Next week, Bob Dylan turns 70 years old.
When Bob turned 50, I bought a bottle of champagne and watched Don’t Look Back
(after calling the Anchorage video store days ahead to put a hold on a copy only to find
along with some commentary from various singer/songwriters.
It’s an interesting list, in part because the enormity of Dylan’s song catalog boggles the mind.
How to choose?
My mother texted me the other night (yes, she’s 81 and she texts!)
to tell me she was reading Rolling Stone and to ask which was my favorite song.
I said I couldn’t choose just one but that "Hurricane" was the song that caught my attention
when I was 13 years-old, and that I bought the 45 and then wrote out all the lyrics.
The song’s so long it was both Side A and Side B, and somewhere around here I have
those sheets of notebook paper with the hand-printed lyrics.
It was a long process and I remember sitting next to my record player,
lifting the needle to replay parts so I’d catch every word.
"Pistol shots ring out in a barroom night . . ."
Years later when I lived in North Hollywood in a funky old house converted to a triplex,
my artist-downstairs-neighbor was working on a collage and invited me to make one, too.
I went up to my tiny apartment and gathered the Dylan scrapbook I’d created when younger.
Over the years, this collage has hung on various walls in the places I’ve lived,
and more than one person has looked at it and asked, "Who’s the big black dude?"