Sunday, November 18, 2018

Why Andy’s wrong about Dylan

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Posted by admin On November - 24 - 2008

~Z.T.~ In Andy’s analysis of Rolling Stones’ top singers of all-time, he tore into them for putting Dylan #7. It’s an easy mistake to make. Ragging on Dylan. Andy called them idiots. I mean, I get it. His shows are more miss than hit these days. His voice has been shot for as long as we’ve been conscious music listeners. I’ve seen Dylan twice and left once. Even in his prime, Dylan’s voice wasn’t like any of the voices on this list, but that’s what makes him so special. And it’s not just that he’s the voice of a generation.

It’s that raw, aching humanity in his voice. It’s the phrasing. The way he plays with emphasis. Inflection. Sitting on my bed, the needle of my record player slides back to the beginning of side A of Highway 61 Revisited. “Ballad of a Thin Man” goes back to “Like a Rolling Stone” and I’m “juiced in it.”



Something is happening here, but you don’t know what it is, do you, Mr. Shore. As he says in the car, don’t boo him anymore.

I never thought I’d support anything Bono said until I got into a girl that works for him, but regardless, as he says in his write-up, “To understand Bob Dylan’s impact as a singer, you have to imagine a world without Tom Waits, Bruce Springsteen, Eddie Vedder, Kurt Cobain, Lucinda Williams or any other vocalist with a cracked voice, dirt-bowl yelp or bluesy street howl.” It’s easy to look at it now and say Dylan can’t sing and his voice was always strained, but that would be ignoring the world he opened up for rock singers.



The word “deal” is one syllable. Not when Bobby sings. When he pushes “Do you want to. Make a dee-ee-eee- uhhhl” through his lips, it’s four loaded syllables. How does it feel? Personally, it gives me shivers.

It’s not the voice, it’s what you do with it. I know that’s usually a defense for a small penis, but there’s a reason Springsteen had Dylan third on his list, sandwiched between Sam Cooke and John Lennon. It’s the reason Mariah Carey and Celine Dion aren’t anywhere on this list. It’s not best voice. It’s best singer. And though I agree that a ton of people have better voices, not many were better singers.

4 Responses

  1. Matt Said,

    Mariah Carey is on the list…
    And I still agree with Andy.

    Posted on November 25th, 2008 at 10:06 am

  2. Jonathan Walton Said,

    Teibs, your post was perfect. It proved your worth as a music journalist. Well done and well said, I couldn’t have agreed with you more, and you pointed out things I had never thought about Dylan, a man whos work I have been obsessed with for years. Thanks.
    A good voice occurs naturally, but the ability to play your voice like an instrument, with technical skill and stirring emotion, shows true mastery of the art.

    Posted on November 25th, 2008 at 10:48 am

  3. Shore Said,

    If I were to put a singer in the top-10 who used their voice as an instrument, I still wouldn’t go with Dylan. I would go with one of the jazz singers like Ella Fitzgerald.
    Really, I’m just glad Zack’s putting so much thought and effort into his posts these days and proving his journalistic worth.

    Posted on November 25th, 2008 at 11:00 am

  4. Festival Crashers » Blog Archive » Festival Crashers 1,000th Post Said,

    […] Why Andy’s wrong about Dylan I had to defend Bobby D, even if he sounds like he swallowed an animal. […]

    Posted on March 10th, 2010 at 11:12 am

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