It has now because my habit to begin each new week in the LongAndWastedYear by looking at the new advertising that has been created through the licensing of Bob Dylan music. Let’s not have an exception, this is a good one.
In 2012 Bob Dylan let Brother printers advertise a new line of quieter printers through an electronic symphonic performance of his classic work, “The Times They Are a-Changin'”. Over on Vimeo there is a little write-up about this clip from Chris Cairns, one of the people who put this together for Brother. He notes that the MIDI system will allow this to play other songs as well, or even to perform music live. I’m not sure if that ever came to pass, but what they’ve done here is actually extremely clever. Indeed, so clever is it that I’ve now wasted a whole bunch of time watching the other videos on the website of IsThisGood? I liked “Ghost Writer” the best, but everything over there is worth checking out – glad to have come across these guys who blend technology and art in interesting ways.
So, good ad here. I think you could possibly object to it on ideological grounds if you don’t think a generational song like “Times” should be used to sell quiet printers (I have no idea if they are actually quiet, by the way). If you believe, however, that a song like “Times” should be the source of inspiration for cool art – even if that art is used to sell quiet printers – then the above ad is for you.
I haven’t written a great deal about singers who have covered Bob Dylan on this blog, but the news today of Joe Cocker’s passing makes me want to note that he was one of the best in this genre. His best known cover is certainly his 1969 version of “Just Like a Woman”, which was the last song on side one of Cocker’s debut album: With a Little Help From My Friends (the same album ended side two with a cover of “I Shall Be Released”). I’ve put that up top here.
Grooveshark has actually had someone compile a lovely little collection of nine Dylan covers by Cocker – including the unlikely “Catfish”! I’ll be listening to this play list today and thinking about the late, great Joe Cocker. Rest in peace.
To my fans and followers
Allow me to clarify a couple of things about this so-called China controversy which has been going on for over a year. First of all, we were never denied permission to play in China. This was all drummed up by a Chinese promoter who was trying to get me to come there after playing Japan and Korea. My guess is that the guy printed up tickets and made promises to certain groups without any agreements being made. We had no intention of playing China at that time, and when it didn’t happen most likely the promoter had to save face by issuing statements that the Chinese Ministry had refused permission for me to play there to get himself off the hook. If anybody had bothered to check with the Chinese authorities, it would have been clear that the Chinese authorities were unaware of the whole thing.
We did go there this year under a different promoter. According to Mojo magazine the concerts were attended mostly by ex-pats and there were a lot of empty seats. Not true. If anybody wants to check with any of the concert-goers they will see that it was mostly Chinese young people that came. Very few ex-pats if any. The ex-pats were mostly in Hong Kong not Beijing. Out of 13,000 seats we sold about 12,000 of them, and the rest of the tickets were given away to orphanages. The Chinese press did tout me as a sixties icon, however, and posted my picture all over the place with Joan Baez, Che Guevara, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. The concert attendees probably wouldn’t have known about any of those people. Regardless, they responded enthusiastically to the songs on my last 4 or 5 records. Ask anyone who was there. They were young and my feeling was that they wouldn’t have known my early songs anyway.
As far as censorship goes, the Chinese government had asked for the names of the songs that I would be playing. There’s no logical answer to that, so we sent them the set lists from the previous 3 months. If there were any songs, verses or lines censored, nobody ever told me about it and we played all the songs that we intended to play.
Everybody knows by now that there’s a gazillion books on me either out or coming out in the near future. So I’m encouraging anybody who’s ever met me, heard me or even seen me, to get in on the action and scribble their own book. You never know, somebody might have a great book in them.