Bob Dylan

 Robert Allen Zimmermann est né le 24 mai 1941 à Duluth, dans le Minnesota. En 1962, il sort un album éponyme, «Bob Dylan» dans lequel il reprend des standards du blues et de la folk. C’est à cette époque que Joan Baez remarque ce jeune poète à la voix nasillarde dans un club de Greenwich village et lui propose de la suivre en tournée.

 «The Freewheeling' Bob Dylan», son premier album original, lui vaut immédiatement la reconnaissance de ses pairs. On voit en lui un parolier surdoué que certains n’hésitent pas à comparer à Rimbaud. Avec «Blowin’ In The Wind», titre phare de l’album, il devient véritablement le porte parole, voire le messie, d’une génération contestataire des années soixante en lutte avec la guerre du Vietnam.

 «Bringing It All Back Home" (1964) et «Highway 61 Revisited» (1965) arrivent à une période charnière dans la carrière de Dylan puisqu’il s’oriente vers le blues et le rock. Ses admirateurs les plus rigides sont effondrés lorsqu’il électrifie sa guitare. Mais le grand public est au rendez vous et le titre «Like A Rolling Stone» atteint la deuxième place dans les charts américains.

 En 1966, un grave accident de moto immobilise Dylan dans sa maison de Woodstock. La tournée américaine est annulée. Durant une longue convalescence, il enregistre de nombreuses chansons avec The Band, dont certaines seront publiées en 1975 dans les «Basement Tapes ». Avec les albums «John Wesley Harding» et «Nashville skyline», Dylan revient à un amour d’enfance, la country.

Dans les années qui suivent, on peut noter quelques faits marquants de sa vie. En 1968, il se produit lors d’un concert hommage à son idôle de toujours, Woody Guthrie. Le 31 août 1969, c’est le fameux concert à l'île de Wight. («Whiiight is whiiight, Dylaaan is Dylaaan» chantera plus tard Michel Delpech). En 1972, il compose la B.O. du film «Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid». En 1974, l’album «Planet Waves» reçoit un très bon accueil du public. Et en 1976 sort «Desire», un des grands albums de Dylan . Dans la chanson «Hurricane», il s’engage pour la cause du boxeur noir américain Rubin « Hurricane » Carter accusé à tort de meurtre et condamné à mort. La contestation menée par Dylan et Mohamed Ali pèsera lourd dans la libération puis la réhabilitation de cet homme.

En 1979, Bob Dylan se convertit au christianisme. Il rejoint donc le club des stars qui ont vu la lumière…et c’est logiquement, si on peut dire, qu’il sort trois albums religieux, du rock chrétien, avant «Infidels» en 1983. Les années 80 marquent pour lui, comme pour beaucoup de héros des sixties, une traversée du désert. Le public ne le suit plus. En 1989, l’album «Oh Mercy» est l’opus le plus inspiré depuis des années. Parmi ses bons crus, on note «Time Out Of Mind» en 1997 et «Love And Theft» en 2001 qui est récompensé par un Grammy Award.

«No direction home», un double album servant d'illustration sonore au film de Martin Scorsese retraçant la vie de Bob Dylan, est sorti en 2005.

La légende qui entoure Dylan depuis le milieu des années soixante aurait pu nous laisser penser qu’il allait disparaître comme une légende. Mais heureusement pour nous, l’étoile n’est pas filante et il n’aura pas connu le destin d’Hendrix ou de Morrison. Décrit par Ginsberg comme «Le plus grand poète de tous les temps», il a bel et bien survécu aux années soixante dont il fut le porte-voix. De canard. Paru en 2006, "Modern Times" en est une nouvelle preuve.

 A HARD RAIN'S A-GONNA FALL
Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, where have you been, my darling young one?
I've stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains,
I've walked and I've crawled on six crooked highways,
I've stepped in the middle of seven sad forests,
I've been out in front of a dozen dead oceans,
I've been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard,
And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, and it's a hard,
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.
Oh, what did you see, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what did you see, my darling young one?
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it,
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin',
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin',
I saw a white ladder all covered with water,
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken,
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children,
And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.
And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son?
And what did you hear, my darling young one?
I heard the sound of a thunder, it roared out a warnin',
Heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world,
Heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin',
Heard ten thousand whisperin' and nobody listenin',
Heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin',
Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter,
Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley,
And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.
Oh, who did you meet, my blue-eyed son?
Who did you meet, my darling young one?
I met a young child beside a dead pony,
I met a white man who walked a black dog,
I met a young woman whose body was burning,
I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow,
I met one man who was wounded in love,
I met another man who was wounded with hatred,
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.
Oh, what'll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what'll you do now, my darling young one?
I'm a-goin' back out 'fore the rain starts a-fallin',
I'll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest,
Where the people are many and their hands are all empty,
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters,
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison,
Where the executioner's face is always well hidden,
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten,
Where black is the color, where none is the number,
And I'll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it,
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it,
Then I'll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin',
But I'll know my song well before I start singin',
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.
 
 Mr. Tambourine Man
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,
I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to.
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,
In the jingle jangle morning I'll come followin' you.
Though I know that evenin's empire has returned into sand,
Vanished from my hand,
Left me blindly here to stand but still not sleeping.
My weariness amazes me, I'm branded on my feet,
I have no one to meet
And the ancient empty street's too dead for dreaming.
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,
I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to.
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,
In the jingle jangle morning I'll come followin' you.
Take me on a trip upon your magic swirlin' ship,
My senses have been stripped, my hands can't feel to grip,
My toes too numb to step, wait only for my boot heels
To be wanderin'.
I'm ready to go anywhere, I'm ready for to fade
Into my own parade, cast your dancing spell my way,
I promise to go under it.
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,
I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to.
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,
In the jingle jangle morning I'll come followin' you.
Though you might hear laughin', spinnin', swingin' madly across the sun,
It's not aimed at anyone, it's just escapin' on the run
And but for the sky there are no fences facin'.
And if you hear vague traces of skippin' reels of rhyme
To your tambourine in time, it's just a ragged clown behind,
I wouldn't pay it any mind, it's just a shadow you're
Seein' that he's chasing.
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,
I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to.
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,
In the jingle jangle morning I'll come followin' you.
Then take me disappearin' through the smoke rings of my mind,
Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves,
The haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach,
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow.
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free,
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands,
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves,
Let me forget about today until tomorrow.
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,
I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to.
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,
In the jingle jangle morning I'll come followin' you.
 
 Blowin' In The Wind
How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
Yes, 'n' how many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, 'n' how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they're forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,
The answer is blowin' in the wind.
How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, 'n' how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, 'n' how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,
The answer is blowin' in the wind.
How many years can a mountain exist
Before it's washed to the sea?
Yes, 'n' how many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?
Yes, 'n' how many times can a man turn his head,
Pretending he just doesn't see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,
The answer is blowin' in the wind.
 

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