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The Case for Bob Dylan

William McKeen / Boston University

Bob Dylan turned 80 this year and the accolades keep on coming. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in the middle of the last decade, yet he didn’t ease off and instead kept his foot on the accelerator. In 2020, he released one of his most highly regarded albums, and he continues to reinterpret his massive canon of songs from a hundred stages a year. While he has a vast network of dedicated fans, he has perhaps a greater number mystified by his popularity. The usual complaint is his voice. In this presentation, we’ll examine Dylan’s remarkable 60-year career and show how he has been — and remains — a masterful singer. Songs will include: “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” “Blind Willie McTell,” “Series of Dreams,” “High Water (for Charley Patton),” and “Like a Rolling Stone.”

William McKeen

Boston University

William McKeen is the Chair of the Department of Journalism at Boston University, where he also teaches media history, literary journalism, and rock ‘n’ roll history.  He is the author or editor of 13 books, including Everybody Had an OceanToo Old to Die Young and Rock and Roll is Here to Stay.

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