1975. I ask my dad if we can watch the Bob Dylan concert on TV.
“Who’s Bob Dylan?” he wants to know.
Then he sees for himself. Dylan singing Tangled Up in Blue. My father loves Frank Sinatra; Dylan doesn’t sound anything like Frank Sinatra And his feather earring, eye shadow, and fur coat don’t help things.
“Change the channel,” he says.
That hurt. At that point I really didn’t know all that much about Bob Dylan myself. But I knew he represented something new and strange and important. He wasn’t that much younger than my father, but his was a different world — the world I was entering. A post-‘60s, post-Watergate world. A poet’s world, an artist’s world. A world larger than crew cuts, insurance, and Schenectady, NY.
From my father’s perspective, Dylan’s was a scary world. A world that could gobble up a Good Boy like me faster than Jack Flash. I understand that better now.
Still, when I was sixteen, I wanted my father to understand something important about me. I was more than the clean-cut kid who always brought home straight “A”s and stayed out of trouble. I wanted him to see the rebel in me. To honor that rebel. I wanted to feel like I could look like Bob Dylan and write poetry like Bob Dylan and sing like Bob Dylan — and he would still love me. Maybe love me even more because I was bold enough to be so bold. So creative.
Impossible, I know. But that’s what I wanted. Twenty years earlier, I bet Dylan had wanted the same thing from his father.
I get up slowly and walk to the big Zenith in our family room. The camera is tight on Dylan’s face, his mouth sliding back and forth across a harmonica, releasing notes so high and clear and free they may never land. I click the dial to something safer — “Hawaii Five-0,” maybe — then walk back and sit down on the couch without looking at my father in his leather chair. As far as I’m concerned, Dylan’s still on the TV, Dylan’s still singing, and now I’m singing too:
We’ll meet again some day
on the avenue
Tangled up in blue …
Source: 30dB.com – Bob Dylan
“Social’s a big Dylan fan where he’s pulling 81% positives. Yes, much of that is driven by his recent Nobel prize but he was pulling in the 70% positive range even before the award. And the album that gets the highest positives? The one that put him on the map – Highway 61 Revisited.” – Howard K. 30dB
Photo: Getty Images