Six minutes that shook the world

I missed the chance this week to observe that on August 31, singer, songwriter and world class artist Van Morrison celebrated his sixtieth birthday. As a guy who has absorbed all the strains of American popular music and recapitulated them in his own unique blend and voice, Van stands shoulder to shoulder with Bob Dylan. I don’t think we have quite taken the measure of either of them.
Coincidentally, August 31 is also the fortieth anniversary of Dylan’s seminal “Highway 61 Revisited,” the album that featured “Like A Rolling Stone” in its full six-minute burst of glory. The single of the song had charted at number two that summer, but in a form that cut it in half in order to reduce it to playable length for AM radio. I think it’s fair to say that both the single and the album represent highpoints in pop history.


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