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Monday, January 09, 2006

Top 10 Reasons Why Neil Young is Better Than Bob Dylan

Neil Young and Bob Dylan - 1986

First, Thrasher stumbles on this photo of Neil and Bob on Dylan Pool: Re: I'm confused about Dylan on Young. Cool, it's always nice to see Bob & Neil hangin' out.

Then along comes Eight Track Mind's take on the "Top 10 Reasons Why Neil Young is Better Than Bob Dylan".
1. Better Voice
2. Better Guitar Player
3. Better Good-to-Bad Song Ratio
4. Neil Never Sold His Music To a Commercial
5. Neil Embraces the Younger Generation of Musicians
6. No One Plays Neil Songs Better Than Neil
7. Farm Aid & The Bridge School Benefit Concerts
8. Neil Is More Diverse
9. Neil Never Played With The Dead
10. Because I Like to Piss People Off

Eight Track Mind deconstructs each argument point by point. To say some of the reasoning is provocative would be an understatement.

Consider Eight Track Mind's Point #9 - Neil Never Played With The Dead:
"I'm not talking about opening for the Dead or even just sitting in to jam with them. Dylan toured, played, and recorded an entire album with them that most people would agree was not a career highlight for either of these greats. Did Dylan really need the Dead to revive his career? Aren't the Dead basically a Dylan cover band anyhow? I'm all for musicians getting together and combining their skills to create music. But there was no real legitimate reason for Dylan to make this career move unless he was motivated by money. I've seen Neil sit in with the Dead, Led Zeppelin, and tour with Booker T. & the MG's. But he never recorded and released albums with these guys. The Dylan/Dead fiasco was nothing more than a marketing gimmick and the Dead getting to play with their idol."

Last we checked, Booker T. & the MG's did record on 2002's Are You Passionate? Grateful Dead fans are probably less than thrilled with the smackdown. We'll wait for the Dylanologists' rebuttal. Should be an interesting reaction.

All of which kinda reminds us of that debate: "'Who is better - Neil Young or Bob Dylan?' " from awhile ago...

UPDATE 1/10: OK, based on the flood of comments below, I guess some folks failed to find the humor in this and it took it rather literally. Probably should have posted on April 1 instead. Although, Thrasher kinda assumed that the photo would put to rest any discussion of a rivalry. Regular readers know that -- like Lynyrd Skynyrd vs. Neil -- Thrasher finds this kind of debate rather silly as well and it's a really stupid question. Anyways, it was sort of an interesting exercise. Boy, this sure did generate a lot of traffic, comments & hate mail. Live & learn. So much for the New Year's resolution to start the year off with a bang!

UPDATE 1/13: For more on the furious reaction to this post, see Top 10 Reasons Not to Goof With Bob Dylan Fans.

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At 1/08/2006 10:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jerry's probably spinning in his grave right now.

At 1/08/2006 10:44:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aren't the Dead basically a Dylan cover band anyhow?

Say what????

At 1/09/2006 05:32:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Yeah, all of that is really true, but, aren§t we listening to both of heros for another reasons than "the best of voice/record/sound/playing",etc...???? And flamewared of course....
Yeah, I dont like bobbies fanatics, so i enjoyed that "list of obvious truths".

At 1/09/2006 06:56:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And the Number 1 reason Neil is better than Bob? ...... Neil was instrumental in developing a remote control system and realistic Railsounds for Lionel trains, of which he is a 20 percent owner.

At 1/09/2006 07:49:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dylan has alsoplayed with the Dead..many times. Dylan also embraces younger musicians too, playing with Jack White, Nora Jones, Elliot Smith, Greencards, etc,etc,etc...I respect your opinions but they are like the argument very verk WEAK

At 1/09/2006 08:19:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil never played with the Dead ? Come on, he did at least one song with the Dead. A Bob Dylan-song called Forever Young ...

And anyway, what do you think Neil thinks about this , huh ? Neil knows were he's comming from , fosure .

At 1/09/2006 09:38:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great photo. Anymore info on where taken or circumstances? Maybe backstage?

At 1/09/2006 10:13:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Neil said soemthing like he was a B student of Bob's?

At 1/09/2006 11:15:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

jeez, people, you gotta have something better to do...

i don't recall bob ever saying he was better than neil. i think they'd both think y'all are LOSERS.

At 1/09/2006 02:33:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Top Ten Reasons Dylan is Better.

1. Better songwriter...The best ever!

2. Played Farm Aid, We are the world and The concert for Bangladesh among others.

3. Praised Mr.Young in a recent song. "I'm listening to Neil Young gotta turn up the sound!"

4. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the poet laureate of rock 'n' roll. The voice of the promise of the '60s counterculture. The guy who forced folk into bed with rock, who donned makeup in the '70s and disappeared into a haze of substance abuse, who emerged to find Jesus, and who suddenly shifted gears, releasing some of the strongest music of his career beginning in the late '90s.

5. Never wrote a lyric about what "chris rock said"!

6. Underated guitar player.

7. Dylan is far more diverse! What are you talking about? Have you listened to Dylan?

8. Sold his song to womens undergarments!

9. Never stops touring!

10. Cause I said!

At 1/09/2006 05:19:00 PM, Blogger JimDC821 said...

Hey, that reminds me of something Kanye West said... oops, sorry, I thought I was songwriting again...

okay, Neil has gotten a little sloppy with some of his lyrics... however, one can't say that he turned to stone like a few others I know..

