I wasn’t a big Dylan fan in the early ’60’s. The only messages about society I cared about were in the contents of the notes we pre-adolescent drama queens snuck back and forth in the mini-society of our classroom.

I remember mothers wondering why he was popular when, they said, he couldn’t sing. What he was singing was not an issue. I guess when Joan Baez’s perfect pitch became a vehicle for the messages, it gave his lyrics more of a shot to be heard by the people who like beautiful voices.

I’m still not a big Dylan fan, but there are lines in his songs that really hit it. When I feel unfairly treated at work, I’ll always click Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 on my playlist a time or two to get me over it. And the power of his words during the civil rights and anti-war movements was beyond measure.

I’m no rap expert, either, but I find myself being drawn to that genre. I just need truth without frills now. My brother and I were discussing how a lot of songs now have rap verses with the choruses sung by women with “great” voices. Will that get parents to listen?

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