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Monday, February 26, 2007

Bob and Neil, Over and Over, Again and Again


We really do hate to stir things up here at Thrasher's Wheat. Really. But, at the risk of escalating the debate, here is a blog comment that just begs a response. The comment comes in regarding last year's goof post on Top 10 Reasons Why Neil Young is Better Than Bob Dylan.

A little background on this "battle". A year ago a whole controversy erupted over who was better: Bob or Neil? This resulted in a huge backlash from both the Dylan and Young communities on a number of fronts including whether even such a discussion was relevant.

Well a year later, we still get the occasional comment on the subject. Here goes the latest bomb:
"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, 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 up is when his opponents can't think of 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 isn't 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 (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 stifled by a mere material image, he can leave that worry to Dylan instead."

As for Thrasher? He's sticking with Neil's obervation that he's a "B" student of Bob's.

For more, see Top 10 Reasons Not to Goof With Bob Dylan Fans.


At 2/26/2007 06:31:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh My God.Both are brilliant.I got into Bob when a teenager, & only really properly discovered Neil years later. In each case I wondered where the heck I'd been & lamented how much I'd missed.Sure this "debate" would bemuse & amuse both Neil & Bob !

At 2/26/2007 07:00:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is kinda dumb, isn't it? Thank God for both, I say! Neil Young is my all time personal favourite but if he feels indebted to Bob Dylan as an influence etc, why can't Neil Young fans accept the fact that Neil as we know and love him wouldn't even be around if it wasn't for Dylan blazing the path forward? Hooray for both, and long may they run!

P.S- I was watching the Jim Jarmush film, Broken Flowers the other day. Did anybody else notice that one character (the flower-girl who fixes up Bill Murray) was called Sun Green? A tip of the hat, methinks.

At 2/26/2007 08:02:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

...... yawn

At 2/26/2007 03:51:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is silly,both are brilliant songwriters.Young is the better musician,but does that matter ?Dylan's band with Charlie Sexton and Larry Campbell was superb.
Let it rest !

At 2/26/2007 08:40:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I love them both, been listening to them since the 60s. But Bob is so far ahead of everyone else on the scene today or yesterday or tomorrow that you really can't compare him to anyone except maybe Woody Guthrie or Robert Johnson or Duke Ellington. I really think he's in that class.

At 2/27/2007 08:25:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Count me in with the "yawn" group on this issue. Dylan is Dylan. He is an incredible artist and songwriter. He's created a great body of work. Neil is Neil. He is and incredible artist and songwriter. He's created a great body of work.

The above notwithsatanding, even as a hardcore NEIL YOUNG FAN (capitals intended), I have total respect for the influence Dylan has had on music and culture. The discussions over who is better are, I think, inconsequential. Dylan is Dylan and Neil is Neil and isn't great we have both of them.

Expecting To Fly

At 2/28/2007 03:16:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I also think it's useless to compare the two. Anyway, every Neil fan I've ever known has also been a huge Dylan fan (and vice versa).

My equation then is as follows:
Neil=Genius=Dylan/no limit

At 3/01/2007 08:24:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK you got one proplem with your argument. You judge BOB DYLAN by what they play of his on the radio so you better weel do that to NEIL too. So basicly HEART of GOLD and that is it unless you have a great radio station. Both of them are amazing artist why can't we just decide they are both good and not decide who is better. I see them as equals but if forced to I would say DYLAN is better, but had you asked me last week it would have been NEIL.

At 3/01/2007 08:47:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I noticed (as would most NY fans) the Broken Flowers Sun Green character-- certainly a "tip of the hat" even if it comes off as kind of strange to anyone who isn't aware of Greendale. In the recap above, he forgot to measure "songwriting" -- I would argue that Neil is the stronger songwriter (in terms of melody), though Dylan is consistenly more poetic and subtle -- although most certainly, Neil can be very subtle as well (e.g., For the Turnstiles and Ambulance Blues)

At 3/08/2007 10:34:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey do you know how to get a copy of that picture from the 30th Bob, Bobfest? I just really need it, those are my boys. I have the little liner notes from the CD up on my shelve ledge, but I have older eyes and I can't see it good enough. I want more goodness. I'm feeling a farm girl might do better asking you, those NY boys never sent me one. Can you help? Nancy


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