The first Nobel Prize in music

Since Bob Dylan is my all time favorite artist, in any medium, I should probably say something here.  (And what medium is he in?  I don’t believe for a moment this is a Nobel Prize in “literature”; this is a music prize—although perhaps the modern English professors say it’s one in the same.)

Tyler has his list of favorite albums, so here is mine:

1.  Live at Royal Albert Hall (1966)  (Actually Manchester)

2.  Blonde on Blonde

3.  Bringing It All Back Home (side two is the peak of his career)

4.  Highway 61 Revisited

5.  Freewheeling Bob Dylan

6.  Another Side of Bob Dylan

7.  Blood on the Tracks

8.  Street Legal  (most underrated)

9.  Time Out of Mind

10.  New Morning

I generally prefer the visual arts, and don’t have good taste in music.  For instance, I love the sound of Dylan’s voice, whereas Joan Baez singing his songs sounds like nails on a blackboard to me.  Most people seem to believe the opposite.  Go figure.

I’m not a fan of the Nobel Prize in Literature (or the Peace Prize, Academy Awards, etc.) but I guess they are an inevitable part of life. If someone had to win, I’m glad it was Dylan.  We are both from the upper Midwest.

Favorite unreleased songs — She’s Your Lover Now, Blind Willie McTell:

Seen the arrow on the doorpost

Saying, “This land is condemned

All the way from New Orleans

To Jerusalem.”

I traveled through East Texas

Where many martyrs fell

And I know no one can sing the blues

Like Blind Willie McTell


Well, I heard the hoot owl singing

As they were taking down the tents

The stars above the barren trees

Were his only audience

Them charcoal gypsy maidens

Can strut their feathers well

But nobody can sing the blues

Like Blind Willie McTell


See them big plantations burning

Hear the cracking of the whips

Smell that sweet magnolia blooming

(And) see the ghosts of slavery ships

I can hear them tribes a-moaning

(I can) hear the undertaker’s bell

(Yeah), nobody can sing the blues

Like Blind Willie McTell


There’s a woman by the river

With some fine young handsome man

He’s dressed up like a squire

Bootlegged whiskey in his hand

There’s a chain gang on the highway

I can hear them rebels yell

And I know no one can sing the blues

Like Blind Willie McTell


Well, God is in heaven

And we all want what’s his

But power and greed and corruptible seed

Seem to be all that there is

I’m gazing out the window

Of the St. James Hotel

And I know no one can sing the blues

Like Blind Willie McTell

PS.  I’d like to see a Venn diagram for the overlap between people who love Bringing it All Back Home and people who voted for Trump in the primaries.



30 Responses to “The first Nobel Prize in music”

  1. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    13. October 2016 at 08:04

    I like Dylan too and used to (many years ago) bother to learn his often bizarre, but evocative lyrics. I liked that they weren’t repetitive and always made a great mental picture for me, but I now think a good percentage of them just don’t make any sense. I think he sometimes went for the rhyme or rhythm & left the meaning to chance. Not always, but sometimes. I feel the same way about Beck’s lyrics.

    I can say I “snuck in” to his concert once. I happened to hear him playing at the local amphitheater (SB Bowl), so I took a walk to get a better listen and found the security guards had left the gate unguarded on the uphill side. It was a super crappy view of the stage, and I only saw the tail end, but whatever, it counts. Live music isn’t my thing.

  2. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    13. October 2016 at 08:12

    The Nobel prizes seem to become more and more ridiculous over the years, especially peace and literature.

    The press release behind the decision is extremely short and lazy:

    The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2016 is awarded to Bob Dylan for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.

    That’s it.

    The Telegraph put it best so far:

    “A culture that gives Bob Dylan a literature prize is a culture that nominates Donald Trump for president. It is a culture uninterested in qualifications and concerned only with satisfying raw emotional need.

    It becomes very hard to engage on the basis of reason because reason is discriminatory. It requires thought and effort not only to use it but to understand it. Much, much easier to go with your gut.

    This is the Nobel Prize for Literature. Not Sweden’s Got Talent.”

    So who will be next? Paul McCartney, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Brian Wilson, Paul Simon or Mick Jagger? Maybe they should hand out Nobels to dead people as well. John Lennon, Lou Reed and David Bowie want one, too. Or Mozart.

