(Page 2 of 2)
In last week’s New York Times, Shaun Considine, coordinator of new releases at Columbia in 1965, breathlessly recounted how he rescued “Like a Rolling Stone” from the slush pile and introduced it at a popular East Side disco. “By August it was in the [Billboard] Top Ten, rising to Number 2,” he says. Wow. The Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” (#179) was the #1 record (and Saturday Night Fever the #1 album) for almost an entire year and defined the Disco era. (As John Updike wrote, they were “three white men who managed to sound exactly like black women.”) But then Disco was distinctly apolitical. As one critic sneered, it was “the sound of black upward mobility.”
Dylan’s pop success remains largely a media phenomenon. His albums do not sell particularly well, rising quickly the first few weeks as cult followers run to the stores, then fading away. Like Laura Nyro and Carole King, he is an artist whose material has been best performed by others.
So how does “Like A Rolling Stone” emerge as the Greatest Hit of All Time? Because it is a landmark to Sixties-bred radicals who like to think of American history as “Things That Happened To Us.” “Like a Rolling Stone” still marks that first joyous 1965 uniting of protest songs and electric guitars. It was a political event, not a musical moment.
The greatest rock ‘n’ roll song of all time? For generating great music, Dylan couldn’t even tune Elvis’s guitar.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?