I was reading Bob Dylan’s interview in the AARP magazine the other day, when the interviewer. Robert Love, asked the question, “Do you think these songs will fall on younger ears as corny?” Dylan started the answer with “…what does the word corny mean exactly?”
After hearing the word I wanted to break into a song and dance routine with Jimmy Crack Corn when I saw the word, and after I got that out of my system, I wanted to know more about this corny word. According to Webster it is used in informal language, and means unsophisticated, old fashioned, or trite. Since all music goes around, I can’t imagine Dylan’s songs will seem corny to the younger ears. His songs seem to stand any test of time, take a look at Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door or Blowin’ in the Wind (one of my favorites). Dylan recorded “Knockin’…” in 1973 and some 40+ years later, we still know that song. It has been played over and over by such greats as Guns N’ Roses and Eric Clapton. You can listen to it on You Tube! Corny? I don’t think so. My favorite, Blowin’ in the Wind will last about as long as mankind, in my opinion. This song deals with the rhetorical questions we as human beings have asked as long as we can remember. As Dylan asks, “How many roads must a man walk down before you call him a man?” There are no answers to the questions he poses in this song, but he definitely gives the listener something to think about. Trite. I don’t think so. As long as man can think, man will pose those eternal questions. Old fashioned. Not by a long shot.
But that is only two of his myriad of songs. To name just a few more, there is Just Like a Woman, Mr. Tambourine Man, Like a Rolling Stone, and The Times They Are A-Changin. It’s true, The times are a-changin, but not Dylan’s music. This old hippie still sees him sitting with his guitar on stage, singing words that have meaning and thought provoking ideas. No, I don’t think any younger ears will see his words as “corny”, and I can see quite a few of them sitting around with their guitars posing those eternal questions. Thank you Mr. Dylan.