Nice 80th birthday tribute to Bob Dylan on Morning Joe, and Esquire columnist Charles Pierce talked about his music.
"He did Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde On Blonde, an incredible burst of productivity. Fueled by God knows what, of course. I always kid people and call that 'The Great Trilogy.' But that was the first mold that he broke," Pierce said.
"That was the first time -- he changed popular music so radically. Bruce Springsteen said what Elvis did for your body, Dylan does for your mind. He kicked in the door with those three records, in terms of what you can do as a songwriter and I think the best witness to that is that he affected both John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and drove the Beatles to develop their own voices.
"It's impossible to overstate the influence he had on the Beatles, just like the Beatles had on all popular music. Then he has the motorcycle accident and goes away and then he comes back with Nashville Skyline, a completely different singing voice and a real gentler side. Then he tends to go away.
"In 1974 he unleashes one of the best albums I maybe ever heard. When you listen to the songs, except for Lily, Rosemary and The Jack of Hearts, with Buckets Of Rain, it's an incredibly painful record. Tangled Up In Blue, he said 'It took me six months to write that song and three years to live it."
I agree with Pierce: Blood on the Tracks might be the best album ever. He documents the unwinding of his first marriage in this painfully vulnerable work. But he made it through to the other side.
Happy birthday, Bob!