  3. Gravatar of Market Fiscalist Market Fiscalist
    13. October 2016 at 08:13

    Thanks for calling out “Blind Willie McTell”, that’s a beautiful song that I somehow managed to miss for the last 30+ years !

    Do Trump supporters think ‘bringing it all back home’ is about US industrial policy ?

  4. Gravatar of mbka mbka
    13. October 2016 at 08:19


    +1 for nominating “Blind Willie McTell”. My favourite Dylan song, emotional and evocative. Many of his other songs work better for me when covered by other artists, strangely.


    civilization just keeps on ending, one generation at a time.

  5. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    13. October 2016 at 09:24

    civilization just keeps on ending, one generation at a time.

    Hardly so. Oftentimes Nobel prizes just suck. In fact they are flawed since basically the very beginning. Hardly the end of civilization, maybe just an ignorant prize committee. The recent chairman is a public affairs adviser, the dep. chair is a lawyer and the third wheel is a senior political adviser. This might explain things, I don’t know.

  6. Gravatar of Carl Carl
    13. October 2016 at 10:06

    Those “Blind Willie McTell” lyrics are great. I worked recently on putting what was, I thought, a good poem to music and realized how much of the good stuff you have to hack off to make it work musically.

    So, Dylan’s lyrics aren’t as good as Yeats’ poems that won Yeats the prize in 1923, but my short foray into lyric writing showed me that its a lot harder to make lyrics impressive (at least without making the melody suck). So, maybe Dylan is worthy of the prize in literature.

    All Nobel said in his will to describe the literature prize was “one part to the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction”. I have no idea what an ideal direction is.

  7. Gravatar of Bill Ellis Bill Ellis
    13. October 2016 at 10:55

    🙂 one of the greatest artist of our life times…

  8. Gravatar of Bill Ellis Bill Ellis
    13. October 2016 at 11:07

    Next…how about a living jazz legend ? America’s original art form…

    McCoy Tyner.. won’t be with us too much longer. In the Jazz world no one living or dead was more of a creative force behind more of jazz’s great performances and compositions…

  9. Gravatar of Patrick R. Sullivan Patrick R. Sullivan
    13. October 2016 at 11:12

    So Dylan is superior to Dorothy Fields, Cole Porter, Sammy Cahn, Johnny Mercer, Irving Berlin….?

  10. Gravatar of anon/portly anon/portly
    13. October 2016 at 11:29

    “See them big plantations burning?” “Hear the cracking of the whips?” “See them sweet magnolias blooming?” “There’s a chain gang on the highway?” The Zim didn’t omit a single cliché in that one…. I’m sure it all something to do with McTell.

    Obligatory mockery aside, it’s kind of cool. They gave this prize to Churchill, Russell and Sartre, and didn’t give it to Joyce and Borges, so I don’t see anything amiss with giving it to Dylan. As someone who’s been too lazy to learn to appreciate poetry, much, I don’t think his lyrics scan very well when read, but a lot of them sure sound good when they’re sung – especially by Roger McGuinn or Sandy Denny, but many of them by almost anyone. “The Times They-Are A-Changin'” or “Blowin’ in the Wind” or (for more poetical ones) “Watchtower” or “My Back Pages.” And on and on.

    If you could only listen to music, or maybe pop music, written by one person for the rest of your life, you’d sure have to consider Dylan, even if you don’t love his own stuff so much.

    I don’t think many Dylan or Beatles fans really understand their heroes very well. To really understand them, we (any of us) would have to absorb the massive body of music that they absorbed, Dylan listening at night to the radio and Lennon and McCartney queuing up yet another 45 at the record shop. People who don’t like the pop music of the 50’s but who love The Beatles or who don’t like [the stuff Dylan processed] but who love Dylan are a bit schizophrenic.

    I can understand why someone would denigrate Dylan’s artistic literary achievement, but he had a sort of entrepreneurial literary achievement, processing that large body of words and music and turning into something fresh and new. In that sense I think he had a much larger literary impact than many poets or writers who might be strictly-speaking better writers or more accomplished in purely literary terms….

    (I didn’t mean for this comment to sound so grandiose, it should be more tentative, but I don’t have time to edit it properly).

