Rock n Roll Blasphemy

"But I like the way Dylan sings," some of you protest. Oh really? I will tell you that I believe that Dylan is one of the greatest minds in the history of rock 'n' roll — and maybe in contemporary art, period. He is extremely creative and has written some amazing songs. But I'm not convinced Dylan would have made it if he hadn't created his own songs. As much as you might say you like to hear Dylan sing, I'm not sure you'd pay the cover charge at the local Marriott lounge to hear a Bob Dylan who never wrote a song standing up there singing a Bee Gees medley of disco tunes.

We respect Dylan for his amazing creativity. We tolerate his lack of talent. He's an adequate guitar player. On a good day, he hits some notes with his voice. But, I'm sorry, he's a pretty horrible harmonica player; he makes even Neil Young sound good. Yes, we could argue that this is subjective. But, relative to Patti Smith, at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in 2000, as she was inducting one of the greatest producers of all times, Clive Davis (founder of Arista Records), Patti herself confessed to her lack of talent, touting Davis as a visionary because she was the first artist he signed to Arista! "And I can't even sing," she said. She then went on to prove it through one of her more lively "primetime" performances.

Patti Smith is extremely creative, and on a good day she hits some notes. But if she didn't bring some creativity to the party, she, like Dylan, would have a hard time getting anyone to pay the $3.00 cover charge at the local Marriott lounge.

And finally, although the guys at my office might be creative and talented, it doesn't show up on their recording of "Gloria." All people exhibit creativeness and talent in different ways, and singing is not one of the talents that these fellows possess.

Are you beginning to see the lesson here? You don't need artistic talent to play in the creative game.

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