At 1/09/2006 07:33:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't this like arguing who's better Michelangelo or DaVinci? They're both friggin geniuses.

At 1/09/2006 09:12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Garcia and Neil traded licks at least once--WHAT ARE THEIR NAMES? on Crosby's first "solo" album...Yes it IS Garcia and it IS Neil...All you need are ears...

At 1/10/2006 12:09:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're an idiot.

At 1/10/2006 09:25:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

that 8 track dude is whacked

At 1/10/2006 09:27:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jerry spinning?! Bob is twirling and Neil is laughing.

At 1/10/2006 10:35:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Top Ten Reasons Dylan is Better - touche!

At 1/10/2006 01:36:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

that kind statement is pointless

Both are second to none

At 1/10/2006 01:41:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil Young did indeed play 15 dates with the Dead in 1991. If you will go to the site "" and search Neil Young you will see a video of Neil singing "Forever Young" in Golden Gate Park which was one of the 15 dates Neil did with The Dead. He has also recorded on at least two studio albums with same.

At 1/10/2006 04:02:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow,the "Top Ten Reasons Dylan is Better"is more babyhood.

Neil performs Forever Young is plays with DEAD,so can I say Dylan is the DEAD?

At 1/10/2006 04:47:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is Jaded Bitterman, the author of the list that seems to be causing so many people's anger levels to rise. Please read it again and find me one spot where I say Dylan sucks? This list was NOT about bashing Dylan (I mention his genius over and over people) So if you want to keep sending me hate email, pleas do so. Just realize that I will post them on MY site. You want to come to Washington, DC to see my band, feel free. You can throw shit at me all night. Especially during our cover of "Revolution Blues". Love, Jaded Bitterman.

At 1/10/2006 08:07:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having slept with both of them, I'd have to say that Leonard Cohen was the best.

At 1/10/2006 08:25:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

turns out some of Neil's fans are as brainless and narrow-minded as some Deadheads

At 1/10/2006 09:28:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

stupid fuckin neil young fans—at least dylan never played with pearl jam.
or crazy pony.

At 1/10/2006 09:29:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

can't we all just get along?

At 1/10/2006 11:16:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey Jaded, what's the name of the band ?

At 1/12/2006 09:00:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Imagine citing a Grammy award as proof that one musician is better than another. Good lord. The Grammy is the most meaningless "honor" of all the industry awards. Does a Grammy mean that The Carpenters are better than Neil Young too?

At 1/12/2006 09:52:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. Neil's tendency to make one-off right wing political statements (e.g. Let's Roll)
2. Everybody's Rockin'
3. Neil does not regularly tour with The Horse, his best band and he obviously knows this fact.
4. Neil Stopped selling "Greendale High" t-shirts on-line
5. Bob's influence allowed the Beatles to write and record Rubber Soul
6. Bob is an American and Neil is Canadian
7. If there is another CSNY reunion and I have to see Graham Nash on stage, I may off myself
8. More jawas on stage would have made Live Rust a better video
9. Neil has never been called Judas.
10. Neil hasn't invited me to the Broken Arrow yet.

At 1/12/2006 01:54:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil Played with the dead actually. He covered Forever Young with the band at the Bill Graham Memorial Concert in Golden Gate Park.

At 1/13/2006 03:35:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes Yes that's what I said about 12 messsages up on this page....Neil is playing with the Dead and you can see the video on sometimes before you post....duh....

At 1/17/2006 12:06:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Top two reasons Neil is better than Bob:
1. Powderfinger
2. Ambulance Blues

At 1/17/2006 04:59:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't Bob play on Zuma, I thought I read that in Shakey.

At 1/18/2006 10:25:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think people who speak in metaphors should shampoo my CROTCH!
Anyway, Dylan has better hair!

At 1/22/2006 11:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil has trimmed fingernails,compared to Bobs' rather long nails, which is much more hygeinic when wiping things clean.

At 1/29/2006 07:59:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil Young invented the internet!

At 2/07/2006 10:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bernard Shakey does'nt own a computer or a television, let alone use or watch either. So we should all just turn out the lights in our rooms, put the VINYL on the turntable, and just listen and dream,just like the way it started out and just like the way it is supposed to be!

At 2/21/2006 07:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No Phish. No Neal. No Dead= No Phish which equals No Neal. Sorry buddy but your one of ten people who like Neal so go take your small penis and put it back in your mom.

At 3/11/2006 10:14:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the ten people that like Neil? No Phish, no Dead= a dull existence & maybe someone ought to bring you out on the prairie, feed you some acid & bury you alive!Ya freak! I don't really care if I ever see Phish again but we should all be taking advantage of the fact that we can still go see Neil, Bob, Bobby & all the other guy's from the Dead. After all these years we should all cherish the time we've got left on this planet with the best music & song writers of all time. After all what's next? There aren't any more Bob's Neil's or Jerry's being bread these days, are there. Ya & that dickless moron with the filthy mouth must be one of the 10 people that doesn't share a positive vibe with the rest of us hippies anyway.So to you I say "Drop Dead in Canada"(no offence to the rest of Canada)

At 4/21/2006 03:48:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neal Young is a poor man's bob Dylan and i got money.

