Thursday, April 8, 2021

Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and the Jeff Slate Footnote Controversy with My Comments


Jeff Slate is a New York City-based songwriter and journalist. His writing can be found in the Wall Street Journal, Esquire and Rolling Stone, among others.   He wrote the liner notes for the Dylan Boxed Set More Blood More Tracks.  At the World of Bob Dylan Symposium in May 2019 which I attended his interview of Roger McGuinn.  He recently raised controversy by stating that Paul Simon will only be a historical footnote to Bob Dylan.

I will list here two comments that I found about this:

Sean Ross is a longtime journalist covering the radio industry for Billboard, R&R and others. He is Edison Research’s Vice President of Music and Programming.  He wrote a column comparing the radio airplay of Bob Dylan with Paul Simon (with or without Art Garfunkel).  He also states “Paul Simon/Simon & Garfunkel had more and bigger hit singles than Bob Dylan. Simon had 11 songs that made the year-end top 100; Dylan had three. “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” didn’t make 1973’s year-end chart.”  Please read the entire column for his insights.

Dan Epstein is an award winning journalist, pop culture historian, and avid baseball fan who has written for Rolling Stone, SPIN, Men’s Journal, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, MOJO, Guitar World, Revolver, LA Weekly and dozens of other publications.  He wrote an excellent essay in The Forward about this controversy.  I leave it up to my readers to evaluate the details.  He states “Bob Dylan doesn’t need to have his already-vast achievements further burnished by a writer envisioning him as the last man standing amid the fragrant ashes of late 20th century music history. What I find most unpalatable here is the framing of popular music as some kind of zero-sum game, in which there are only winners and losers and only a tiny handful of said winners will ever mean anything in the long run.”

Here is my take on the issue:

I have enjoyed Bob Dylan and Paul Simon (with or without Art Garfunkel) immensely since the 1960s.  I have tons of records, tapes, and CDs by them.  Bob Dylan’s strength is as a song writer which is reflected in his winning the Nobel Prize for Literature. I surmise that many Dylan fans are not interested in him as a musician and do not listen to him on commercial radio.  Paul Simon has had many more 45 RPM hits than Dylan, but Dylan’s albums have had a much greater impact whether or not they hit the charts.  I don’t like the way the Dylan is incommunicative with his fans.  He will rarely talk to his audience at concerts.  Paul Simon, on the other hand, spoke to his audience after every number as his did at Madison Square Garden in September 2018.

Dylan and Simon have great respect for each other as they toured together in 1999.  I enjoyed their concert at Jones Beach that summer.

Decades and even centuries from now there will be writings on the popular music of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.  Only wonderful things will be written about Paul Simon and Bob Dylan.  They have both contributed immensely to our popular culture.  There is no need to quantify their achievements.



Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Tuesday at MoMA

 I don't think I have traveled to Manhattan in 2021 so I thought it was the right time to visit the Museum of Modern Art.  I usually go there about twice a year.  There was nothing in particular that I wanted to see, but there was an eclectic collection of artwork from the 1880s to the present.  Below is a sample of what I viewed today,

by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

There was a model of the Guggenheim Museum at MoMA

There was even one work by Andy Warhol

I think was by Jackson Pollock

I called this one All Along the Watchtower

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Love Those Traveling Wilburys - Together and Apart


I remembering finding about the Traveling Wilburys while watching Mary Hart on Entertainment Tonight in 1988.  Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, George Harrison, and Roy Orbison formed this supergroup.  They only had two albums, Volume 1 and Volume 3.  Nobody knows what happened to Volume 2.  Perhaps someday it will surface.  I don't think the group ever toured.  Sadly only Bob Dylan and Jeff Lynne survive.

This is Traveling Wilburys weekend on Dylan Radio.  Pete Freckelton who runs this internet radio station is playing songs by the group and its individual members.  All have been inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

The Billboard Chart of April 4, 1964


Likely the print on the jpg file above is too small.  The Top 5 Hits of 56 years ago today on the Billboard Chart were:

  1. Can't Buy Me Love
  2. Twist and Shout
  3. She Loves You
  4. I Want to Hold Your Hand
  5. Please Please Me
Of course, these 5 hits were by the Beatles.  I fondly remember how their music dominated Top 40 radio at that time.  Back then I listened to WABC, WMCA, and WINS.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

I Experienced Side Effects to the Second Dose of the Moderna Vaccine

 For most of today, I was feverish, but as the day moved on I felt better.  I really felt awful in the morning as my temperature reached 101.4 degrees F.  There is a good article from NBC News describing the various side effects.  The good thing is that the side effects indicate the vaccine is working.  They say one is not fully protected until two weeks after the second injection.  Hopefully, by the summer the old normal will be back.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

I am Now Fully-Vaccinated - Thank You Walgreens for Your Efficiency

 It took many attempts to get an appointment, but I finally succeeded at the end of February.  I thought I would get an appointment at Citi Field which is a mega site, but I got my two appointments at Walgreens.  My first appointment for the Moderna vaccine was at the Walgreens in downtown Flushing which is a 20-minute walk for me.  I arrived at 2 PM and got my shot at 2:25 as my appointment was for 2:30.  The only problem was that I had a slight fever for a few hours the next day.

My second dose was scheduled for today at 2:30 at Walgreens in College Point which was a 10-minute drive away.  I received my shot at 2:20 PM.  I must admire Walgreens for its efficiency.

I have read that if 70-90% of the population is vaccinated there will be herd immunity.  Hopefully, this will mean a return to normalcy with everything open at full capacity with no masks or social distancing.  Unfortunately, there is a group called Anti-Vaxxers who refuse to be vaccinated.  Hopefully, they are a very tiny minority.

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