Monday, September 02, 2013

Influence of Bertolt Brecht on Bob Dylan

Recently, I've been learning bits and pieces about the playwright and poet, Bertolt Brecht, and I've just started reading his play, Mother Courage and Her Children. I found this interesting article in, The New York Times.

When Bobby Met Bertolt, Times Changed, by Jason Zinoman, October 8, 2006.

Dylan says that Bercht had an enormous influence on his song writing. On 1963, Dylan saw a musical review on Broadway called, Brecht on Brecht.  He only saw the play because his girl friend, Suze Rotolo was on the production staff.  It included a song called, "Song of the Moldau," which was written by Brecht which included the words, “Times are a-changing. The last shall be the first/The last shall be the first.”

And noting:

"Ms. Harcourt [a Dylan/Brecht researcher] argues that the influence of Brecht is the missing piece of the answer to the much-debated question of why Mr. Dylan moved away from the folk and protest scenes in the early 60’s. His songs took on a more personal, surreal and often ambiguous style that, like the work of Brecht, often complicated the audience’s relationship with the hero of a song."

Bob Dylan said, “My little shack in the universe was about to expand into some glorious cathedral, at least in songwriting terms,” he writes, describing his reaction to the music. “They were like folk songs in nature, but unlike folk songs, too, because they were sophisticated.”


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