Bob Dylan occupies an exalted place in the history of pop music.
What makes Dylan different, though, is not just the quality of his greatest songs, The Times They Are A Changin’ and Lay Lady Lay, but his 50 years from revered protest singer, Dylan was a fierce opponent of the Vietnam War, to rock and roll megastar, writes Tony Dewhurst.
Bill Lennon, who plays Dylan in the Bob Dylan Story, the doppelgangers come to Clitheroe on Saturday (November 25th), said: “I’d argue all day long that Bob Dylan was the original punk, his music had that raw spirit of revolution.
“He always ploughed his own furrow, and gave two fingers to an American establishment that had had its own way for far too long.
“The 1960s in America was an era of great change, and his songs reflected the times as the Civil Rights marches gathered pace and eventually changed the face of America.
“Dylan sang When the Ship Comes In at the March on Washington where Martin Luther King delivered his historic ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, but later on in his life he withdrew from society before writing new music and touring again.”
The show features 25 of Dylan’s most famous songs, and Lennon added: “Think of a Dylan concert in his mid-sixties pomp, throw in some carefully chosen visual projections to set the scene, a few stories about Dylan’s life and songs, and you’re getting very warm.
“For me, committing all the lyrics to memory so they can just flow out without me even thinking about it was the hardest bit.
“So what will people take from the show?
“I hope they leave with a nostalgia-infused warmth, a renewed appreciation of Dylan’s music, and an eagerness to tell their friends what a great time they had.
“It was tough, though, whittling it down to 20-odd songs from the four hundred that Dylan wrote.”
Lennon, who graduated from the London Guitar Institute, says Dylan’s second album Freewheelin’ was a soundtrack to his teenage years.
“I’ve always been a fan and my dad had Freewheelin’ on vinyl when I was a kid and I fell in love with it,” he said.
“Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right, which we do in the show, is the one that really sticks out for me from that album – it seems to be a fan favourite.
“I also remember hearing Positively 4th Street and Like A Rolling Stone back to back on the radio when I was a teenager and the sounds of those records just blew me away.”
Dylan was the first songwriter to win the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize for Literature, but after months of uncertainty, whether or not he would accept the prize, Dylan picked up the gold medal.
“I can’t think of many artists who have enjoyed the longevity of Bob Dylan, and still continue to shock and cause controversy.”
The Bob Dylan Story, Saturday, November 25th. 01200 421599 or www.thegrandvenue.co.uk