At 4/24/2006 04:38:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hit the link to the actual annotated list and was sorry to see there were no examples backing up the "good song to bad song ratio." The way I see it is this:
Good Song: Tangled Up in Blue
Bad Song: When You Gonna Wake Up
Good Song: Down By the River
Bad Song: that idiotic love song about fish on American Stars and Bars
I'd say Bob wins the match. Let's try another one:
Good Song: Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands
Bad Song: Handy Dandy
Good Song: Powderfinger
Bad Song: Lotta Love
That one's closer, but I'd still give the edge to Bob

At 4/26/2006 02:15:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

fuck I loved that song "will to love" on american stars and bars

At 9/04/2006 10:11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Visions of Johanna, Just Like a Woman, Stuck Inside of Mobile, Sad-eyed lady, Highway 61, Desolation Row, Tombstone Blues, Mr. Tamborine Man, Baby Blue, She belongs to me, Hard rain......Neil Young is a great artist, but he dreams he was Dylan. Nice try.

At 9/15/2006 12:49:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the authorized biography Shakey , when asked by author Jimmy McDonough about Dylan's musical influence, Neil Young refers to himself as "a 'B student' of Bob Dylan."

i have only read the first few lines of this site and a few responses...i apolagise in advance if u corect this... but you quote young as saying dylan is a "B" of himself, please tell me you havent taken this out of the 'contex.. he is most prob refering to the 'Beat' Generation of poets, not bob being a 'b' in comparison.

This site is fucked up, im pretty sure if u asked neil he would say zimmerman is a prophet

At 9/24/2006 10:06:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil Young is a better guitar player than anyone i have ever heard. and NEVER say lotta love is a bad song. its great. Neil pushes the boundaries of music. bob just steals others peoples stuff and calls it his own. Dont get me wrong I love Dylan but Neil is the man

At 9/26/2006 01:24:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love alot of Neil's early stuff, but he can be very weak on lyric and rhyme. As Ginsberg said, one of the best rhymes ever writted was Dylan's "skull with capital" from Idiot Wind. There's simply no comparison of their lyric and wordsmith skill. Dylan is the Walt Whitman of songwriters.

At 10/10/2006 07:16:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alright first of all there wouldnt be a Neil Young without Dylan, there wouldnt be a Sgt. Peppers Lonely Heart Band without Dylan and there woulldnt be From Big Pink without Dylan. and all three are monumental to the true rock music we all know and love. And youj should not even comment on the dead if u dare think they are a dylan cover band, newsflash buddy dylan and the dead arent in it for the money and listen to some live dead if u want to have ur universe rocked

At 10/13/2006 04:36:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They are both great artists although I listen to more of Neil's material. They are also both very appreciate of the old blues music. So am I. If you get a chance listen to Bob Dylan's new release 'Modern Times'. It has some re-workings of old blues classics and some great mellow songs. You need the lyrics sheets though.

At 11/06/2006 04:30:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't believe you! I rate Bob Dylan's latest releases as some of the best work he has done. My only gripe is the lack of printed lyrics with the CD's. As Bob Dylan's songs are all about the words that must be some sort of criminal offence! At least I can print them off from the internet. Thank you a-z lyrics!

At 12/06/2006 02:15:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

neil can write and play good music even today (2006) such as 'greendale' it's the best album since 'rust never sleep', but bob cannot, he cannot write and sing well after 80.

At 12/07/2006 02:16:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

neil young is the second most influential singer and song-writer since 60' [bob dylan is the number one.

At 12/27/2006 07:26:00 AM, Blogger Caleb said...

Are you kidding? Dylan's voice beats Young's hands-down. And I've never heard a Dylan cover that was better than the original. Though - i guess i'm in the minority on both of these points...

Everybody knows that Young is a better guitarist and musician, but Dylan is not only a better songwriter, he's THE best songwriter. So that means he wins hands-down.

A better debate would be Bob Dylan vs. Lou Reed.

At 1/05/2007 12:33:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If Not For You" on All Things Must Pass is better than Dylan's version. That's the only one I can think of.
By the way, maybe Neil Young's voice is better than one of Bob's vocal incarnations...but definitely not the one that sang "Oxford Town," or the one that sang "It Takes a Lot to Laugh It Takes a Train to Cry," or "Visions of Johanna," or "Lay Lady Lay," or "Forever Young."

And as for modern times (eh, pun, whatever), even though Dylan's latest album is kinda a steal-fest (the iPod commercial(!?)/radio song sounds like just like "Trouble no More"), at least he's not screaming "Let's Impeach the President." I'm all for having opinions and what not, but if you're going to be making such a loud, proud kind of statement at least be classy about it...

At 1/06/2007 03:12:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil Young > Bob Dylan

