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Reflections of a working writer and reader



Bjork on Dylan

Asked if she was looking forward to appearing on the same bill as Dylan, Bjork said:

I’ve never really gotten into him. His voice is too nasal. And it’s like literature . . .

Rolling stone Mag

12 Responses to “Bjork on Dylan”

  1. Robert says:

    That is hilarious. She opens with the same complaint most people make, then casually backhands with what most cite as his main point of praise: the lyrics-as-literature.

    jb says: Glad you liked it, Robert. Me too.

  2. Dick says:

    I have a notion that he might find her entirely incomprehensible. I love them both, which I guess makes me kind of superior…

    jb says: Me, too, Dick. Superior, that is.

  3. Suzan Abrams says:

    You know John…the thing is I just can’t see Bjork and Dylan in the same room together. I’m not surprised she finds it difficult to identify with him. Again, she stays very much the exhibitionist to her art even as Dylan resembles the recluse for his own brand of poetric messages. But that time of Woodstock and Blowing in the Wind ….I was in Asia and little but even then…could still catch the magic of what the grown-ups were playing. I don’t think the likes of Bjork wonderful as she is, could even try to understand where Dylan was coming from. Hers was a different time & age and which I consider, very much a loss.

    jb says: Celebrities, though, Susan. Can we trust them? I think Bjork is playing with him/us. While I can understand that she may have bypassed Dylan the singer, I can’t believe she hasn’t engaged with the songs.

  4. Ian says:

    I think my head just exploded. Wait, yes it did. Oh well, I like and love them both, respectively, and I agree with Robert above, Bjork’s damning with not-so-faint praise is hilarious.

  5. Andrew says:

    Remember also English isn’t her first language and so it might be natural to her to be more drawn to comparatively more pure sound artists like The Beatles rather than more of a words driven artist like Dylan.

  6. Robert says:

    Andrew – no doubt something gets lost in the Icelandic version of “The Times They Are A-Changin’.”

    jb says: It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)

  7. Andrew says:

    I did grow up listening to a lot of Dylan though in terms of the point about pure sound, I can easily see how someone making more sensual art like Bjork as opposed to the more intellectual of Dylan’s mightn’t be too enthused with Dylan. Or perhaps vice versa. Dylan’s reaction to being played one of the most incredible artistic creations of the 20th century, or any century for that matter, The Beatles’ Tomorrow Never Knows, was to walk out of the room half-way thru(The Beatles themselves being the ones playing him the record). This perhaps shows contrarily Dylan’s tastes could be quite dull, despite all the furore over his electric period around this time.

    jb says: I didn’t know that about him walking out. I thought they got stoned together.

  8. Andrew says:

    They did…Dylan the one to turn them onto marijuana. But I think they met a fair few times, especially when he’d be touring in Britain. If you know the track, Tomorrow Never Knows and how extraordinary it must have sounded at the time- a sonic opening of Pandora’s Box, Dylan’s reaction was bizarre.

    jb says: Yes, I do know the track, in fact all of the tracks on Revolver. But Dylan’s reaction is strange indeed. On the other hand, the guy had more than one strange reaction. Leaving Phil Ochs in a snow drift wasn’t really what one would have expected.

  9. Andrew says:

    That’s a new one by me, John, but then again, so is Phil Ochs.

    jb says: You can google him. They were good friends at one time. Dylan rated him highly as a folk singer. I also had to think again about him walking out on the Beatles song. I walked out on a Dylan concert once. When you’ve seen him a few times you realise that he can be splendid or just plain bad, and it’s pretty easy to see during the first few songs what the evening is going to be like. Another time, in Oslo, I went to sleep in the middle of a tepid Mister Tambourine Man and woke up an hour or so later to find there were only a few of us left in the auditorium. Dylan was long gone. The following night, apparently, he turned in a performance that is legendary.
    My point? Maybe his walking out on the Beatles song wasn’t quite so significant an event. Perhaps he needed to stretch his legs, or he didn’t want to fight Lennon, or he had a date, or that particular song, that particular time, wasn’t doing it for him.

  10. Andrew says:

    Or perhaps needed to go to the toilet. Though presumably as a music lover, to hear something as unique and extraordinary as TNK for the first time, I find it hard to imagine being anything but riveted to one’s seat whilst awestruck. Though to go back to the original point of the thread I’ve since seen the full Bjork quote and it seems needlessly hostile.

    jb says: Yeah, she doesn’t like his music. I got that.

  11. Robert says:

    Musicians, honestly. Good thing writers never make snarky remarks about each other.

  12. suzan abrams says:

    Hi Robert, I’d suggest you give the Guardian Books Blog a go. tee-hee! 🙂