If Not For Bob: A Playlist For Bob Dylan At The GRAMMY Awards

If Not For Bob: A Playlist For Bob Dylan At The GRAMMY Awards

  • Bob Dylan
    Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

David Wild has written for the GRAMMY Awards since 2001. He is a contributing editor to Rolling Stone, a blogger for Huffington Post and an Emmy-nominated TV writer. Wild's most recent book, He Is…I Say: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Neil Diamond, is now in paperback. He is currently working on a new book with Brad Paisley called Diary Of A Player, to be released later this year. Follow him on Twitter @wildaboutmusic.

Today's a very good day at work. I'm actually getting paid to watch my lifelong hero Bob Dylan rehearse a segment for Sunday's 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards that will find him playing alongside two of today's better bands in the world whose folk rock roots are showing — the Avett Brothers and Mumford & Sons. To make my workday even better, some guys named Jagger and Eminem are stopping by after him. I woke up this morning at 5 a.m., put my iPod on shuffle and the first song that came up was by Bob and it perfectly describes my mood today — "Can't Wait."

So I thought I should write this playlist today. See, Bob Dylan made me want to be a writer — any kind of writer. I named my firstborn in Dylan's honor — and no, I didn't call him "Zimmy." I've been honored to speak with my hero on a number of occasions over the years, and the truth is he's never let me down. Once I wrote liner notes for one of Dylan's albums, and he very politely asked me not to use "any adjectives." You can't make this stuff up — and please notice I didn't use any adjective in front of "stuff." Another time in 2001, my hero and I had a two-hour meeting about a project that he had imagined, and that day I realized something about true genius. The real geniuses are way ahead of the rest of us — hell, I didn't even figure out what Dylan's idea was until a few hours after I got home that night — if then. Great minds are not linear — which I was reminded of again when I read Chronicles, Volume One, a remarkable book about a remarkable life. Sadly, "remarkable" is an adjective.

What I did understand from that meeting was that my hero could not have been sweeter to me or more fascinating. I got so comfortable at one point, I found myself — at Dylan's good-natured urging, mind you — acting out his less-than-convincing fight scene with Rupert Everett in Hearts Of Fire, a 1987 movie anyone better adjusted than a Dylan completist like me might have long forgotten. When I was leaving Dylan's hotel room that day, the greatest songwriter in history stopped me and wrapped up some cookies in a hotel napkin for me to take home to my then-little kids — including the one who I'd named in his honor.

So thank you Bob Dylan, for those cookies and for a lifetime of inspiration for me and for anyone else who gives a damn about words and music, and the way the two can come together in the right hands. And sorry about those adjectives.

Here, then, are the songs I will be playing today on my way to work at the GRAMMY Awards.

"If Not For You"
"Can't Wait"
"Forever Young"
"All Along The Watchtower"
"Pressing On"
"Everything Is Broken"
"My Back Pages"
"I Believe In You"
"Every Grain Of Sand"
"4th Time Around"
"Not Dark Yet"
"Is Your Love In Vain"
"Caribbean Wind"
"In The Summertime"
"Buckets Of Rain "
"T.V. Talkin' Blues"
"Born In Time"
"Series Of Dreams"
"Ain't Talkin'"
"Not Dark Yet"

If you are so moved, please share your favorite Dylan songs here.

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