Sunday, October 23, 2016
A Special Person
Song 326: This week, if you’ve never made his acquaintance, the playlist can introduce you to Mr. Tambourine Man by The Byrds, written by Bob Dylan. For a little over a year after the Beatles rocked my world, the British Invasion bands dominated the air waves, but then, in the spring of 1965, an American band came along with a huge hit that sounded every bit as good as all of those English spinners, and arguably even better than most of them. Not many of my friends had Byrds records, though, so I didn’t get to hear as much of the band in HS as I would have liked, but I remained interested in their music. I still remember walking into the local guitar store near the HS one day and scrutinizing a Byrds music book, though I didn’t have enough money to buy a copy, but I did try to memorize a few guitar chords. During the graduation week festivities in 1969, on the way back to town from a scheduled celebration at a nearby state park, the radio happened to play this cut, and I well remember how the 4-year-old golden oldie, which was ancient by the standards of that time, filled the window van with a magic sound that created an enduring, enchanted memory. A few years later, in my early 20s in the early ‘70s, after I had acquired all of the necessary Beatles, Dylan, Rolling Stones and other required LPs, I went through an enjoyable Byrds phase, getting acquainted with lesser-known tracks, but also relishing the privilege of having this piece of wizardry at my fingertips whenever I felt like hearing it. At some point during my HS years — possibly during the music book perusal — I had learned that this tune had been written by that same Dylan guy who had written the PP&M hit Blowin’ in the Wind and the S&G cut The Times They Are a-Changin’, and I would start noticing his name attached to other fine songs, though I wouldn’t actually hear Dylan’s voice until the fall of 1969 when I got to Northwestern U. On a side note, it seemed appropriate to follow up last week’s post about a track by my friend Patti Rothberg with a number written by Dylan, because Patti has gotten at least 1 or 2 reviews that favorably compare her work with Bob’s, and I definitely agree with that reviewer POV.