Thursday, February 06, 2014

distinctive brand assets again #BobDylan

By the mid-80's Bob Dylan's singing voice had somewhat evolved from his 'classic' 60's period ouvre.

Softer and a touch more melodic.

While not troubling the pop charts as often as in the previous two decades he was still pretty huge.

Therefore Bob was an obvious shoe-in for Lionel Ritchies 'We Are The World' project.

For younger readers, this was a US version of Bob Geldof and Midge Ure's Band Aid, a multi-artist charity song to raise funds for the Ethiopian Famine crisis.

The story goes that as Bob was rehearsing his lines in the song, Ritchie - the musical director - was having trouble getting to grips with Dylan's softer vocal approach and phrasing.

Ritchie was mindful of the fact that each individual voice needed to be instantly recognisable and distinguishable for a mass global public.

In the end, the only way Ritchie could ar the performance he wanted from Bob was to articulate it thus..

'That's great Bob, but could you do it again. This time make it a bit more....Dylan-ish'.

The clip below doesn't feature this fabled exchange however you can see Dylan making a solid effort to sing more like 'himself'.

As a footnote, his Bob-ness popped up in an epic, de rigueur, Chrysler Super-Bowl spot.

To the cries of sell-out from the outraged faux-hipster commentators, obviously.

But the furore reminded us of this nugget from Heath and Potter's Rebel Sell.

'Whenever you look at the list of consumer goods that [according to critics of capitalism] people don't really need, what you invariably see is a list of consumer goods that middle-aged intellectuals don't need ... Hollywood movies bad, performance art good; Chryslers bad, Volvos good; hamburgers bad, risotto good.'

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