Pete Townshend’s Prediction About Bob Dylan

When Bob Dylan came to New York in the 1960s and jumped on the stage, he became part of the folk-rock revival of the time. He had many stories he wanted to tell. However, he had entered the music scene during a politically turbulent time, and as an artist, he would inevitably use his music as a vessel to resist the agenda in his own style.

This is how Bob Dylan’s early ‘Masters of War,’ ‘With God On Our Side,’ and ‘A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall’ was etched into the minds of a generation helpless in the face of the brutality of war. A new face, a new voice. But most importantly, he altered the song form and showed others how to do it. He was a distinctive figure of his time, and those, who had heard him earlier, knew how much Dylan would grow later.

One of the definitive actors of the rock scene, Pete Townshend of the Who, was only 16 years old when he started listening to Dylan, and he knew Bob’s music would influence the generations to come. In an interview with the Montreal Gazette in 2006, he shared his prediction about Dylan.

This is Bob’s due, his time, his legacy, and his destiny,” the musician said when asked about Bob Dylan’s artistic rebirth in the early 2000s. “From the first moment I heard this wonderful man when I was just 16, I knew he would one day change the world, change the function of the song, and make a billion dollars.”

Townshend continued, “The last part is possibly still to come. His friendship with Steve Jobs of Apple has been surprising but wonderful. It’s so great to hear Bob speak, to read his thoughts about his work and his life, to see him interviewed. Maybe now he’ll understand that if he had opened up to us sooner, we would have made him richer sooner. For my part, he’s given me enough to last many lifetimes.”

Making a name for himself as a protest singer in his early years on the stage, the artist combined poetry and music so well that his exceptional songwriting skills had already granted him an important place in music history. The world he found himself in was the main thing that pervaded his music, as pointless violence and injustice were the primary themes he wrote about.

Most people could relate to what he wrote in those days, but when you listen to Bob Dylan today, you can see how timeless his music actually is. By incorporating new poetic expressions into music, he expanded the limits of the possibilities and imagination of those who would come after him. He also did things that traditional folk-rock circles had objected to at the time, but regardless, it is widely accepted that he redefined a genre.

Dylan was only in his 20s when he achieved this. His music, like himself, grew and improved over the years. As time went by, he was no longer just a folk artist. We also heard elements of country, blues, funk, reggae, Christian rock, new wave, and even electronica and synth-pop in his sound. Form and style were just vessels, as poetry was the highlight of his songs. So, no matter which sound he used, the aim was to deliver his memorable lines, and he remains one of the greatest storytellers ever.