  11. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    13. October 2016 at 11:31

    @Bill Ellis:

    That’d be a good troll for the Nobel people to go from controversially giving the prize for Literature to a pop music songwriter to a musician that doesn’t even use words.

  12. Gravatar of Bill Ellis Bill Ellis
    13. October 2016 at 11:42

    msgkings… LOL…yes. U R right. I was caught up in the idea for a Nobel for music..

    I really like that Idea..

  13. Gravatar of Bill Ellis Bill Ellis
    13. October 2016 at 11:50

    Dorothy Fields, Cole Porter, Sammy Cahn, Johnny Mercer, Irving Berlin

    all great.. But ..their lyrics were mostly(all?) about love and other interpersonal relationship stuff.. some of it absolutely beautiful and deeply affecting… Got a broken heart ?…listen to these guys …cry it out… better now ?

    Dylan also wrote powerful things about interpersonal relationships… but he wrote about everything…the outer world…the inner corners of the mind… the absurdity and profundity in between..

    I really love… Dorothy Fields, Cole Porter, Sammy Cahn, Johnny Mercer, Irving Berlin…
    But they were no Bob Dylan…

  14. Gravatar of Matthew McOsker Matthew McOsker
    13. October 2016 at 12:58

    My List is very different really in no particular order:

    1 Clutch – Self-Titled
    2 Bad Brains – “Rock for Light”
    3 Suicidal Tendencies – Self Tiltled
    4 Beatles – “Revolver”
    5 Who -“Live at Leeds”
    6 Black Flag – “Slip It In”
    7 Eyehategod – self titled
    8 Korn – self titled
    9 Beastie Boys “Paul’s Boutique”
    10 Soundgarden “Badmotorfinger”

    Interesting there are so many self-titled in my list. The Beatles are the only on the list to have the potential for a Nobel anything.

    Agree, Dylan has a cool voice.

  15. Gravatar of Patrick R. Sullivan Patrick R. Sullivan
    13. October 2016 at 16:02

    ‘But they were no Bob Dylan…’

    Thank goodness.

  16. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    13. October 2016 at 16:51

    Tom, “Making sense” can occur on many levels, just as in a painting by a surrealist.

    Christian, None of the people you mention are anything like Dylan.

    I agree that the track record of Nobels (literature and peace) is pretty spotty.

    Market, That’s a good one.

    mbka, I usually don’t like the covers as much, with the obvious exception of Hendrix doing All Along the Watchtower. I suppose the Bryds occasionally produced some nice versions too. But I can see how others might prefer the covers, as his voice is not to everyone’s taste.

    Carl, My view of pop lyrics is that it makes no sense to judge them separately from the song. The performance is an integrated whole, and the components can’t be separated out. Dylan may or may not have been a great poet, but the great poets probably would not have been able to write better song lyrics. In his hybrid art form, he is unequalled.

    Anon, Yes, Nobel’s usually go to the wrong person. But with all due respect, you missed the point of the “cliches” in that song. No one else could have juxtaposed them so beautifully. Who else would put this:

    “Smell that sweet magnolia blooming”

    in after two horrific images.

    The Nobel in literature became a joke after Borges didn’t win, not to be taken seriously. (And yes, there were lots of other oversights, like Joyce.)

    Matthew, I own #4 and #5 on that list, which shows my boomer biases.

  17. Gravatar of Matthew Waters Matthew Waters
    13. October 2016 at 17:57

    “Matthew, I own #4 and #5 on that list, which shows my boomer biases.”

    I’m a millennial and #4 and #5 are also the only ones I own. I never said I was a normal millennial. I do own some grunge and alternative from the 90’s that I grew up with, like Pearl Jam, but don’t own any Soundgarden.

    Outside the big albums, the random Dylan songs I like:

    – Ballad of a Thin Man on “The Royal Albert Hall” concert.
    – Moonshiner, from Bootleg Vol. 1 -3.
    – Series of Dreams, from Bootleg Vol. 1-3. (only modern Dylan I know honestly)
    – Slow Train Coming, yes the title song from the first Christian album.

    Favorite albums are Freewheelin’, then Blood on the Tracks, then Blonde on Blonde. Putting Blood on the Tracks at #7 may be enough to make me an alt-right Trump supporter.

