The Beat Goes On
The Beat generation of the mid twentieth century produced a culture that had a lasting effect on generations to come. In the decades following the 1950s, the Beats successors, or ‘spawn’, ranged from authors to musicians. These artists were greatly influenced by the Beat’s writings and performances, as well as by spending time with the very Beats themselves. Bob Dylan, a spawn, credited much of his early work to his readings of the Beats and his relationship with Allen Ginsberg. From his appearance, to his very poetic lyrics, Dylan appears to be just like any of the other Beats. However, what separated Dylan was his concern for those suffering around him. Ultimately, although Bob Dylan was very similar to the Beats, it was his passionate, socially conscious lyrics distinguished him. The influence of the Beats on Bob Dylan can be seen in Dylan’s mannerisms and the folk-style, poetic nature of his lyrics. Dylan fit right in with Ginsberg and others with his rough and wild hair, flannel button down shirts, and worn out tight leather jackets. In his early twenties, he was known as a tough kid from the Midwest, who sometimes even lacked proper hygiene (Times 1). As he matured, Dylan began to the share similar attitudes of the Beats towards social authority, politics, drugs, and even the rejection of social norms (Charters 370). Dylan tried to incorporate these thoughts and attitudes into his lyrics, in order to share his beliefs with his listeners. Later in his life he was even quoted as saying, “I knew that when I got into folk music, it was more of a serious type of thing. The songs are filled with more despair, more sadness, more triumph… much deeper feelings" (Williams 1). Besides looking and acting like the Beats, Dylan’s music had a very poetic feel to it. His 1963 song titled “Blowin’ in the Wind” reads very much like the poetry of the Beats: “Yes, ‘n’ how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes ‘n’ how many deaths...
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