Bob Zimmerman, Dylan and John Lennon – what’s in a name?

Oh dear – I’ve just offended an American!

I stumbled across a blog called the Ten Minute Ramble with some videos of Bob Dylan and just pointed out that he took his name from our own Dylan.

If I did! It prompted a long list of the influences of Mr Zimmerman ending in “Lastly comparing a relatively unknown drunken Welsh poet that hardly anyone knows, and maybe had one good and memorable poem to Robert Zimmerman is like comparing Oasis to the Beatles.

So sensitive!

I didn’t compare Dylan to Mr Zimmerman (how can you?) just alluded to the influence that the Welsh poet had on him and, as it happens, his other idols -The Beatles. Dylan Thomas was the only living person on the cover of Sergeant Pepper because of John Lennon’s admiration for his work.

Dylan’s drunkard image came from a book by a sad American John Malcom Brinnin on Dylan’s Days in America.

Dylan had many things in common with Lennon, and perhaps Oasis, he was a shy and sensitive person who couldn’t handle the media pressure. He was undoubtedly the media star of his day when radio was king.

I did ask which one of his poem’s was he referring to – Do not go gentle, Death shall have no dominion, Fern Hill, Under Milk Wood?

And not to be put down I pointed out that he also wrote magnificent short stories, film scripts and radio broadcasts and is the second most quoted poet after another unknown Brit – William Shakespeare.

All this from a modest house in a beautiful seaside area of Wales. Come and see at or – there’s a lot to learn!

I’ll keep you posted!


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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. well it’s not hard to upset American’s now is it… sometimes the blinkers of being the world’s formative superpower mean that you can not see that there are influences and other cultures out there which may even be richer than your own… I would only ask one question… if Dylan Thomas was such a talentless nobody why did Robert Zimmerman choose to change his name to Dylan in honour of him????

    • Now, now, Please don’t blame it on his being American. Being ignorant is enough, and that’s universal! But I did go over and reply to his comment thus…
      “Harry, your ignorance is very embarrassing to this fellow American. Dylan Thomas is considered a great poet by every literate person, including Bob Dylan. Robert Zimmerman patterned his singing after Woody Guthrie and his lyricism after Dylan Thomas. The poet Dylan IS the source of of Zimmerman’s stage name, and that alone is proof of the great admiration he has for Dylan Thomas. Your comments are so foolish as to embarrass one of your fellows. Get an education.”

      Not that he’ll actually read it!

  2. “Harry Elliot,” the person who posted that comment, may or may not have been an American but I see that fortunately someone else pointed out the error of his ways. Sorry, Americans don’t really have a monopoly on stupidity and willful ignorance, our idiots are just louder.

  3. And anyone who’s really interested in the truth of this, read Bob Dylan’s autobiography, “Chronicles,” in which he discusses Dylan Thomas, what influence Thomas’ writing had on him and why he decided to use Thomas’ name in his own stage name. No really literate person has any question about who Dylan Thomas was.

  4. Dylan Thomas was not living when Sergeant Pepper was published!! Thomas died in ’53 it was published in ’67.

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