The Impact of Zimmy

September 30, 2012
By , Katy, TX
The Impact of Zimmy
Bob Dylan’s voice is pretty much gone; David Bowie described it as being “like sand and glue”, but that does not define who he is. I don’t think he’s ever tried to be somebody else; that’s the key. You see so many people of all ages and gender try to become something they are not. Unlike most people, Bob Dylan is all about having your heart, eyes and feet pointed towards your vision and striving for it regardless. That rare and unusual attitude combined with throwing chance, caution and safety in the ever changing wind is what excites and inspires me to push society’s boundaries as well as my own.
As a child I never seemed to be able to create a connection to the modern “Pop music” that was taking the world by storm. I always felt that music from previous times such as the forties, fifties, sixties and seventies hit a better note and vibrated longer in my head. I loved flicking through my Grandparents vinyl collection and grew a strong liking to The Beatles, Elvis and other such Rock Icons fairly quickly but it wasn’t until I heard the 1963 “Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” album that my heart, eyes and feet were truly set into place. The lyrics in his songs have an almost magical essence to them, something I had never heard before and haven’t heard in another artist since: “He not busy being born is busy dying” (It’s Alright Ma, [I’m only Bleeding]). Writing such lyrics has to have some form of magic connected to it along with determination, of course. The way he writes is not how others write. He’s in his own artistic arena with people only trailing behind him, trying to copy his mystic, his style, his attitude.
In an interview in 1964, Bob Dylan, when asked why he wanted to sing and write songs replied, “I wanted just a song to sing, and there came a point where I couldn’t sing anything. I had to write what I wanted to sing because what I wanted to sing, nobody else was writing” (Bob Dylan, 1964). It seems that most humans are naturally inclined to follow the pact and are afraid to diverge from societies “norms” but to be honest, why would you want to? In past history individuals who have admitted to or been found to be different have been ridiculed, teased and at the worst, discriminated. So, initially, I thought following others was the obvious thing to. I thought being a drone was the obvious thing to do. Whilst I was in Primary School in England, I remember being called a snob by my peers for listening to and singing old Jazz tunes. After trying to ignore the persistent name calling, I eventually gave up and pretended to like popular artists such as Britney Spears, whilst in public. However, after discovering Bob Dylan I realized following others was not the obvious thing to do but the easiest and less troublesome thing to do - "People seldom do what they believe in. They do what is convenient, then repent" (Bob Dylan). A few years after the name calling incident, by which time I was fully immersed in Bob Dylan, I felt that I could express myself again. I didn’t feel afraid to show people that I was different than they were. Bob Dylan obviously didn’t want to just float through life and neither do I. I want to have structure and movement and not be confined to what is seen as correct and normal. Moreover, in the eighties, Dylan reinvented himself but not like his reinvention of the sixties from folk to rock, but to gospel which caused his reputation to fall and his career to go downhill. Instead of panicking and converting back to his old style of music like so many others would have, he did what he thought was best for himself and not for his fan base or society’s view of him. This is a prime example of how he, again, pushes himself to reach his goal no matter what external views are stapled to his chest by society and a prime example of how I wish to hold myself in society.
I too, hope to one day climb on every rung and succeed in my journey through the heat no matter the how crooked or lonesome my highway may be. My journey may not be in music or in poetry, like Bob Dylan’s but whatever road I choose to walk down I plan to face it with determination, perseverance and vision. There are so many people in this world who don’t have a road to walk on and I feel that if I don’t lead my own life and strive for my own goals and visions then the road that I have been generously given will have been for nothing.
Bob Dylan has given hope and spirit back to people who thought theirs was dead. He has inspired countless amounts of artists and has made those of us who have met him (a day I will never forget!) come to appreciate him more. I admire him, I respect him and I am honoured to have this moment to express my deep appreciation for who and what he is.





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