If people were asked to name innovative musicians, I’m guessing that Bob Dylan wouldn’t top many lists. And yet, in some ways at least, he’s one of the most innovative around.
First there’s the fact that, much to the disgust of most of his fans at the time, he abandoned acoustic folk music to ‘go electric’ (resulting in arguably the best recorded live performance of the 20th Century). The pioneering documentary about him, Don’t Look Back, gave birth to what could probably be described as one of the first modern music videos, for the track Subterranean Homesick Blues.
Then, more recently, to promote a Greatest Hits compilation he (or at least his marketing people) created a great app around that selfsame video that allowed people to substitute their own words for the lyrics on the pieces of paper discards (unfortunately it no longer seems to be live). And now, to promote the release of another Box Set, there’s another fantastically innovative marketing piece from the Bob Dylan team.
This time you can watch the first ever official video for his magnum opus, Like A Rolling Stone. That doesn’t sound too amazing until you watch and realise that you can actually watch multiple videos, because the whole thing has been done so that on every channel on an imaginary US TV network, the stars are mouthing the lyrics to the song. No matter what point you switch channel, it’s in sync. My favourite moment was when the line:
But you’d better lift your diamond ring, you’d better pawn it babe
Was ‘sung’ by the presenter of a QVC style station. Though I imagine the hope is that the characters from Pawn Stars are on-screen when that line comes up.
This is the point where I would normally embed said video, so that you can all gape at its brilliance. But because I can’t seem to find any embed option (though lots and lots of other blogs seem to have managed to), I haven’t. I could tweet or share a link to Facebook, but for some reason they appear to want to make it difficult to embed, but then Dylan always was difficult.
It would also probably crash my machine, as just watching it causes the whole thing to skip and shudder (even though it’s not meant to take too much bandwidth). But at least I’m not writing this on my mobile because, being built entirely in Flash, it simply doesn’t render on iPhone or Android. But, other than that, it really is amazing: here’s a snippet to hopefully demonstrate that fact.