Neil Young is a better guitarist(and musician) than Dylan, and a stronger more enduring musician(than the seemingly brain-dead Dylan) which is often overlooked by his abundant political activism found within his popular hits, such as Keep On Rocking in the Free World, Ohio,etc. Also, although Dylan is the superior songwriter of the two(three if you include the Dead), his music is better played by other talented musicians( such as All Along the Watchtower covered by Hendrix) or by the local high school garage band that plays in your neighbor's basement for that matter. Vocally I will say that Bob Dylan does have a better voice in certain songs(Lay Lady Lay, for example), but these songs are not what most radio listeners remember. I mean most of the Dylan songs most easily recognized by listeners focus on the screechy, raspy and yappy vocals of Dylan such as: Rainy Day Women or Like a Rolling Stone, just to name a few. Yes I would agree that Neil Young does not have the world's greatest voice either, but there is really nothing that can be done to change the nasal sound of his voice(ask any music student). Although these last few statements may seem trivial to some of the viewers out there, these facts will stand on there own: Bob Dylan will never be inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame on 3 separate occasion as will Neil Young (CSNY, Buffalo Springfield, and Crazy Horse/ solo career), nor will Bob Dylan have 2 guitar solos within the top 100 of the greatest solo's of all time (Cortez the Killer, and Cinnamon Girl). What's even more ironic is that the only time that Young's Canadian nationality is brought is when his opponents can't think of something anything to criticize him for, whereas Bob Dylan you can criticize him for his horrible interview etiquette, or his strange appearance within a Victoria Secret commercial ( I don't think a creepy and haggard looking old man does well to sell quality clothing such as Victoria Secret),among a HUGE list of other things, and yet people think Neil Young is a sellout! And the fact that Neil considers himself a B student of Dylan is because his specialty isnt the same type of music that Dylan plays today, and this comment is a way to show respect to an elderly musician as is Dylan. I think the Young haters need to look past the nationality and the stereotyping of Young into only a political songwriter, but look at his overall better musicianship

So let's re-cap

Vocal ability: Young <--> Dylan
Guitar playing: Young > Dylan
Selling Out: Young < Dylan
Career Endurance: Young(After the Garden) > Dylan (Thunder On the Mountain)
HOF nominations: Young 3 (4 including an induction into the Canadian Hall of Fame), Dylan 1
Overall: Young > Dylan

And to the last "anonymous" post, mocking Young's "Let's impeach the President" song, I say to you, your words are those of a sell out Bob Dylan fanatic, because a Canadian and proven legend who is more of a patriot and lover of freedom than many "true-blue" Americans, should not be stiffled by a mere material image, he can leave that worry to Dylan instead.

At 1/11/2007 12:02:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I can add is I am currently listening to, for the first time, Bob Dylan’s 1993 album ‘World Gone Wrong’, which has his renditions of traditional songs. There’s just Dylan’s unique singing voice, his very fine acoustic guitar playing and great songs. To me it is sheer class and a benchmark for any singer/songwriter / musician, anywhere. A true artist.

At 2/28/2007 12:01:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think there's something really annoying going on when people are blind fans of someone who they have never been friends with. In this respect, I fully agree about the atrocity which is Dylan's selling out: I mean, seriously? the Gap?. Who knew he'd do something so lame? It taints him permanently for me. And I have always been a bigger lover of Neil Young's work than of Dylan's overall. Those things being said however Jaded, I think you have grossly underplayed Bob Dylan's guitar abilities, as well as his voice. Dylan's finger-picking style is something to behold. I site for you "Talkin WWIII Blues". He also has one of the most unique ways of braiding together vocals and rhythm I've ever heard. And to tell you the truth, the more I hear the more I love it, and recognize its brilliance. Props to both of them musically. I also encourage you to check out "Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie" which is a spoken poem by Dylan.

At 4/16/2007 06:01:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a personal pantheon of three. Dylan, Young, Smith so I could care less. All three are amazing. Patti covering Neil? All I need is Dylan on backing vocals or plucking the banjo.

At 4/16/2007 10:09:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what is it with people who try to make a contest out of art? i dont think you really get either artist...

At 4/27/2007 04:00:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jerry Garcia plays steel guitar on Teach Your Children. The Grateful Dead is one of the best bands there ever was. Bob Dylan is a poet. Bob Dylan made Neil Young. And if you've ever heard the Dylan and the Dead CD, it is atrocious. Dylan didn't need that CD to boost his career because the CD is horrible.

At 5/27/2007 08:30:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Top 10 reasons why NY is better than BD???"

You just don't get it, do you? Neil himself would be embarrased (if he could be bothered to give it a nano-second of his thought time, which I doubt) and see you as nothing more than a narrow minded fan (and I love Neil Young). Try to remember that you're not comparing 2 athletes to see who can jump higher, or run faster. These are 2 artists doing their own thing, blazing their own trail, expressing their own thoughts and feelings, and who have mutual respect for each other.
However, if you wanted to talk about the original trailblazer, innovator, the one who brought existentialism and artistic intellect to rock and roll and showed everyone how to fuse blues, folk, country, rock and roll, anarchy, truth, to hell with the consequences, courage, sensitivity, and sheer poetic beauty, with a knack for writing memorable melodies, and in doing so became the one that everyone who followed looked upon as being THE ONE who changed things, and has for better or worse (and that bit's important too) has stayed true to his vision, and is widely accepted as being an absolute colossus... I'd have to say it's Dylan - and from what I've read about what Neil thinks... he seems to agree.

At 6/29/2007 03:20:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dylan definitely makes a better elevator-handshake pie, but Neil is way better at barbequed pickles. Therefore, I too nominate Leonard Cohen. Besides, Janis Joplin would rather sleep with Kris Kristofferson.

At 7/20/2007 01:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only thing you got right is #10. It is abundantly apparent that you love to "piss people off". That, of course, is a sure sign of mental illness.

Young is great. But, Dylan's talent is one of those rare immortal kinds of talent. Has he written bad tunes? Sure. It can't be helped after writing 500 songs. Did Pacasso paint some pictures he wasn't proud of? Sure.

As far as songwriting talent, Dylan stands head and shoulders above the rest.

