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the pioneer of Dylan Studies; writer, public speaker, critic; became a Doctor of Letters in 2015 (awarded by the University of York, UK)

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Tuesday, April 05, 2011


Another URL: this time to the BBC's list of which 'Desert Island Discs' guests have chosen which Dylan tracks. A couple of the people have been on the programme twice, I notice, but still  -  so many diverse people have wanted a Dylan track, and it's quite a variety of song-choices. It's here.

For those who don't know, the programme is on radio, and asks each week's invited guest to answer questions about their life and to choose the eight tracks they would wish to have with them if they were marooned on a desert island. (They're also asked to choose one luxury item. Notoriously, in an earlier era when such things were notorious to the BBC, Norman Mailer chose marijuana.)


Anonymous McHenry Boatride said...

Interesting. But I know for sure that the latest entry (Martin Sheen) is incorrect. I listened to the program on Sunday, and he choose Knocking on Heaven's Door. It does make me wonder about the accuracy of the other entries.

I wonder about some of the people on this programme (David Cameron comes to mind) whether their choice represents their real taste or what they think will appear trendy.

1:06 pm  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Hi McHenry
Long time no hear. Hope you're thriving.

Ah, well, yes, if they can't get the most recent one right, it undermines confidence in the rest.

I had the same thought about Cameron, plus the additional thought that maybe he chose 'Tangled Up In BLUE' as a horrible pun.

8:32 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just for the record, Martin Sheen chose 2 Dylan songs - they listed the first on he chose - Subterranean Homesick Blues. Also, oddly, the version of Tangled Up In Blue Cameron chose was the one from Real Live.

5:10 am  
Blogger Pope Leo said...

McHenry, if you had listened to the whole programme you would know that Sheen chose both. His first choice was Subterranean Homesick Blues and his seventh choice Knockin' On Heaven's Door.

And to suggest that ANYONE (especially someone like Cameron, with an astute marketing sense) would choose Dylan so that he could appear trendy is bizarre! Dylan surely has not been 'trendy' for at least 30 years. (Rumours that he continues to be trendy are surely just a case of Chinese whispers...)

9:30 am  
Anonymous Wee Tommy said...

What an interesting list. Most choices are of early material, but given that the programme is at least partly an exercise in nostalgia, that's probably not surprising. All credit to those with more adventurous choices, though. On the Cameron question, I've always assumed that whenever senior politicians appear, their choices have been carefully made for them by some spin doctor from central office, trying to ensure that all electoral bases are covered.

11:11 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Martin Sheen chose two Dylan songs: Subterranean Homesick Blues was his first choice and then Knocking on Heaven's door came later in the programme. You obviously didn't listen from the start McHenry!

12:04 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was nice to see Jeremy Irons, an actor I've always admired, on the list, until I glanced down at his choice - Make You Feel My Lurve. Here's hoping it's just another case of inaccuracy.

9:09 pm  
Blogger Pope Leo said...

I hadn't realised that Cameron's choice of TUIB was the Real Live version.

That would seem to make it a more authentic choice: Cameron was aged nine when Blood on the Tracks was released, but would have been in, or just out, of the Sixth Form when Real Live was released - surely a more appropriate age for someone to acquire a taste for Dylan.

So: perhaps Cameron was being sincere in his choice; or perhaps my reflections make me just the sort of spin doctor Wee Tommy alludes to! Have I missed my vocation?

10:39 pm  
Blogger mick said...

Defending David Cameron does not come naturally to me. But in the interests of Dylanology, I must point out two things. The version of Tangled Up in Blue which Cameron played on Desert Island Discs was the live version frrom Real Live (1984) with the heavily revised lyrics.

In an interview with The Telegraph (the Barclay brothers' version, not John Bauldie's), David Cameron told Mick Brown: "I’ve been to see him in concert a couple of times. I went to see him at the Hammersmith Odeon, probably 10 years ago, on my own because I couldn’t find any fellow Dylan fans, which is the best way to see him because you don’t have anyone annoying you with questions about why it’s not like the song they thought it was. The great thing about Dylan is that you can go through life discovering things you’ve overlooked. I’ve suddenly started listening to Street Legal – so I keep finding new Dylan albums that I love. It’s a joy.''

I may be a sucker, but I found this quite plausible.

2:48 pm  
Anonymous McHenry Boatride said...

I bow to everyone who points out that Martin Sheen chose two Dylan songs (so why don't they list both of them?). But on the question of whether choosing a Dylan song is trendy - well, not long before that Cameron Desert Island Disks Dylan became the oldest person to have a UK number one album. I'm quite sure that wasn't lost on the advisors who told Dave what songs to pick.

I don't know about the rest of the world, but in the UK Dylan is trendy - loved by both the young and the old. The number of people who choose one of his songs on the programme is proof of that. Of course, Dave's advisors covered a wide spectrum in their choice of tunes, not just Dylan.

9:36 pm  
Anonymous Dave said...

I'd rather pull my fingernails out than vote tory but what Cameron
said about Dylan does sound genuine to me especially compared to the grovelling way Gordon Brown tried to tell us he liked the (adimttedly excellent)Artic Monkeys. As for the idea he did it because Dylan is trendy !!!! on what planet is that !! if he'd said he was an x factor fan then the other 99.9% of the population would have thought he was 'trendy'

12:55 am  

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