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The following article consists of fun facts about Bob Dylan’s unique voice.
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Bob Dylan’s Voice
Anyone who has listened to a Dylan song will know, perhaps within the first ten seconds, that Dylan’s voice is not what one might conventionally call good. And yet (most) anyone who has listened to a Dylan song for the third or fourth time will know that Dylan’s voice is certainly not what one might call bad. In fact, as scratchy and off-pitch as it is, there’s something to it that makes you want to listen again and again. What is it about Bob Dylan’s voice, if it’s not conventionally good, that makes it sound not only acceptable, but, well, good?
I’ve had this conversation with a number of people and have, remarkably, narrowed it down to a surprisingly concise answer: believability. There is something about his voice that makes you really believe whatever he’s saying. This makes it possible for you to follow whatever story he is telling or whatever point he is trying to make without once doubting its genuineness, which is something that can’t be said for most popular musicians.
Believability is a quality that can be sought after in most any musical (or any kind of art for that matter) endeavor, whether it be classical guitar or folk fiddle. If people can’t believe you, then they’ll have no reason to listen.
Now, what it is exactly about Dylan’s voice that makes it believable is another question altogether, and maybe this is the question whose answer will be most helpful to aspiring artists and musicians of all types. I’ve heard people say that he had absolute control over his breath. I’ve also heard people say that he sounded so good because of how much he smoked. But let’s not discount the possibility that maybe he actually just knew what he had to say and really meant it.