THE CYNICAL OPTIMIST BOB DYLAN, A POET OF OUR TIME WHO CHANGED THE COURSE OF POPULAR MUSIC. (A POET SHOULD BE READ AS WELL AS HEARD.)
In 1983, Columbia Records asked Bob Dylan, an artist whose music captured the zeitgeist and imagination of the whole world, to promote his new Infidels album with a music video, a medium he had previously spurned. Bill Graham, the trailblazing rock promoter, asked me to create and produce a video of the iconic song Jokerman. In gratitude for Dylan’s dynamic help in freeing the innocent Rubin Hurricane Carter, I leapt at the chance. The Big Idea was to intercut close-ups of Dylan with images from the history of art (from a 2700 BC Sumerian idol to a “Weeping Woman” by Picasso), overlaying his lyrics so that they could be read on screen as the piercing wail of Bob Dylan’s voice was heard. (A poet should be read as well as heard.) His sandpaper voice and the snarl and grit of his words chill the bones. Rolling Stone said, “George Lois’ unique concept of Dylan’s lyrics with sculpture by Michelangelo and paintings by Hieronymus Bosch spliced with close-ups of Dylan...was spectacular.” And MTV voted Jokerman the Video of the Year.