Today marks the 80th birthday of an artist who has shared his wisdom and words for the last 60 years to a global audience. As a fan of his work, I wanted to pay homage on this special day. A few years back, I first heard the mixtape by J. Period and K’Naan called “The Messengers,” an audio story about three storytellers in music: Fela Kuti, Bob Marley, and Bob Dylan.
This tape has inspired me over the years, and in honor of Dylan’s big day, I created a collage by using some excerpts from the mixtape as well as Dylan’s interviews over the years, alongside covers by Angélique Kidjo and Nina Simone, who were also influenced by Dylan. The tracks I picked highlight Dylan’s influence and artistry as a thinker and poet, including 1964’s “Only a Pawn in Their Game,” about civil rights activist Medgar Evers, and a classic interview from Ed Bradley of “60 Minutes” from 2004, in which Dylan spoke about the meaning of the song. I hope you enjoy a different take on Dylan as we celebrate his birthday.