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  • Ah, but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now!
    - Bod Dylan, “My Back Pages

    Talk about someone having an impact! Robert Zimmerman sure has managed to do just that in his 72 years – especially the past 52 of those. He showed up in a cold, snow-covered New York City winter at age 20, with nothing but gumption, determination, a long list of tall tales to tell, a nasal twang that many didn’t even consider “singing”, and, of course, a penchant for reinvention of himself. The rest, as they say, is history.

    If Bob Dylan were ever to go through a “What a Wonderful Life” episode, like Jimmy Stewart’s character in that movie did, can you even imagine what the world would be like as the angel takes him around to see the world without his ever having been here? Can you even imagine? What if the Beatles and Rolling Stones had never encountered this young, slightly older and wiser bard, right after they had broken into the musical mainstream? What if he had never taken the Newport Folk Festival by storm with his electrical backing band? What if the song “Like a Rolling Stone” had never been heard?

    I can tell you – most of the music we listen to today would have a much different sound, or at least, a much less relevant lyrical content.
  • Mr. Zimmerman inroduced a level of intelligence and relevance into the lyrics of rock, country, blues, and ultimately, every other form of music that has derived from them, that simply would never have happened without him. Maybe someone else would have done it – but would they have done it quite as audaciously? I highly doubt it!

    I finally got to see him perform live in this decade, last November 20th, making that five different decades in which I’ve seen him live – the ‘70’s, the ‘80’s (with the Grateful Dead!), the ’90’s, the 00’s, and the 10’s. I almost got to see him in the ‘60’s at the Syria Mosque in Pittsburgh with my brother Ken, but someone decided I was too young for a concert, then. That was 1966.
  • I wound up going to see the Four Seasons in the same venue a year later, 1967, for my first concert. I would say that I got the short end of that stick! Frankie Vallee could really hit those high notes, but he could never strike that chord inside the way Dylan did, from the first time I ever heard one of his songs (I think it was Positively 4th Street – still my favorite “F*** You” songs! It doesn’t get any better than this line – “I wish that for just one time, you could stand inside my shoes, and just for that one moment I could be you, Yes, I wish that for just one time, you could stand inside my shoes – then you’d know what a drag it is to see you!” That, my friend, is greatness, and I recognized it as such at age 9. It even applied to my world then!)
  • Happy Birthday, Robert Zimmerman, aka Bob Dylan. How does it feel? How does it fe-e-e-e-e-e-e-l-l-l-l-l? Like a rolling stone? It’s been a hell of a ride. Keep on truckin’, my friend.
    Once upon a time you dressed so fine, you threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn't you?
    People'd call, say, "Beware doll, you're bound to fall", you thought they were all a-kiddin' you!
    You used to laugh about everybody that was hangin' out
    Now you don't talk so loud - Now you don't seem so proud about having to be scrounging for your next meal.

    How does it feel?
    How does it feel?
    To be without a home - like a complete unknown - Like a rolling stone?

    You've gone to the finest school all right, Miss Lonely but you know you only used to get juiced in it!
    Nobody’s ever taught you how to live on the street, and now you're gonna have to get used to it!
    You said you'd never compromise with the mystery tramp, but know you realize
    He's not selling any alibis - as you stare into the vacuum of his eyes, and say, “Do you want to make a deal? “

    How does it feel?
    How does it feel?
    To be on your own, with no direction home, like a complete unknown - Like a rolling stone?

    Ya never turned around to see the frowns on the jugglers and the clowns when they all did tricks for you
    Never understood that it ain't no good, you shouldn't let other people get your kicks for you!
    You used to ride on the chrome horse with your diplomat who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat
    Ain't it hard when you discover that he really wasn't where it's at, after he took from you everything he could steal?

    How does it feel?
    How does it feel?
    To be on your own - with no direction home, like a complete unknown - Like a rolling stone?

    Princess on the steeple and all the pretty people they're all drinkin', thinkin' that they got it made
    Exchanging all kinds of precious gifts and things but you'd better lift your diamond ring, you'd better pawn it babe
    You used to be so amused at Napoleon in rags and the language that he used
    Go to him now, he calls you, you can't refuse, when you ain't got nothing, you got nothing to lose
    You're invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal!

    How does it feel?
    How does it feel?
    To be on your own - with no direction home - like a complete unknown
    Like a rolling stone?
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