Young is more consistent in concert, but when Dylan is on, he is, as Jack Nicholson once said, "Transcendent". The only way you can say that about Young is if you are on serious psychedelics.

At 8/24/2007 10:26:00 PM, Blogger Maybeimamazed said...

Wow....what a thread!

Neil? Bob? Jerry?


How about this ranking: Bob, Jerry, Neil (purely on age).

They all contributed so much to rock-n-roll.

Talk about apples and oranges!

At 8/29/2007 05:14:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i don't get the attraction to bob dylan, never have, i am quite certain that i never will. i can say that about the greatful dead too - sorry guys. never heard a single dead song that i didn't want to turn off. dylan, one or two tolerable songs but neil..
neil is the best. down by the river is a guitar masterpiece that still gives me shivers every time i listen to it. on the beach, harvest, everyone knows this nowhere, zuma-wow! this guy can write and play and yes SING!
nothing beats twangy neil.

At 9/06/2007 04:02:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

bob dylan is better, that's pretty much fact. that said, all the points this guy made are valid. Better guitarist, never sold out, more charity etc. Also, in terms of songwriting, neil is as close as anyone to bob. the only place where he's really blown out is influence. He did build the foundations of grunge, but dylan's influence can still be heard in a diluted form today. Also, this thing is purely perspective. You can (sorta) measure importance and creativity, but there is only opinion when it comes to judging the lyrics+music.

At 12/02/2007 09:10:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

First of all, great site...a place for folks to puff up their chests via electronic letters, posing as soldiers of their respective generals. Let's hear you all pick up a guitar and do somethin' with it!

Fans' personal preferences keeps musicians honest and creative (in addition to their own inner natures, which are more mysterious to the average superfan, such as yours truly, than our own self-righteous opinions will ever allow us to see, keeping the twisted cycle of Rock n Roll movin' right along), so it is good for us to pick a favorite, but to say that another artist who clearly deserves praise outright stinks to high heaven is absurd. Honestly...

SOMEbody's gotta be 2nd place, right?

Well, lookout Joe, we're goin' home, cuz my name's August West and I love my Jerry Garcia best playin' a slieeiihide. (I feel that Weir, Lesh, Kreutzmann, McKernon, Hart, both Godchaux's, MYDLAND!!!, Constanten, Welnick, Hornsby, and other Grateful Dead deserve most honorable mention.)

Sometimes, though, I need other worldly inspiration, say from, oh, a girl like Botticelli's neice. She told me she'd be right there with me, when I paint my masterpiece, that is.

But there is only one cat who can mellow my mind like Neil Young, and...actually, that is Neil Young. And he has so much more to show me.

At 12/05/2007 04:59:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pretty humorous read that I just found here with this thread.

I am a huge Neil fan and a pretty big Dylan fan since I started buying records in '79. I have the entire back catalog of both artists.

IMHO, if you HAD to compare, their voices are a toss up. Both a very unique.

Dylan's writing cannot be compared to Neil's. Dylan is the best we may ever encounter.

As for Neil (again, my all-time favorite), you have to be pretty much deaf to think that his voice is still great. Please take a listen to Like a Hurricane solo on the pump organ. It truly hurts.

CSN have to be the worst show that I have seen in the past five years. Those guys (esp. Stills) are gone (and I LOVE Crosby).

Again, IMHO, aside from some nice tunes on Harvest Wind, Neil hasn't put out anything since Hawks and Doves that is worth much.

Neil is a fine acoustic guitarist with an interest mix of tunings and pretty cool style of vamping but to rate his electric guitar playing in the top 50 of all-time greats > no way! Single note soloing with great energy doesn't rank. Great solos are about technical skills and I'm not talking about just EVH speed.

At 12/05/2007 05:00:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Harvest Moon not Harvest Wind. Oops

At 12/11/2007 01:31:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a guitar player, its obvious that dylan is a better guitar player than neil young. Neil just has a better stage presence(and hes a hacker)dylan doesnt give a shit about a 10 minute solo. Dylan uses very weird and difficult chords in many of his earlier songs. Neil is an awsome "sounding" guitar player, but he a three chord slammer kinda guy. Usually thats enought to sound like he knows what hes doin. I think neil knows that hes not very good I think thats why he never plays with very talented musicians like dylan does.As fer whos the bigger sell out? They both are ha dylan sells songs every day of the week and neil young bashes mtv and then does an unplugged album a few weeks after dylan does. I think dylan is having fun with the whole selling out idea now. Like the victoria secret commercial or the i pod commercial. I think it may have something to do with "modern times" because the man obviously needs no more money so why not right?

At 12/26/2007 07:46:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree 100% with your list. It's so true, and now that you say it, it's even more blatant!
Good job.
Btw. i still like Bob Dylan

At 12/26/2007 07:48:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

couldn't agree more with the list. Very funny (and blatantly true)! Good Job

At 1/16/2008 04:21:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well... I've been spending a lot of time with Dylan records over the last two years... and I'm just finally getting into Young... and as far as judging one of them to be better... beats me. They are both unbelievable. I don't even think I could fully fathom how good each of them are... so I don't think I'd ever be able to say one was better than the other.

What I will say is that everyone should try to look up the song "I'm Not There (1956)" by Dylan... it's a rarity but can be found... and might be Dylan's greatest song, or at least tied for it. I wonder if Neil's ever heard it...