  18. Gravatar of jerry jerry
    14. October 2016 at 03:57


    totally agree that Street Legal is most underrated LP, Where r u tonite is one of Dylan’s very best and most important songs.

    Glaring, glaring omission is Planet Waves…What song better sums up Bob’s entire career than Something there is about you?

    And only labeling albums leaves off a huge body of work…..Brownsville Girl, Billy4, Tomorrow is a long time

    i also have personal choice as a top 10 album….real popular my 2nd yr at college(1982-83)…..Infidels…I and I ??

    Dylan is with Yeats and Picasso….

  19. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    14. October 2016 at 06:11

    Matthew, Just to be clear, I think Blood on the Tracks is a great album. To give you an idea of how much I like Dylan, I like “Blood” more than any non-Dylan album. (I can’t say the same about the last three on the list, there’s a drop-off from #7 to #8. Basically, he produced 7 masterpieces, of which 6 were studio albums.

    After #7, my next choice might be something like “Let it Bleed” by the Stones. Among current singer songwriters, Lucinda Williams is my favorite.

    Jerry, I agree! I did a post that discussed Planet Waves:

    I think “Never Say Goodbye” is also great.

    But you need to have limits on any top 10. I’d probably put Planet Waves at #11, although now that you mention it, I might put it as high as #9.

    Since Dylan is my favorite artist in any medium, I won’t reject any comparison. But he’s kind of unique, in that he’s the only great artist I know of who’s greatness can only be appreciated as a sort of hybrid art form, pop music plus poetry. The poetry is not always “great” on the written page, nor is the music necessarily “great” without the words—it’s that combination.

    I should say that there are other singers who combine those qualities, like Joni Mitchell and Tom Waits, but they are not in the same class.

  20. Gravatar of Jerry Jerry
    14. October 2016 at 07:56

    Money doesn’t talk it swears

  21. Gravatar of anon/portly anon/portly
    14. October 2016 at 11:06

    “[Y]ou missed the point of the “cliches” in that song. No one else could have juxtaposed them so beautifully.”

    Hmmm, okay, suddenly I see all these amazing arguments about the economy and asset prices in a whole new light….

    All (or most) joking aside, I think it’s interesting that Dylan didn’t embrace his tribute [everyone but me] or cheap shot [me] to Blind Willie until others embraced it so strongly – Wikipedia lists 18 covers, many by big names.

    Wikipedia only lists 3 cover versions for my own favorite “unreleased” Dylan tune, Percy’s Song. (Actually 4 if you count Baez singing it while Bob types for a couple minutes in _Don’t Look Back_). I think it’s a bit more obscure than BWM, I doubt if hardly anyone who isn’t a Fairport Convention (also perhaps Arlo Guthrie) fan thinks about it much.

    I kind of wonder if Dylan wasn’t completely impressed with his lyrics (or maybe the point of the lyrics) in both cases. Of course it could just be that when you write as many songs as he has, there’s a certain amount of randomness to which ones are prominent in his thinking at what time.

  22. Gravatar of anon/portly anon/portly
    14. October 2016 at 11:30

    “To give you an idea of how much I like Dylan, I like ‘Blood’ more than any non-Dylan album.”

    Wow! Top 7, all Dylan, top 6, all from the 60’s! Favorite non-Dylan album from the 60’s! No wonder you think it was all over by 1970.

    Perhaps you will find the following comment, left at the MR thread by commenter Ant1900, interesting, I certainly did:

    “Peak Dylan was his too-short 1976 tour, which is poorly showcased on the live album ‘Hard Rain.’ It featured completely reworked, jammed-out and deep-fried versions of all his best songs. Most likely because it he was on hard drugs at the time. The band is top notch, including the now-legendary T-Bone Burnett. Naturally it was a commercial flop (compared to the 1975 leg of that tour).”

    I don’t know why Ant1900 failed to mention Mick Ronson, but anyway Ant1900 then presented links to 4 videos, at least two of which (“Shelter” and “Rolling Stone”) I like a lot.

    Ant1900 later left another comment, in response to a query:

    “Acoustic Thunder

    Hold the Fort for What It’s Worth

    Blood and Thunder

    Like a Rolling Stone – The Hidden TV Show

    Those boots plus the official release give you all the best of 1976. All are unofficial, but should be easy to track down.”

