Worst Harmonica Player of All Time
is the worst harmonica player of all time? This question was posed
to some harmonica playing expert on the Dick Cavett show in like
1977. Yes, that's a long time ago. Dick Cavett was a talk show host.
Any other questions? Right, the answer was.. Bob Dylan.
Dylan couldn't sing. He sounded terrible. This was, and is, obvious
to even children (my daughter at age 5 wanted to know why the singer
sounded so bad -- thought he was trying to be funny). Bob Dylan was a
mediocre guitar player. He certainly didn't dance. Wasn't good
looking, although he had a bit of boyish charm when he started out
40 years ago. And now it was official; this harmonica expert on the
Dick Cavett show had officially dubbed him the worst harmonica
player of all time. The same harmonica expert who's name I can't
remember. The same harmonica expert who had no influence on the
world of music whatsoever. But he could play licks on the harmonica
all right, and boy was he smug in his assertion that night.
here's what he and so many others who can't figure out Bob
Dylan are missing. Music isn't about playing an instrument
well, or fast, or with precision. If that were the case, then
Alvin Lee would still be a household name today. (Alvin Lee
was a fabulous, fast-fingered guitarist with a group called
Ten Years After in the late 60's. They made it big at
Woodstock, then faded from view.) Instead, Jimmy Page, who was
never the most precise musician, still incredibly stars on the
cover of every major guitar magazine every other month even
today -- why, because he created Great music. Great melodies.
And so it is
with Bob Dylan. His voice sucked, and his guitar work was only
acceptable, and the harmonica came in like he had just learned how
to play it, but it all fit together perfectly. Sounded F'n great.
Had that 'harmonica expert' played on the song, and hit every note
perfectly -- probably would've ruined the song.