded out by the Victoria’s Secret ad, too.

I had pre-ordered the Love and Theft album from the local independent music store. The release date was September 11, 2001. Inexplicably, I actually went and picked up the album that afternoon. But I didn’t play it for at least a week. When I finally DID listen to it, it really made me smile – especially the string of a half dozen songs starting with “Summer Days” – perhaps for the first time all week.
The famous (or infamous, depending on your view of these things) moment during the 1988 Lloyd Bentsen/Dan Quayle debate. (I happened to love it.)

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