Articles on Bob Dylan

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The Rolling Stones performing in Hamburg during the ‘No Filter’ European tour: the band’s legacy is entwined with the pioneers of black American music. Morris Mac Matzen/Reuters

Friday essay: the art of the pinch – popular music and appropriation

Pinching musical phrases and stylistic approaches has always been a part of art making and can be a respectful exchange. But shallow, ill-informed appropriation only perpetuates tired stereotypes.
Odysseus and his crew escape the cyclops, as painted by Arnold Böcklin in 1896. Wikimedia

Guide to the Classics: Homer’s Odyssey

The story of the Odyssey is a quintessential quest that relates to the passage through life and the importance of love, family and home. Odysseus's adventures have influenced everyone from Batman to Bob Dylan.
Leonard Cohen in 2008, just before he was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Lucas Jackson/Reuters

As a writer-musician, Leonard Cohen was a one-off

Perhaps more clearly than Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen showed that songwriting can be a literary art. Within his apparently simple words lies a profound sense of playfulness and enigma.
A portrait of Indian poet and musician Rabindranath Tagore. Cherishsantosh/Wikimedia Commons

No, Bob Dylan isn’t the first lyricist to win the Nobel

In 1913, an Indian literary giant named Rabindranath Tagore was the first non-white person to win the literature prize. He wrote over 2,000 songs and, like Dylan's, they still resonate today.
Is Bob Dylan a poet in the great tradition of Sappho? In the days of Sappho, John William Godward

Explainer: are Bob Dylan’s songs ‘Literature’?

Ancient poems were accompanied by a musical instrument called the lyre – from which we get the word 'lyric'. 'Literature' and 'poetry' are categories of our own making - so moving beyond them in a major award seems long overdue.
Dylan is a musician, who has been well recognised in his field. Simon Murphy/Flickr

In honouring Dylan, the Nobel Prize judges have made a category error

Were there really no poets or novelists or essayists - no people who have spent their lives in the field of literature - considered Nobel-worthy? This nostalgic decision is discourteous to writers.
Kenyan author Ngugi Wa Thiong'o shows his newly released book “Wizard of the Crow” during launch at a Nairobi bookshop. Antony Njuguna/Reuters

Tipped to win Nobel literature prize, Kenya’s Ngugi misses out – again

Ngugi wa Thiong'o is still regarded as one of Africa's greatest living writers in spite of missing out on a literature Nobel yet again.
Jodie Foster, Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese on the set of Taxi Driver in 1976. Sikelia Productions, New York

Friday essay: It Felt Like a Kiss – movies, popular music and Martin Scorsese

From 'Mean Streets' to 'Vinyl', from The Ronettes to The Clash, music has long been a muse to film director Martin Scorsese. He plays it on set, conceives sequences with certain songs in mind and uses it to chart his characters' changing fortunes.

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