Here We Go Again: Neil Young vs. Bob Dylan
We do sometimes find faux rivalries to be a bit wearisome at times.
Like that whole Ronnie vs. Neil thing is so yesterday.
But it seems like some folks just can't resist a good debate like the never ending Bob vs. Neil thing which we waded into a few years ago with pretty hilarious results.
And -- of course -- we all know that music isn't about which band is better like some sort of sports competition where there are winners and losers.
With that said, we bring you another chapter in the never ending Bob Dylan vs. Neil Young saga. No, we don't dream this stuff up or go looking for it. Folks do find these kinds of discussions fascinating and when it is done well, it can be insightful. So here goes.
From You Set the Scene: East Coast vs. West Coast: Neil Young vs. Bob Dylan:
Songwriting: These are two of the most prolific, respected songwriters of all time. By my count, Neil's got ten albums and 85 songs that are pretty fantastic. No slouch either, Dylan's got at least a dozen critically acclaimed records and probably 60 songs that (I think) are pretty fantastic. Dylan also got all those one liners that are ingrained in our culture. Edge: Too close to call
Voice/Musicianship: Both artists have unmistakably unique voices that are a bit of an acquired taste. Dylan can be a chameleon with his. Put some of his country records on the turntable and the average music fan probably wouldn't recognize it as Dylan. Neil's able to use his limited range in a slightly prettier way. While Neil never claims to be a good guitar player, most fans would strongly disagree. Dylan doesn't quite have the same cachet. Edge: Neil Young
Cool Factor: Dylan's cool is more rooted in a beatnik-y, mid to late 1960s thing while Neil's is more rooted in that early to mid-1970s Topanga Canyon vibe. Neither artist has shied away from politics - Dylan with the civil rights movement and Neil Young's "Ohio" was a huge anti-war anthem. They both had periods of uncool too - Dylan's born-again phase and Neil's Republican phase. Neil Young wrote "This Note's For You" and Dylan appeared with Will.i.am in a Pepsi ad (I'll excuse him for Victoria's Secret, but Escalade?). In the end, it's really hard to find anybody who has been as cool for as long as Neil Young. Edge: Neil Young
Influence/Legacy: Both artists will leave behind incredible legacies. They've influenced both directly and indirectly anybody who has picked up a guitar (including each other). Not to discount Neil, but Dylan started earlier and was able to leave a more distinct legacy. There's really no modern substitute for Dylan. Edge: Bob Dylan
The final verdict can be found on You Set the Scene.
If that's not enough, see Bob Dylan and Neil Young's musical influence and inspirations.
Want more Bob & Neil stories?
Try Top 10 Reasons Why Neil Young is Better Than Bob Dylan or Top 10 Reasons Not to Goof With Bob Dylan Fans.