Although the Nobel Prize ceremonies are still a month off, I want to go ahead and acknowledge the pending award of the Nobel Prize in Literature to Bob Dylan.  In my mind, his interest in preserving the traditions of folk music together with the external focus of his lyrics make him worthy of a little attention by archivists.

If you need to brush up on your Dylan biography, a 2010 article in The Atlantic summarized Sean Wilentz’ book Bob Dylan in America.  In 2015, an article for Music.mic identified five Dylan songs that changed the course of history:

  1. “Blowin’ in the Wind”
  2. “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”
  3. “The Times They Are A-Changin'”
  4. “Like a Rolling Stone”
  5. “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere”

And here’s a list of his top 10 protest songs:

  1. “The Times They Are A-Changin'”
  2. “Maggie’s Farm”
  3. “Chimes of Freedom”
  4. “Hurricane”
  5. “With God on Our Side”
  6. “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll”
  7. “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”
  8. “Oxford Town”
  9. “Masters of War”
  10. “Blowin’ in the Wind”

Here’s one other, less well-known song — “Gotta Serve Somebody” that’s worth a listen:

You may be an ambassador to England or France
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

You might be a rock ’n’ roll addict prancing on the stage
You might have drugs at your command, women in a cage
You may be a businessman or some high-degree thief
They may call you Doctor or they may call you Chief

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

You may be a state trooper, you might be a young Turk
You may be the head of some big TV network
You may be rich or poor, you may be blind or lame
You may be living in another country under another name

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

You may be a construction worker working on a home
You may be living in a mansion or you might live in a dome
You might own guns and you might even own tanks
You might be somebody’s landlord, you might even own banks

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

You may be a preacher with your spiritual pride
You may be a city councilman taking bribes on the side
You may be workin’ in a barbershop, you may know how to cut hair
You may be somebody’s mistress, may be somebody’s heir

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

Might like to wear cotton, might like to wear silk
Might like to drink whiskey, might like to drink milk
You might like to eat caviar, you might like to eat bread
You may be sleeping on the floor, sleeping in a king-sized bed

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

You may call me Terry, you may call me Timmy
You may call me Bobby, you may call me Zimmy
You may call me R.J., you may call me Ray
You may call me anything but no matter what you say

You’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

Copyright © 1979 by Special Rider Music

The lyrics to all of the above songs can be found on the official Bob Dylan website.

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