At 2/14/2008 07:17:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil has written more love songs than Bob, & sings with a passion for love. Bob is a worldly writer where Neil is straight from the heart.

At 2/23/2008 01:57:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dylan was the man in early 60,s Young took over late sixtys.Dylan stayed complacent.Young rocked us out.Folk ,rock ,country he has done it all

At 3/28/2008 03:28:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's another way Dylan is better than ol' Neil: while Dylan looks like a Yeshiva school dropout at best and a grizzled old Spaniard at worst, at least he doesn't have the blunt features and thick brow of a Neanderthal.

At 3/28/2008 03:28:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's another way Dylan is better than ol' Neil: while Dylan looks like a Yeshiva school dropout at best and a grizzled old Spaniard at worst, at least he doesn't have the blunt features and thick brow of a Neanderthal.

At 6/04/2008 03:50:00 AM, Blogger lil_Raggie said...

Never bought a Dylan record. Got every record Neil ever recorded, then every DVD. That speaks for itself. I could never warm to Dylan.

At 7/04/2008 04:26:00 PM, Blogger mweldon said...

It's pointless trying to compare two great artists. However, it must be said that the 10 reasons are correct!

At 9/11/2008 12:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil = Better melodies
Dylan = Better lyrics

Depends on what you deem more important...

At 10/25/2008 02:21:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all I'm a huge Bob Dylan fan, I knew most of Dylan's songs even before I heard the name of Neil. I am just back from Bob Dylan show and I was in Neil Young show two days ago. Neil Young is way way better than Bob Dylan on the stage. I am really disappointed with Dylan's style on the stage. He just ruins his classic songs. Time are a-changin' with electric guitar and drums? come on...

At 11/08/2008 10:13:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forgive me, if some do not think this is the venue for a review of Bob Dylan’s concert of election night (Nov. 4) on the campus of the University of Minnesota, but this morning, I cannot but help think of Neil Young.

On election night, Northrup Auditorium was packed to the rafters with excited Dylan fans – the majority of them still students – who had just voted for Obama and were brought together to celebrate with Bob in what everyone anticipated to be an electric, memorable night. My wife and I brought our two teenage sons, both aspiring guitar players, to witness Bob’s first performance at the University of Minnesota since he packed his guitar case and headed to New York in the winter of 1960. Dylan, specifically sought out that night and that venue, rescheduling the concert’s commencement from his customary 7:30 to 8:00 to accommodate a University rule that no functions begin on campus until poles close on election day.

I’ve seen Dylan many times over the years and I know he can be hit and miss. I’m not one of those who finds his continuous reworking and reinterpretations of his older songs problematic – often the new arrangements bring freshness and new insight to an old friend. I’m also someone who is really enjoys his newer songs – Love and Theft is in constant rotation in my car’s CD. So I came to last night’s concert open and ready for what Bob had to offer on this historic night, among college students at the only campus he ever roamed.

The performance was an utter disaster. His band rocked but Dylan’s performance was less than flat – it was pathetic. In an auditorium renown for its superlative acoustics, Dylan’s voice was utterly inaudible. On many songs (such as his second, the night-appropriate Times They Are a Changin’) it was the second verse before I discerned what the song even was. The entire night, he stood behind his keyboard (he only picked up the guitar for part of one song) and growled unintelligible, undecipherable words into the mic – never speaking or acknowledging the significance of the night until his encore (that’s not unusual for Bob, I know, but on this night?). Even his song choice showed a lack of sensitivity to the evening.

So, that brings me to Neil. I saw Neil Young live about two weeks ago at the nearby Excel Energy Center and almost one year ago in the very auditorium that Dylan performed in last night. The performance, the musicianship, the set lists, and yes, even the songs, delivered by Neil Young were far superior to Bob Dylan. On this forum, there have been many who complain about Neil Young’s ticket prices. Let me tell you something – with Neil you get your money’s worth. He cares about the sound, he cares about the set, you can feel with every fiber in your body that he is there to deliver. He owes it to this audience. Neil is not afraid to be naked with his guitar and his audience responds to that courage. Dylan shows no courage. His instrument (voice) his in such god-awful shape these days that it’s wonder he can get anything sound out of it at all – yet he isn’t canceling dates to rest it or canceling out, period. Instead, he swindles money outta unsuspecting idiots like me who have come to expect a level of a standard in professionalism set by Neil.

Like so many of you, I believe Neil and Bob are cut from the same cloth. Debates about “who is better” Neil or Bob, come up here and elsewhere. There is past and there is present. Neil Young is in the present – still relevant, still energetic, still delivering “all that he can give”. Bob Dylan is a carnival side show – a legend cast in wax. Dylan’s harp work was pathetic. His phrasing was beyond the cartoonish lampoon of mimicry that some apply to him. He doesn’t rob his audiences with a fountain pen – he picks there pockets as they walk through the turnstiles.

This was the first concert my two sons have attended. As we walked out, they asked, “Is this typical for live shows?” I shook my head and replied, “You should’ve come with me two weeks ago when Neil came to town. Now THAT was a show. So, if any of you have any ideas that a night with Bob Dylan is worth even the opportunity cost of missing this week’s episode of Lost – do yourself a favor and stay home (and crank up Powderfinger).

At 11/18/2008 07:14:00 PM, Blogger Cianflone said...