    I wonder whether all true Dylan connoisseurs/nutcases should be up on this…. Bob has a Rolling Thunder 1975 Bootleg Series release but not a 1976.

    (Perhaps I am especially enamored of the “great lost or underappreciated bootleg-only tour” idea because of its obvious application to Neil Young, though in that case an official release finally came out).

  23. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    14. October 2016 at 15:38

    Scott, you might like this evaluation by Penn Jillette of live performances of Dylan vs Paul McCartney:

    Like I wrote above, I did see a bit of one of his live shows once. I’d always heard that Dylan’s live performances could be disappointing if you’d fallen in love w/ his recordings, but I didn’t hear enough to tell really. From Penn’s evaluation (though favorable) I can see why that might be.

  24. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    14. October 2016 at 15:40

    Re: meaning of lyrics. I’m probably just too dumb to get it, but I struggled mightily in places, so I tell myself it’s on him. =)

  25. Gravatar of jerry jerry
    15. October 2016 at 04:34


    Couldn’t agree more….Dylan’s absolute peak was mid 70’s…if you want to be a little more precise it’s the last 2 minutes of Idiot Wind from NY sessions…easily the best, most blistering harmonica he’s ever done…..Here’s Dylan’s top 10 albums but if you wanted a list of 10 best songs you wouldn’t find half of them on here..

    1-Blood on the Tracks(NY sessions)
    2-Blonde on Blonde
    3-Hwy 61
    4-Planet Waves
    5-Bringing it all back home
    6-Another Side
    7-Time out of mind
    8-Street Legal
    9-New Morning

  26. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    15. October 2016 at 11:47

    Anon, Yes, and my top 10 favorite Italian paintings are all from the Renaissance. I have such shallow taste.

    Seriously, I have poor taste in music, and have said so repeatedly. Most types of music I don’t “get” at all, even though I have no reason to doubt the fans who love these genres. I’m no Tyler Cowen. But I do “get” Dylan.

    Having said that, I like lots of post-60s pop music, and my top 30 would include a fair number of more recent CDs. Indeed the baseline quality of pop is probably higher since 1970, it’s just that those 60s guys were lucky to get there first. Just as the Italy of 1900 probably had lots of painters just as talented as Titian, Raphael, Michelangelo, da Vinci, della Francesca, etc. But they were born at the wrong time.

    Is there a single pop song in the last 30 years as riveting as Gimme Shelter? If so, which one?

    Tom, It often takes me several listens to get used to a new performance of a favorite song. On the other hand I’d cut off my right arm to have been at that Manchester, England 1966 concert.

    Jerry, I really like Planet Waves, but putting it ahead of Bringing it all Back Home is a bit . . . eccentric. Play side two a couple times—peak lyrics in all of music history.

    Interesting that you love the mid-70s but left off Desire—I also thought that was a bit overrated.

    Otherwise a respectable list. But no, nothing tops 1965-66, in all of pop music history. His unreleased stuff was better than most people’s careers. And I love Blood on the Tracks.

  27. Gravatar of anon/portly anon/portly
    17. October 2016 at 09:31

    “Is there a single pop song in the last 30 years as riveting as Gimme Shelter? If so, which one?”

    “Riveting” is an interesting standard. At the level of song, I think it is very difficult to list and distinguish, there are so many very good ones.

    I think to at least some extent, Gimme Shelter is more a great arrangement or performance than a song. But anyway it is very good, easily their number 2 song behind “Citadel.”

    I think we can all agree on Captain Sensible as the proper authority on this question.

    Anyway, for something that I think is more “riveting” than GS, and came out within the last 30 years, and (I will add) should be at least marginally familiar to people, how about this:

    Or this:

    Or (cheating a little on the 30 year thing) this:

    I don’t expect everyone would agree with those choices, I just tried to pick obvious things. But my point would be, I can’t say there’s a better song than Gimme Shelter, but for all us, the songs that reach us and speak to us are different. In 1969 another band released 2 albums, and both have at least one track that I consider superior to Gimme Shelter (one a Dylan cover).

    It’s a testament to Dylan’s greatness that pretty much everything he did from ’63 to ’66 can reach someone more than anything any other has done, over a 50 year period. An it’s not just one econblogger, anyone who’s aware of the music of the 60’s has to be aware of the awe in which Dylan was held by his contemporaries. Only the Beatles I think come close although some will vote for Brian and some will vote for Mick & Keef and some will vote for Ian and Bernard and some for Kurt and on and on.

