Bob Dylan – The Beginning the Middle and the End or The Barometer of our Times?

While I had friends whose older brothers introduced me to Bob Dylan in the late sixties it was a school teacher when I was about 15 who truly introduced me to Dylan.

I remember his words “Dylan is the beginning the middle and the end” and I have no doubt he meant it. I am not sure whether they were his own words, an adaption of someone else’s or a direct quote. Another quote I liked was “Dylan is the barometer of our times”. Again I’m not sure to whom that quote should be attributed, however through the sixties and seventies it seemed apt.

So,why the discussion about Dylan?

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1975 – The Best Year in Music?

I was watching Max the music channel on Foxtel and they were playing songs from 1975. It gave me pause for thought as to whether this was in fact the greatest music year if my life? I have always considered the 70s as the golden age of music rather than the 60s. While there is no doubt that the emergence of The Beatles and Rolling Stones in the 60s were central to the era I think the 60s were formative rather than quintessential.

Using Wikipedia I trawled through what was released in 1975. Blood on the Tracks (Bob Dylan), Night at the Opera (Queen), Blue Jays (Justin Hayward and John Lodge), An Evening with John Denver (John Denver), Between the Lines ( Janis Ian), The Original Soundtrack (10cc), Face the Music ( Electric Light Orchestra), Siren (Roxy Music), All Around My Hat (Steeleye Span), Still Crazy After All These Years (Paul Simon), Horses (Patti Smith), The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, Welcome to My Nightmare (Alice Cooper), Venus and Mars (Paul Mccartney and Wings), One of These Nights (The Eagles), Have You Never Been Mellow (Olivia Newton-John) and Born to Run (Bruce Springsteen)  were my favourites of 1975.

Whilst I could discuss each and everyone of these at length I’ve singled out just a few for special mention.

Blood on the Tracks for its sheer consistency. From Tangled up in Blue to Buckets of a Rain, every song is brilliant however for me Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts is my favourite. I just love the line,
She was with Big Jim but she was leanin’ to the Jack of Hearts .

Janis Ian’s, Between the Lines had At Seventeen which my wife tells me was every girl’s favourite song of the time. Whereas for me it was Olivia!

I know John Denver was often seen as homely and sweet however he was a great country singer. He was fabulous live and  An Evening with John Denver, truly captured the experience. Favourite off this album the soaring Rocky Mountain High.

The amazing a Night at the Opera showed the sheer talent of Queen. There are no duds on this album. Bohemian Rhapsody is the song most associate with the album, but there is so much more such as You’re my best Friend and Thirty Nine Nine.

Former keyboard player with Yes, Rick Wakeman was prominent in the 70s. The Six Wives of Henry the Eighth and Journey to the Centre of the Earth were great, however my favourite is Myths and Legends released in 1975 with The Last Battle showing Wakeman at his best.

The release of Venus and Mars by Wings continued to showcase McCartney in a band setting. The tour which accompanied its release was just amazing. It remains one of my all time favourite concerts.

The Eagles One of these Nights included Lyin’ Eyes and Take it to the Limit  as well as One of these Nights. ELO’s Face the Music had Evil Women and Strange Music, Roxy’s Siren included the classic Love is the Drug and Both Ends Burning.There was also Paul Simon’s Still Crazy after all these Years, which apart from the title track also included My Little Town, and 50 Ways to Leave your Lover. Alice Cooper’s Welcome to my Nightmare had the classic Only Women Bleed.

However there is no doubt which album was my favourite in 1975: Born to Run. This album simply has no flaws at all and is my opinion the greatest album of all time.

So my conclusion,1975 was the greatest year in music – what do you think?

What I’ve been listening too

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I was wondering what to write about and was taken by this challenge -last five songs on your Spotify playlist.

This week it’s been Spotify Radio Playlists. It’s an easy way to listen to music in a theme. I have always loved the Corrs, great harmonies. Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights from her debut album, The Kick Inside, one of the great albums of all time.

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Silence is not an option!

Can’t get it out of my head is quite simply music.

I’m always listening – at breakfast (when I usually write my posts) walking to work, at work, walking home, after dinner, studying, driving, walking the dog, sleeping….

I’m always browsing the small number of CD shops we have in Adelaide, grazing through Spotify, sorry Pandora, for me it’s my favourite streaming service. ITunes Match means all my CDs are at my fingertips.

I have always been one to listen to a whole CD or artist collection but with streaming I am being seduced into Playlists. Spotify’s Radio Button is a great way to get variety when I need a short break from Springsteen, Tori Amos, Joni Mitchell, The Beatles, Rick Wakeman. I can’t believe how much Rick Wakeman I listen too!

Silence is not an option for me.

Study and what to listen too?

I have always studied and worked listening to music. It provides a background to block out other distractions and it’s a technique I have used since my school days.

My year 12 was completely dominated by Born to Run!

Through Uni, the first time, it was Dylan, Springsteen, Melanie, Supertramp, 10CC and so on.

When I completed my Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance in the early 2000s, it was a combination of old favourites Dylan, Springsteen, Rick Wakeman and newer music REM, White Stripes, Silverchair, and Muse. My children made sure I was listening to what was current as I would usually say I like that and then buy the complete collection – it was a good plan on their behalf! I also filled in a lot of gaps in my music collection across those 3 years.

I am back to study again and after a few weeks of late nights and full weekends with my head in a text book and searching the University library databases it’s all been with the headphones on. I started with the downloads of Springsteen’s Australia and new Zealand concerts, at about $10 per concert they are great value. But even as a Springsteen obsessive that isn’t going to be enough to sustain me. My iTunes library has also had a fair working over as has the recently released iTunes Radio, Spotify and to a lesser extent Pandora.

Whilst I like the concept of the Radio Buttons on iTunes, Spotify and Pandora they tend to see the same songs come up on the play list a little to regularly for me and they can be a little distracting. I prefer to listen to the whole album, the complete collection or whole concert rather than jump around. So apart from Springsteen and the Radio Buttons there has been a little Tori Amos, James Taylor, Carole King and this weekend Joni Mitchell.

As I was taking a break I started to think about what new music there might be to listen too. Surely I can’t sustain the next 2 years and beyond with music from my own youth!

Suggestions will be welcome!