Funny stuff all around. Huge Deadhead, Huge Neil Freak, and Huge Dylan fan here, so I'll try not to rate them, except to simply note that in my (admittedly hasty) review of the posts above - some interesting, some totally insane - I haven't seen mention of what I consider to be the single greatest album ever recorded: Blood on the Tracks. And as for a few folks suggesting that Dylan hasn't done much since the 60s ... forget about his recent albums, have you heard his early-mid 70s stuff? Planet Waves, Desire, New Morning, plus the Live '74 Tour with the Band and the '75-76 Rolling Thunder Review? Not too mention the various outtakes and alternate takes from this period. In my opinion, better than the mid-60s! Final point re: backup bands: Crazy Horse rocks my world, and I think the Dead's the greatest band ever ("warts and all"), but has there ever been a better backup band than The Band? Check off another for Zimmy.

At 1/27/2009 11:20:00 AM, Blogger BiologyHouse said...

Neil Young is a great artist, singer, writer and performer but he could never have written and performed effectively for the times in which they were written some of Dylan's greatest songs from the 60's. Hard Rain, God on our side (with or without Dominic Behan's claim), Spanish Boots, Love minus zero, Tamborine Man, Subterranean Home Sick Blues, Baby Blue, Its alright Ma, Rolling Stone, Desolation Row, Ballad of a Thin Man, Visions of Johanna, Memphis Blues, Just like a Woman, Sad-eyed Lady, St. Augustine. Neil is great but in his songs there may be one or two punchline type lyrics in each song but Dylan's songs are one after the other. I love Neil Young and he has definitely transcended several generations of rockers and he is a legend.

At 2/13/2009 08:28:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To compare the two, one has to look at their entire bodies of work and the relevance it has today. Dylan's work faded into the past a long time ago. Neil is still a headliner and in a big way. The new material Neil produces now carries the same weight and importance that it did at the beginning of his career, if not more so. Neil could tour with just what he has written in the last three years and do well. Could Dylan? No. Bob Dylan was a great artist. Neil Young is a great artist. Just a reminder that Bob Dylan did not invent folk music any more than Miles Davis invented jazz. Neil Young and Joni Mitchell took it to a new level. Neil Young is a phenomenon. Blowin' in the Wind or Needle and the damage done? Dreams or reality? In today's world, reality rules. All the dreamers were left behind in the 60's.

At 2/28/2009 02:14:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting treatise. I can't say I agree on all points, but so what. What I like is that you have the courage to make realistic comments about an icon that is unassailable in the minds of so many blind fanatics. If you love Dylan, fine, go on loving him. But there's just no place for some of the vitriol hurled in reponse to this post. It demeans all true Dylan fans to defend the man so fanatically and acerbically. Everyone has a chink in his/her armor somewhere, and Dylan has MANY such chinks in my humble opinion. The fact that so many people find value in his work is therefore a credit to him and them.

At 4/05/2009 03:08:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cannot compare period's not my true nature to do so-----> they both have extraordinary personas......... only neil young goes blood deep ..... and dylan outshines "every" human beings great desires..((THEORETICALLY speaking here)).... we also know more about Neil young he exlains himself . . yet . . . Bob was an underdog.... He "I'm guessing" prefered being unknown to the "Insiders" - - - It is why he's lone wolf - -by purplethread

At 10/25/2009 03:17:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I happen to love Neil. Not in a die-hard fan sort of way, but as a life-long, quietly observing admirer of his sincere voice and heartwarming songs, his guitar. Neil is not a Jimi Hendrix or a Clapton, but nobody is NEIL. That's my favorite thing about him. He is his own person. There's just something about Neil and his songs that make you want to either go home or explore the country. His sounds are just comforting and he is also a beautiful human.

At 12/02/2009 07:31:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I get bored listening to Bob Dylan almost every song. Not really melodious, not quite vivid, all sounds monotonously. Concerning e.g. these points, Neil Young is exactly the opposite.

At 12/02/2009 07:33:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I get bored listening to Bob Dylan almost every song. Not really melodious, not quite vivid, all sounds monotonously. Concerning e.g. these points, Neil Young is exactly the opposite.

At 3/05/2010 03:17:00 PM, Anonymous Rodrigo said...

Hey, I have a question that will add a "plus" reason to the match:

Who has the record of writing music? ¿How many "published" songs each one has?

At 9/02/2010 06:14:00 PM, Blogger Goody said...

Ten reasons why Bob Dylan is the best

1.First off the songwriting of course. He wrote all kinds of songs that shaped music forever Like a Rolling Stone for instance which was name #1 on Rolling Ston's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

2.With singing of course Bob even today he sings better than Neil. Bob is named #7 on Rolling Stone's Greatest Singers of All Time List too.

3.First off Bob never sold out his music to anything or anyone. I mean those commercials have music from a legend not some garbage like rap or Neil.

4.Today Bob's albums sell unlike Neil who can't even get a single of his albums today certified at least gold. It's pretty pathetic that he still makes music that flops. And with Bob's album Time Out Of Mind actually embraced a younger generation of musicians becuse thats why it won Album of The Year at 1997 Grammys and went Platinum.

5.Of course no one can play garbage Neil young songs that no one even knows in the world. Now bob he has songs that people actually know even people who don't like bob know at least a song or two of him.

6.Bob does many charity concerts and his Christmas In The Heart album which helped feed hundreds in the world.

