Bob Dylan's Epic Speech At MusiCares Still Has People Talking
February 9, 2015 at 12:47 PM (PT)
BOB DYLAN didn't technically sing a note at last FRIDAY NIGHT's MUSICARES trribute, which reportedly raised more than $7 million for the RECORDING ACADEMY's charity with a star-studded concert that featured BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, NEIL YOUNG, BECK, JACKSON BROWNE, SHERYL CROW and TOM JONES, among others.
In front of a crowd that included former PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER, DYLAN read from a half-hour-long speech that typically ran the gamut, from explaining his songwriting inspiration to excoriating his critics and listing his influences, a mixed bag that included everyone from BILLY LEE RILEY's one hit, "Red Hot" and THE BLACKWOOD BROTHERS' "Stand By Me" to JOHNNY CASH's "Big River" and "I Walked The Line." The LOS ANGELES TIMES ran a complete transcript of the speech, which you can read here.
Along the way, DYLAN wasn't afraid to choose sides, favoring SAM PHILLIPS over AHMET ERTEGUN, DOC POMUS over LEIBER & STOLLER, whom he derided as "novelty songwriters," KRIS KRISTOFFERSON over TOM T. HALL, BUCK OWENS over MERLE HAGGARD, while also paying tribute to those who helped him along the way, including JOHN HAMMOND, LOU LEVY and ARTIE MOGULL (not a word about ALBERT GROSSMAN), and those who covered his songs, a group that included PETER, PAUL & MARY, JOAN BAEZ, JIMI HENDRIX, THE STAPLES SINGERS, NINA SIMONE, THE BYRDS, THE TURTLES and SONNY & CHER.
"Their versions of my songs were like commercials. So that was good, too. I was glad it happened, and I was glad they'd done it," he said.
DYLAN then described how songs like JOHNNY CASH's "Five Feet High and Rising" turned into his own "It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)," or BIG BILL BROONZY's "Key To The HIghway" led directly to "Highway 61 Revisited."
BOB also couched on the lifelong criticism of his singing, diction and mangled lyrics, which has become even more grizzled in recent times, pointing out the same barba aren't aimed at TOM WAITS, LEONARD COHEN, DR. JOHN or LOU REED, let alone MUDDY WATERS, CHARLEY PATTON and .ROBERT JOHNSON.
Describing the blues, he said: "A lot of people don't know this, but the blues, which is an American music, is not what you thinkit is. It's a combination of Arabic violins and Strauss waltzes working it out. But it's true."
DYLAN ended his talk by taking a shot at the ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME and finally, after claiming, "I'm going to put an egg in his shoe and beat it," he bid adieu: "Like the spiritual song, 'I'm still just crossing over JORDAN, too.' Let's hope we meet again. Sometime. And we will, if, like HANK WILLIAMS said, 'The good lord willing and the creek don't rise."