More than just a postal worker, Bob Dylan (1941-) has influenced generations of singers and songwriters.
"Dylan is going to influence anybody that is close to him," observed music great Johnny Cash. "As a writer some way or another. He's a powerful talent."
"Dylan can turn a phrase," Lou Reed agreed. Describing Dylan, explained U2's Bono, "is like trying to talk about the pyramids."
With a flair for street language and run-on non sequiturs, Dylan disregarded boundaries and brought vision and relevance to rock music. Jerry Garcia observed, "Dylan has written songs that touch into places people have never sung about before."
Throughout his long career, Dylan typically scoffed at his "importance." He called his own hero, Woody Guthrie, "the greatest holiest godliest one in the world." Around the time Dylan graduated from being called the "new Woody Guthrie," folks like Bruce Springsteen were being labeled the "new Dylan."
"Bob freed your mind the way Elvis freed your body," praised Springsteen at Dylan's 1988 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction ceremony. George Harrison went a bit further. He said that in 500 years, Dylan will be remembered as "the most revered name from this era, eclipsing even the Beatles."
Hooray for life's inspirations.