Bob Dylan

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pljms
Posts: 797
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2004 8:43 am
Location: London

Bob Dylan

Post by pljms »

In Bob Dylan's recently published book, The Philosophy of Modern Song, the Nobel Prize Winner In Literature wrote this about Elvis Costello: "When you're writing songs with Burt Bacharach, you obviously don't give a fuck what people think." While I'm sure privately Elvis Costello would have been surprised if not a little dismayed by this obvious slighting of his friend and occasional writing partner, I'm not expecting any public pronouncements to that effect anytime soon. I haven't read this book and only became aware of the offending passage courtesy of a review by Bob Stanley in The Guardian, who quoted it as an apparently rare example in the book of Dylan being 'snobbish'. I can think of a stronger and more offensive word than that.
Paul

Blair N. Cummings
Posts: 1106
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2004 4:14 pm

Re: Bob Dylan

Post by Blair N. Cummings »

One of the more enduring mysteries of popular culture (to me, anyway) is why people continue to lend any sort of credibility at all to this foul mediocrity. I first posted the following many years ago and again when "Dylan" was awarded the Nobel Prize. I still wouldn`t change a word:

Bob "Dylan`s" fame rests on the early folk-ish and "folk-rock" material. Most of it is speed- or acid-generated logorrhea and, therefore, consists of hit-or-miss imagery. Since he scrawled reams of this stuff, most of it was incomprehensible which led too many who should have known better to assume that he was writing over their heads which (of course!) made him a poet. Those early `6os albums were embraced by the student left as anthemic endorsements of the various civil rights movements of the time. In fact, "Dylan" never (to my knowledge) had any serious interest in or involvement with any of these groups or struggles. His turn to these themes was chiefly the result of his relationship with Suze Rotolo (sp?) whose parents were supporters of progressive causes. He wanted to ingratiate himself with her and them and wrote his early songs under their influence. When that affair ended, so did his interest in political or "protest" songs.
His crackpot fling with fundamentalist Christianity also saw him inveighing against space exploration and "Daughters of Satan" (Women, to you and me).
I really don`t want to go on. He`s a clumsy scribbler of doggerel and a lazy bullshit artist. If you like him, enjoy him.

This doesn`t address his newfound role as music analyst but I`ve read a few of these entries and was instantly reminded of Nabokov`s dismissal of Faulkner for his "corn-cobby" affectations. Who could read more than a page of this thing without heaving it across the room? :D

blueonblue
Posts: 1489
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2006 3:22 am

Re: Bob Dylan

Post by blueonblue »

Dylan's book might come in handy as a suitable door-stop.

'blue'

carmel62
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jun 14, 2020 10:04 am

Re: Bob Dylan

Post by carmel62 »

This is from splicetoday: "His (Dylan's) fairly inscrutable examination of Elvis Costello’s 1978 “Pump It Up,” is at first a critical look—“The song has a lot of defects, but it knows how to conceal them all”—but then considering Costello’s body of work, compliments him. “When you are writing songs with Burt Bacharach, you obviously don’t give fuck what people think.” It could be read as a compliment.

carmel62
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jun 14, 2020 10:04 am

Re: Bob Dylan

Post by carmel62 »

After all Dylan himself wrote a song with Carol Bager Sayer. He obviously didn't give a fuck to what people thought at the time :lol:

Blair N. Cummings
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Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2004 4:14 pm

Re: Bob Dylan

Post by Blair N. Cummings »

It must be another example of the ineffable genius of Bobby Zimmerman that enables him to detect in a song all the flaws that he also concedes have been successfully concealed.

Sara D
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Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2008 4:32 am

Re: Bob Dylan

Post by Sara D »

"When you're writing songs with Burt Bacharach, you obviously don't give a fuck what people think". Now which Burt Bacharach do you think Bob Dylan was referring to in that statement? The one with a long-standing reputation as one of the greatest popular music composers of the twentieth century, or the one that was invented by the rock music press in the 1990s, that is the purveyor of lightweight and eminently disposable easy listening? It's pretty obvious, isn't it? While the journalist Bob Stanley may regard Dylan's reference to Bacharach as merely snobbish, I'd say that it was a knowingly and calculatingly disrespectful cheap shot.

carmel62
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jun 14, 2020 10:04 am

Re: Bob Dylan

Post by carmel62 »

Here's the complete extract: “From here” (the song 'Pump it up') “he” (Costello) “went on to play chamber music, write songs with Burt Bacharach, do country records, cover records, soul records, ballet and orchestral music. When you're writing songs with Burt Bacharach, you obviously don't give a fuck”. I think Dylan meant that Costello, after his “masterpiece” :lol: “Pump it up”, started writing all different kinds of music, not giving “a fuck” about rock. Had Dylan meant that Bacharach music is just commercial muzak, following the rock stigma against Bacharach's sophisticated pop (as Jimmy Page labeled it) and, in addition, using “Pump it up” as a yardstick, he would have been be a fool, which he isn't.
Last edited by carmel62 on Tue Nov 22, 2022 4:54 am, edited 2 times in total.

Martin Johnson
Posts: 462
Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2010 7:41 am

Re: Bob Dylan

Post by Martin Johnson »

Sara D wrote:
Mon Nov 21, 2022 1:15 am
"When you're writing songs with Burt Bacharach, you obviously don't give a fuck what people think". Now which Burt Bacharach do you think Bob Dylan was referring to in that statement? The one with a long-standing reputation as one of the greatest popular music composers of the twentieth century, or the one that was invented by the rock music press in the 1990s, that is the purveyor of lightweight and eminently disposable easy listening? It's pretty obvious, isn't it? While the journalist Bob Stanley may regard Dylan's reference to Bacharach as merely snobbish, I'd say that it was a knowingly and calculatingly disrespectful cheap shot.
Sara, I was going to comment on this topic but I think you've summed it all up perfectly.

geoff85
Posts: 363
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 11:55 pm

Re: Bob Dylan

Post by geoff85 »

I may be deemed a heretic fit for the gallows or guillotine after this...but there is a Bob Dylan in the subway or underpass in every city. Half philospher half musician, broke and fighting to make rent.He has created spoken word of the highest order accompanied by a guitar however a catalogue of Burt Bacharach's calibre will likely never be duplicated or even approached. Burt's work has made artists into luminaries. There is a timeless sophistication to his songs even if they are deemed easy listening by some. Bob here sounds like an old man shooting the breeze or should I say blowing wind.

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