Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” Changed the World
A meaningless poll taken of pop musicians found that Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” changed the world. If nothing else, it got Patti Smith through adolescence, which had some negligable effect on the planet.
Dylan song ‘changed the world’ (Reuters)
Bob Dylan’s song “Like a Rolling Stone” topped a poll on Friday to find the 100 songs, movies, TV shows and books that “changed the world” in the opinion of musicians, actors and industry experts. Dylan’s 1965 single beat Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel” into second place in the survey for “Uncut” magazine.
Paul McCartney, Noel Gallagher, Robert Downey Jr, Rolling Stone Keith Richards and Lou Reed were among those who gave their views for the poll. “I absolutely remember where I was when I first heard it. It got me through adolescence,” rocker Patti Smith said of the winning song.
Ex-Beatle McCartney picked “Heartbreak Hotel” as his number one choice. “It’s the way (Presley) sings it as if he is singing from the depths of hell,” McCartney said. “His phrasing, use of echo, it’s all so beautiful. Musically, it’s perfect.”
The Beatles’ song “She Loves You” ranked at number three, followed by the Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”
The good news is that “Smells Like Teen Spirit” didn’t win. Aside from that, though, the poll results are incomprehensible.
For one thing, the premise is obviously rather dubious: Do songs really “change the world?” To the extent they do, however, one would think something on the order of “We Shall Overcome” or “We are the World” would be more likely candidates.
That aside, the choices are odd. “Like a Rolling Stone” was certainly Dylan’s biggest hit, but I doubt even Dylan would characterize it as particularly world-changing, even within the context of his own discography. Ditto “”She Loves You” for the Beatles. There are songs from Ringo Starr’s solo career that are more meaningful. And while “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Satisfaction” are standards than have held up extremely well to the passage of time, they are hardly songs of social significance, aside from the latter’s launching of the Rolling Stones into stardom.