Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Bob Dylan at 70

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s Bob Dylan’s 70th birthday today. Happy birthday Bob! For once, Dylan is not touring (his next show is in Cork in June) so OTR hopes he gets to put his feet up, have a …

Tue, May 24, 2011, 10:17

   

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s Bob Dylan’s 70th birthday today. Happy birthday Bob! For once, Dylan is not touring (his next show is in Cork in June) so OTR hopes he gets to put his feet up, have a nice bottle of red wine and a big slice of cake.

When you take a step back and look at Dylan’s career, it can be quite daunting. Dylan nuts will argue that he is still producing great material, but I really don’t think “Modern Times” or “Together Through Life” can rival what he did in his hey-day in the Sixties and Seventies. There were some decent albums in the Eighties – I always liked “Infidels” and the Daniel Lanois-produced “Oh Mercy” – but it’s really those albums he produced from 1962 to 1978′s “Street Legal” which are the ones to be reckoned with.

In recent years, Dylan has concentrated on the road, bringing the show to the people again and again and again and again. In Ireland, Dylan is a regular visitor, playing here eight times in the 1990s and 12 times in the 2000s. Other heritage acts have also caught onto the fact that they can make good money by staying on the road but Dylan was the original of that species, though it’s unlikely that cash alone kept him in his bus. Those shows have been good, bad and occasionally downright ugly. But that’s the deal with Dylan – you pay your money, you take your chances.

Through it all, through the endless tours and patchy albums, Dylan continues to attract attention. Books about him still get published, documentaries get made, retrospectives are pitched. His influence now is probably stronger than it ever has been because there’s a whole new audience discovering those classic albums and getting drawn into worlds of Mister Jones, Siamese cats and the editors of famous etiquette books. The legend endures because the stuff of that legend is so darn good.

To mark the occasion, I’ll be playing a bunch of my favourite Dylan material on The Far Side tonight but, right now, over to you. Here’s what some other figures have to say about Dylan, but please let us know below what you think of the dude on the day when there’s 70 candles on his birthday cake.

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