“You Gotta Serve Somebody”, Bob Dylan (1979)
What can be said about Bob Dylan that has not already been said?
Anyway, quick blog today because I missed his birthday yesterday when he turned 70 years old.
I do remember the song “Blowin’ In the Wind” when I was kid. They kind of played the crap out of it at one point on the radio. There seemed to be a fixation in the sixties with the wind: Wild is the Wind, Windy, Four Strong Winds, They Call the Wind Maria, and Summer Wind. This continued into the seventies with: Summer Breeze, Ride Like the Wind, Against the Wind, etc.
Anyway, the genius of Bob’s Wind song was that wind does mean change sometimes, and he did follow this up with ‘The Times They are a-Changin’. “Blowin’” written in like 10 minutes, he said was basically about the fact the people see what they want to see – metaphorically, a paper blowin’ in the wind that has the ‘answer’ is only read by some people and then it blows away again. Some don’t even bother to pick it up. This is about conscience and knowing what is right or wrong. We know but sometimes, some of us choose to act differently. It is convenient or safe or something...anyway..
My story about Bob Dylan is that later in his career, arguably Dylan was not the best singer anymore. I think part of it was that he felt that content and meaning was more important than style and how could he compete with the ‘kids’ anyway? So why bother.
I was listening to the radio at my friend Marvin’s house. Usually we listened to pretty much pop stuff and this weird song came on the radio. It was Bob Dylan’s “You Gotta Serve Somebody”. Marvin looked at me and said “I hate that song. He sounds like crap” or something to that effect.
I bought a lot of 45s at the time and it was approaching Marvin’s birthday, so as a little ‘extra’, I decided to buy Marvin the record. I took it over to his place and said “Hey, I bought you a new record man; let me play it for you.” I would not let him see it, but instead slapped it on the turntable and set the needle down.
Well, I remember the look of astonishment/horror on his face when he heard the first few lines of the song. I thought it was funny, but Marvin was pissed at me for some time. “That’s my birthday present?” he squawked.