Last week, we took a poll in one our bingo chat rooms at GameVillage.com, if it was a right decision having singer-writer Bob Dylan awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature.
A polarizing selection — while some the players support the selection, while few say that he didn’t deserve the prestigious award— the Swedish Academy defended Dylan’s election “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”
Most of Dylan’s albums revolves around themes such as social conditions of man, religion, politics and love.Whether you believe Dylan deserved the Nobel Prize or not, it is undeniable that his music and lyrics have forever impacted artistry and society. Best-known for his protest albums, largely written during the ’60s, and their scathing, venomous lyrics. Here, we examine 5 lines from his songs where Dylan really made a mark and we all need to hear them.
- Masters of War:
Released on 1963, every lyric of this song is seeping with anger, and worthy of recognition on this list, it is the eighth and final verse that sees him at his most cold-blooded. After calling out those who willingly send others to the front lines while hiding in their mansions, he wishes death upon the “masters of war,” an unprecedented statement for Dylan.
Dylan’s one of the most famous tracks, “Hurricane” details the wrongful 20 years conviction and imprisonment of former middleweight boxer Robin “Hurricane” Carter and John Artis in a triple murder case. Released in 1975, Dylan called out the justice system for what it was a racist game.
- Maggie’s Farm:
“Maggie’s Farm” represents racism, state oppression, the music industry’s capitalist exploitation — it is, at its core, a protest of a protest. Calling out the 1960s folk protest movement, Dylan acknowledges that he will no longer play their “slave.”
Dylan was booed off of the stage while he was performing this song at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival.
- Idiot Wind:
Possibly the most brutal lines ever conjured in a failing relationship. While Dylan’s son Jacob has stated about the album in interviews that “the songs are my parents talking” , Dylan dismisses the fact that. No matter the intent of the lyric, you probably shouldn’t say these words to anyone unless you never intend to speak to them again.
- My Back Pages:
Finally, there’s only one person left for Dylan to turn his gaze upon: himself. Coming from 1964’s Another Side of Bob Dylan, “My Back Pages” stylistically hearkens back to his earlier folk protest songs, but this time around, the political preacher at fault is the one he sees in the mirror. Dylan has concluded that, in his youthful attacks, he has fallen into the same bitter, close-minded system. However, he is indeed working on righting his past wrongs.
Dylan songs defied existing pop music conventions and appealed to the burgeoning counterculture. Dylan has amplified and personalized musical genres. His recording career, spanning more than 50 years, has explored the traditions in American song—from folk, blues, and country to gospel, rock and roll, and rockabilly to English, Scottish, and Irish folk music.