Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dylan views from a Singaporean

Finally, and firstly, and most essentially, I have finally decided to put into words my deep fascination and appreciation for all things Dylan.

Singapore and Asia in particular, have never been high on Dylan music, save for a minority few. Simply put, Asian music is all about pop and more pop. Even rock music is saturated to the metal rock of AC/DC and Black Sabbath. Still, there lies a part of me that truly believes that there is a place for folks to discover Dylan the way I got into his music and words way back in 1990.

It is kinda ironic, and significant that it took me 20 years to do this, though, admittedly, I have been writing Dylan articles on Bringing it back all Home website ( since '97 and the articles are surprising still there. My teenage years music consumption was pretty much what everyone was listening to in the 80s, ranging from MJ to new wave british of Spandau and Duran x2.

In the late eighties, U2 raged onto the scene with Joshua and I was all caught up in the Irish rock invasion like everyone else did. But 2 things turned me onto Dylan.

First, the Watchmen graphic novel, where Alan Moore quoted lines from Dylan songs and U2's Rattle and Hum (both album and movie) had Dylan appearing and co-writing and covering Watchtower, which was a mini revelation to me.

Then, more and more, I keep hearing the name Dylan and started reading Rolling Stone mag and discovered RS has a near deity worship for the former Zimmerman. Then one day in 1990, I decided to plunge and bought my first Dylan album, Highway 61 and plonk it into my then cassette player.

The gunshot snare of Like a RS totally blew me away and for the next hour or so, was totally entranced, and confused by equal measures of the rest of HW 61's tracks, most especially on the final epic Desolation Row.

Within a week, I had almost gotten all the essential Dylan up to the 70s, Bringing It, Freewhelin', Blood on the Tracks, with the ception of Blonde on Blonde which was, (would you believe it?) banned in Singapore.

And so there it was, my journey with Dylan began and would last for 20 years and just like his Never ending tour, it keeps on rollin' and tumblin' .... occasionally I would wean myself off Dylan on some current stuff like Travis and even Idol music, but every half year or so, I will come back to a familiar voice and music.

Each time it seems, Dylan has just gotten more out there in the new millennium, and each time, there's always something written about him or interesting to find out about this unrelenting bard. And so, this is where I begin my new blog .... I just hope you will enjoy the ride with me in the coming months as I muse over Dylan. Hopefully, from a different and perhaps, even a fresh perspective from the other side of the world.


  1. Interesting to here about Dylan from somewhere else. Why was Blonde On Blonde banned in Singapore? That is a funny fact.

  2. you will know its even funnier when you know that it was banned for the word amphetamine in just like a woman.

    heck, revolver was not sold in sg for the longest time due to songs like yellow submarine.

    but hey, times are much better now :)