Bob Dylan turns 70 this coming May 24th, so in celebration, Rolling Stone magazine did an article in honor of their May cover guy entitled, “The 70 Greatest Dylan Songs.”
Now, I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a super diehard Bob Dylan fan. I don’t know every song, don’t know every lyric. All I know really are the 11 or so tracks on the album my dad had on cassette that got jammed inside our old 1986 Honda accord. (I think it got melted in there, actually.)
But just because of that reason Bob Dylan ignites serious nostalgia, which is why I love it so much. When I hear it, I instantly think of my dad. (I mainly think of my dad’s versions of all his songs.)
And my absolute favorite song made the list at number 8, “Mr. Tambourine Man.” It’s the one my dad would always sing to us. It’s the one my sisters and I loved, the only thing that would cause us to wake from our typical Wilroy child long-car-ride coma. (After Simon and Garfunkel’s, “Cecilia.”)
Even now that I’m older, and I’m able to understand and appreciate it on another level, I find that it just gets better and better. In the article, David Crosby put it perfectly:
“‘To dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free’ – that was the line that got me. At the time of ‘Mr. Tambourine Man,’ I think he was finding himself as a poet. He was learning to be beautiful.”
The lyrics are poetry. His songs mean something. They come from a source of heartbreak, of passion. And it’s reaffirmed every time I hear his songs. You can’t help but think what a brilliant song writer he is.
But the thought, for me, comes secondary to that of my dad.
Hot summer days with windows rolled down (never A/C), hour-long drives to soccer tournaments, the smell of cinnamon raisin bagels and bananas, and Bob Dylan on loop. I’d give anything to go back to those days.
But since I can’t, “Mr. Tambourine Man” is the closest I’ll get.