Bob Dylan changed songwriting; opened it to kaleidoscopic new possibilities. There is no "Sgt. Pepper" without Dylan’s influence. 1963’s "Freewheeling" has two of my favorites: "Girl from the North Country" and "Don’t Think Twice," and perhaps the first ‘breakthrough’: "A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall."
"I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard"
1964 brings the exquisite "Boots of Spanish Leather," the stunning "Chimes of Freedom," the cantankerous "It Ain’t Me Babe," and the anthemic "Times They Are A-Changing." But the REVOLUTION is Side Two of 1965’s "Bringing It All Back Home." An achievement for the ages.
"And I try to harmonize with songs
The lonesome sparrow sings
There are no kings inside the Gates of Eden"
"Of war and peace the truth just twists
Its curfew gull just glides"
"The motorcycle black madonna
Two-wheeled gypsy queen"
"The foreign sun, it squints upon
A bed that is never mine"
I continue to stand in awe of "Gates of Eden."
But the song that remains an enigma–shining like an obsidian monolith of genius–the ineffable marriage of wordplay, imagery, sound is…
of course, you guessed it, "It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)."
"Darkness at the break of noon
Shadows even the silver spoon
The handmade blade, the child’s balloon
Eclipses both the sun and moon
To understand you know too soon
There is no sense in trying."
After this breakthrough of genius on Side Two of "Bringing It All Back Home," he tucks you in with the brilliant coda, "It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue."
"Yonder stands your orphan with his gun
Crying like a fire in the sun"
"All your seasick sailors, they are rowing home
All your reindeer armies, are all going home
The lover who just walked out your door
Has taken all his blankets from the floor
The carpet, too, is moving under you
And it’s all over now, Baby Blue"
Which is all to say, Happy Birthday, Bob Dylan, and thanks.