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Dylan and the Popes (no Pogues content)


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Interesting piece, I thought. Pity though how their only reactions to Dylan are either to co-opt him or ignore him.


Why Pope Tried to Stop Dylan Knockin' on Heaven's Door (Times)

Richard Owen in Rome

Bob Dylan and the Pope were an unlikely double act for a rendition of the 1970s anthem Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.

But even the crowd of pop fans who were brought to their knees by the appearance of Pope John Paul II alongside Dylan could scarcely have imagined the rift that it caused.

The Pope’s chief aide, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was so appalled at the prospect of the pontiff sharing a platform with the “self-styled prophet of pop†that he tried his utmost to stop the spectacle. The Pope overruled him.

The cardinal, now Pope Benedict XVI, says in a book to be published next week that while he agreed with his predecessor on most matters, he did not share his liking for pop music. “There was reason to be sceptical, and I was,†Pope Benedict writes in the book, John Paul II, My Beloved Predecessor. “Indeed, in a certain sense I still am today.â€

At the concert in Bologna, attended by 300,000 people in 1997, Dylan – who was born into a Jewish family in Minnesota but later flirted with Christianity – sang Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door and A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, his antiwar classic, with Forever Young as an encore.

He did not sing his 1963 hit Blowin’ in the Wind, but John Paul II – who was known for his showmanship and media skills – showed his familiarity with the song and based his homily on it in an effort to connect with the audience.

“You say the answer is blowing in the wind, my friend,†he said. “So it is: but it is not the wind that blows things away, it is the breath and life of the Holy Spirit, the voice that calls and says, Come!†This brought the house down. The Pope added: “You ask me how many roads a man must walk down before he becomes a man. I answer: there is only one road for man, and it is the road of Jesus Christ, who said, ‘I am the Way and the Life’.â€

Pope Benedict says that he “doubts to this day whether it was right to let this kind of so-called prophet take the stage†in front of the Pope. He admits that John Paul did get across a spiritual message that was otherwise largely “ignored by the entertainment industryâ€.

Pope Benedict has said that rock music is the work of Satan and last year he cancelled the fundraising Christmas pop concert at the Vatican, which under John Paul II had run for 13 years. He may have been wary of a repeat of the 2003 concert, when Lauryn Hill called on Church leaders to “repent†over sexual abuse by clergy, or 2005, when Daniela Mercury, the Brazilian singer, was dropped from the show in case she promoted the use of condoms to prevent Aids.

Pope Benedict is known to favour Mozart and Bach, and was always unlikely to enjoy chatting – as Pope John Paul II did – with singers. He opposes the use of guitars during Mass, telling priests that “the liturgy is not a theatrical text, and the altar is not a stage . . . It is important not to become merely actors in a spectacle.â€

Bob and God

Oh God said to Abraham,

“Kill me a sonâ€

Abe says, “Man, you must be puttin’ me onâ€

God say, “No.â€

Abe say, “What?â€

God say, “You can do what you want Abe, but The next time you see me comin’ you better runâ€

Well Abe says, “Where do you want this killin’ done?â€

God says, “Out on Highway 61â€

Highway 61 Revisited (1965)

When I’m gone don’t wonder where I be.

Just say that I trusted in God and that Christ was in me.

Say He defeated the devil, He was God’s chosen Son.

And that there ain’t no man righteous, no not one

Ain’t No Man Righteous (No Not One) (1981)

Well they’ll choose a man for you to meet tonight

You’ll play the fool and learn how to walk through doors

How to enter into the gates of paradise

No, how to carry a burden too heavy to be yours

Yeah, from the stage they’ll be tryin’ to get water outta rocks

A whore will pass the hat, collect a hundred grand and say thanks

They like to take all this money from sin, build big universities to study in

Sing “Amazing Grace†all the way to the Swiss banks.

Foot of Pride (1983)

© Special Rider Music

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