Sunday, 3 November 2013

Writing - What makes success? Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan

I can remember back in the 1960's that if you were a fan of Dylan you could be described as 'weird'. His protest songs, off key style, harmonica and physical appearance could be said to mitigate against his possible success. However, there's no doubt that he was immensely successful. The fact is it's the words, or at least I believe it is. Below are a couple of verses from 'Blowin in the Wind'

Yes, how many years can a mountain exist
Before it's washed to the sea ?
Yes, how many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free ?
Yes, how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn't see ?
The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

Yes, how many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky ?
Yes, how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry ?
Yes, how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died ?
The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind. 

There are so many poet/songwriters that have  used similar 'protest' words and things don't change! The above words and the ones below are from 'Freewheelin' Bob Dylan which was released in the 1960's but 'Masters of War' has so many parts that are relative to the situation we find ourselves in today. Although this is an anti-war protest song there are some relevant verses for today's politicians, rulers and leaders.

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I'm young
You might say I'm unlearned
But there's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you
Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes it's toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul

The fact is things haven't changed that much in the last 50 years. The rich are still controlling our world, they are still messing on the little people and they still don't care.


The point of this is that we need to realise how powerful our words are even if they are not read by everyone. It is still important to express feelings from what I consider to be grassroots level. In the fullness of time what I write may influence no one but if I don't write the words there is even less chance of broadcasting a message. I dare say that relatively few people in the 21st century, are aware of the nature of Dylan's words, but that doesn't make them any less powerful.
Keep the faith my friends and write what you feel about the world and your place in it. Go against trends, speak out for minorities and use your words like a sword to cut through the daily rubbish that we are fed to keep us in our place!

'I know my place' sketch 1966

God Bless