In those halcyon days between high school and undergrad, I saw the movie Watchmen. Featured prominently in the opening sequence was Dylan's classic "The Times They Are A-Changin'", and thus began my obsession with the lyrics of this venerable songwriter which lasts to this day.
Dylan's music has gotten me through some of the toughest times in my life. The constant genre-shifting- a hallmark of his career- allowed me to queue up a song for any mood, any disruption of my psyche, any blast from the "shadows of a fading past." When the world fell heavy on my shoulders, I cycled Slow Train Coming, Saved, and Shot of Love. Likewise, when I felt cocky enough to take on some new challenge, the lovely punk shift from folk to rock grabbed my ears and wouldn't let go. Lately, I've been re-revisiting his interpretation of the 1980s, as I don't have any idea what I'm doing these days, either. It's alright, though, ma.
I wish you a very happy 74th birthday, Mr. Dylan. May you stay forever young.