Bob Dylan & Neil Young @ Hyde Park 2019: The Classic Tracks We Need To Hear

Bob Dylan & Neil Young @ Hyde Park 2019: The Classic Tracks We Need To Hear

Bob Dylan & Neil Young – Hyde Park 2019

A collective 'gasp' was heard across the music world back in November upon the announcement that Bob Dylan and Neil Young confirmed to co-headline a show in London's Hyde Park; not because they're playing together as they've done numerous times over the decades, but rather at managing to secure two artists of this calibre on the same bill. 

Immensely impactful in their own rights from the 1960s, 70s, and beyond, Bob Dylan rejuvenated folk traditions with his then-current, world-weary observational approach, whereas Young would embrace his idiosyncrasies and vulnerabilities in his lyricism, later being dubbed the 'Godfather of Grunge'. 

They've forever been two sides to the same coin, so it's fitting that they're once again sharing the stage this weekend with fans travelling from across the UK, Europe, and even further afield to see not one but two of contemporary music's most enduring icons. 

Both legendary artists no longer need to prove their worth, and at times refrain from playing the tracks we're desperate to hear due to their extensive and impeccable bodies of work, so fingers crossed that's not the case. Whittling down the select few was strenuous, but here are the classic tracks we need to hear live.


Bob Dylan - 'Subterranean Homesick Blues'

With his ear at street-level, Dylan almost preceded the bustling counter-cultural zeitgeist with a spirited, bouncy track about inner-city dwellers and their daily ventures. It was also one of the first prominent tracks of Dylan's initial 'electric' period and is persistently compelling even 54 years on.



Neil Young - 'Old Man'
 

A neighbour that used to pass Young's ranch provided the inspiration for this heartfelt, pensive song; a daydream of sorts, it suggests Young's indecision, desire, and regret, at the tender age of 27 no less, in one of the most affecting songs from his classic 1972 album Harvest.



Bob Dylan - 'Hurricane' 
 

If you've watched Martin Scorcese's recent Bob Dylan documentary Rolling Thunder Revue on Netflix, you'll have learned that this sprawling, scathing attack on blatant racial injustice was centred around the false imprisonment of boxer Ruben "Hurricane" Carter. Dylan, who had all but left his political musings behind, felt so passionately about the wrongful conviction he was inspired to shed light on the turn of events.



Neil Young - 'Hey Hey, My My'
 

An ode to the communicative medium of rock 'n' roll, in the song, Young champions the legacy of musicians that have impacted on him as much as they have on popular culture. Long after it's release, it became synonymous with the tragic death of Kurt Cobain after it was revealed the expressive, mortal line "It's better to burn out, then to fade away" was included in the Nirvana frontman's suicide note. 


 

Bob Dylan - 'Like A Rolling Stone' 
 

Arguably one of his most famed songs, deeply ingrained within contemporary culture is this undeniably poetic description of how it feels to feel lost. It engulfed the hearts and minds of youths that were increasingly aware of their desire not to become part of the cold, conservative, consumerist landscape. When you've got nothing, you've got nothing to lose.



Neil Young - 'Down By The River' 

Despite the shredding staccato guitar lines and loose nature of the composition, 'Down By The River' revolves around a narrative of a man taking his lover down to the river to murder her. Dark as it sounds, it's impossible not to get caught up in the languid, harmonic jam and dreamy harmonies.


 

Bob Dylan - 'Most Of The Time'

The 80s weren't a prolific period for Dylan in comparison to the two previous decades, in terms of critical success at least, but there was still fleeting glimpses of his considered and soul-stirring talent. 'Most Of The Time' is a dogged display of optimism during the fallout of heartbreak, all with a wry smile and tear in the eye. 



Neil Young - 'Harvest Moon'
 

A beautiful tribute to his wife at the time, this fan-favourite is often heard at most weddings nowadays due to its soppy, romantic nature and detailing of long-lasting love. A bit clichéd at times, but it's impossible to resist that gloriously tender melody. 



Bob Dylan - 'The Times They Are A-Changin''
 

Even during the thick of his youth, Dylan's wisdom and empathy were drenched in his lyricism. Less pondering, more detailing the cyclicality of politics, society, life, and love, this track has become an anthem for acceptance and change. Relevant then, relevant today, and sure to be relevant tomorrow. 


 

Neil Young - 'Needle and the Damage Done'
 

Clocking in at only 1:52, it's likely to be Neil Young's most succinct song but still devastatingly heart-breaking and overwhelmingly powerful. Written as a tribute to a former bandmate that passed away after years of struggle with heroin abuse, it repents for another life lost: "every junkie is like a setting sun", destined to go down. It resonates still.

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