    Taking Dylan 63-66 as one’s 6 favorite albums is probably a lot more musically astute than my 6 favorites, if I could figure out what they were. (I know about half of my top ten, I think).

    To be honest, it’s choosing Blood on the Tracks as one’s favorite album of the 1970’s that I find quixotic. It’s like some guys get married young and never really look at another woman, maybe. The Wikipedia article on Blood on the Tracks (I read it while researching what Jerry above meant by “NY Sessions”) is highly recommended and (perhaps) very sly, (perhaps) written by someone whose view of Dylan is similar to my own.

    One thing’s for sure, this thread will compel me to listen to more Dylan…. The most underappreciated thing about music is how much interesting stuff is out there. I keep finding things from the 60’s, even, that are amazing.

    Final note: I’m wondering, if I repeatedly referred to Bob as “The Zim,” would that get me kayoed from the comments? Where the Major and Ray could not go, perhaps A/P could!

  28. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    17. October 2016 at 10:28

    Anon, The 1970s? Now that’s a decade I remember. At the time, there were lots of albums I liked better than Blood on the Tracks, Including Born to Run, This Year’s Model and Squeezing out Sparks. Today only This Year’s Model seems its equal. (I consider the early 1970s to be part of the 1960s (Led Zep, Exile on Main Street, etc.—the 1970s began around 1973) I also like some of the punk rock (Sex Pistols, Clash, Ramones), as well as stuff like Joy Division.

    Thanks for the three great links. Bjork gives me goosebumps–wonderful performance. She and Lucinda Williams are my two favorite female pop stars. Radiohead is great—I need to listen to the Portishead more–I haven’t really kept up with music. I only found out about My Bloody Valentine last year.

    No you won’t be kayoed, I can tell when someone knows more about music than I do.

  29. Gravatar of anon/portly anon/portly
    20. October 2016 at 09:16

    I guess I’ll make a few more points:

    1. It’s easy to catch up with classic trip-hop, since Portishead and Massive Attack have released so little stuff!

    2. It’s easy to like the 1970’s, relative to the 1960’s, if, like me, you were or are now a big fan of prog *and* new wave *and* the (relatively obscure) Anglo electric psych folk scene described in Rob Young’s _Electric Eden_. To a great extent I sort of discovered a lot of 60’s things later, even though the first two dozen or so albums I owned were mostly from the 60’s.

    3. I think rather than saying “the 1970s began around 1973” I would say that it makes sense to consider a break after 1975. You’ve got the 1964-1975 “rock” period which to my ears begins with “House of the Rising Sun” and “You’ve Really Got Me” and “All Day and All of the Night” (all 1964) and by going to 1975 you include not only pretty much all of “classic prog” (popular in the US but even more popular outside the US) but also “Physical Graffiti” and “Wish You Were Here” and “Born to Run” and even “A Night at the Opera” and “Fleetwood Mac” and classic Skynyrd. Everyone’s released their last great or biggest album, pretty much.

    If you tune in to a “classic rock” station you’ll hear something from 67 – 75, most likely. The world where Bruce Springsteen could get msssive critical push and Jonathan Richman or Richard Thompson couldn’t even get their stuff released (at least in the US) was coming to an end.

    Then 1976 is the Sex Pistols but also at this point you have the rise of metal and pop-metal (Kiss & AC/DC) and soon the rise of the solo artist (Prince, MJ and Madonna [and Kate Bush, oh well] all born summer of `58, like me) and various forms of black music….

    Hmmm, probably not an original thought, now that I think of it. Oh well.

  30. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    20. October 2016 at 12:57

    My take is a bit different. I think rock got increasingly grandiose and bloated and “artsy” in the early 1970s. The actual 1970s began with a back to basics. In this version, Springsteen is a transitional figure, who rejected pretentious art rock, but still had a bit of it in his Born to Run album. You had new wave pop like Elvis Costello–simple 2 minute songs—and the same sort of simple punk songs from the Ramones. It was like a breath of fresh air.

    The first 30 seconds of This Year’s Model is probably my favorite album opening.

    But yes, 1964-75 is a reasonable definition of “the 60s”

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