7.Neil is more diverse in a bad way just look at the awful garbage music he makes today its horrible. he is just a disgrace to music. Now Bob is diverse with acoustic to electric to country etc.

8.What is wrong with the Dead i mean i dont know anything about the band but i dont see any flaws in the band just this list that can't back up these points.

9.Well i never liked or disliked Neil young but what neil young fans are saying about bob is just terrible. Have respect for real music and find out what really matters today. Neil Young is a disgrace to music can't sell a single album.

10.Bob tours Neil doen't becuaase he knows he has no fans anymore he may do one or two shows a month but bob tries to do at least 100 shows a year becuase he actually has fans.

At 3/29/2011 10:39:00 AM, Blogger The Dark Princess said...

meh who cares about bob and neil. Joni was better than either of them

At 4/27/2011 10:06:00 PM, Anonymous Ryne Durn said...

I like the pic of Bob and Neil!!

At 2/01/2012 11:52:00 PM, Anonymous Tre Miller said...

Why are you so ignorant? Do you have to sit there and compare and contrast?? I' , sure you have heard it before but you should hear it again.. PATHETIC. Give me a break you treat debate like a 10 year old. You need to know your facts before you knock something. Bob Dylan's influence involves much more than a voice and presentation. It's the fact that he expressed how he felt, and how he knew how everyone felt. He connected with his followers more than most artists today. Can you disagree with that? Stop giving the people what they want you to do, complain at their expense.

At 2/25/2012 02:34:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To be honest, neither of them would give a flying shit about any of this.

I think slating Dylan is not the best way to appreciate Neil Young, in fact it almost definately hinders it. I'm sure Neil would rather you just listen to his music if you appreciate him...

Even if you don't like one of them, I think you have to be a massive twonk to not realise how influential/incredible/superhuman they both have been.

Oh and things like how many benefit gigs or hall of fame blah de blahs is no way to compare them... listen to the genius music they create.

Don't compare them at all actually, it's a bit like saying which of your children you like more, it doesn't need to be done and it can't be done.

At 9/20/2012 09:28:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "Who is better - Neil Young or Bob Dylan?" by Warwickjo is severely off-base for multiple categories.

"Rock N Roll - Subterranean Homesick Blues vs. Like A Hurricane: All Bob here."

Sorry, but while I disagree on his pick here, it must be noted that Neil's "Rock N Roll" resume kills Dylan's. Cinnamon Girl, Down by The River, Cowgirl in the Sand, The Loner, Southern Man, Ohio, Cortez the Killer, When You Dance, Hurricane, Mr. Soul, Hey Hey, My My, My My, Hey Hey, Powderfinger, Rockin' in the Free World, Tonight's the Night, This Note's for You, Fontainebleau, Walk SHB a better rock song than Cinnamon Girl or half of these? No.

"70's masterworks - On The Beach vs. Blood On The Tracks:" Neil's big 70s masterwork was Tonight's the Night, followed by After the Gold Rush, Rust Never Sleeps, Zuma...On the Beach is not Neil's best 70's work.

"Crude but affecting guitar technique - Neil's one note solo vs. Bob's two fingered solo:" Neil Young is a guitarist, a lead guitarist with distinctive acoustic and electric styles. Bob Dylan is a guitar player. There's nothing good, memorable, or distinctive about his playing, his few attempts at lead are excruciating. Aside from Neil winning this category, which Neil kills Dylan at, the real category should be guitarist. Dylan can't even compete for that.

Both have had multiple comeback records. For Neil, Comes a Time, Freedom, and Harvest Moon are his biggies.

Influence: Dylan has influenced songwriting and lyrics. Neil has influenced songwriting and lyrics greatly, too, but less overall. Dylan overall and for singer-songwriter/folk-rock stuff. Neil for singe-songwriter, rock, folk-rock, grunge, and noise rock.

The deal is this: Dylan is known and influential as lyricist and songwriter with a distinct vocal style and creating folk-rock. Young is known and influential for songwriting and lyrics, distinct vocals, as a musician--Dylan is not influential as a musician in any way--for both electric and acoustic guitar (what major artist has influenced both of those?), creating grunge/hard rock with serious lyrics and has influenced numerous guitarists. Neil is also more influential as a performer.

Young has had superior influence as a musician and as performer. Dylan has some great and better songs, but within a smaller range of songs--e.g. virtually no rock songs, and as a musician per se he's a zero.

It's not a competition, but as songwriter, lyricist, lead singer, bandleader, and lead guitarist, and performer Young is more of the complete package. Dylan is songwriter, lyricist, and lead singer but neither a band leader nor an instrumentalist of any note, nor are his performing skills of any note aside from singing. Many great songs but he has to rely on others to bring them to life beyond the most simplistic version of a guitar player singing along, as found in every coffeeshop in the world.

At 5/21/2015 01:28:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I am curious to know how people respond to this question: "Who experimented more with different musical styles" or another way of asking the same question, "who was more musically diverse" Bob Dylan or Neil Young...

At 3/02/2019 01:00:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Bob Dylans songs are covered by so many artists across the board. Love Neil but there is no contest here as far as influence on musicians right? Garth Brooks, Miley Cyrus, Counting Crows, Cher......neef I continue?

At 3/02/2019 01:01:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

He never did

At 3/02/2019 01:04:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Well almost but the thing is that everybody covers Bob's material. That's what makes him the best.

At 3/02/2019 01:04:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Love that!


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