Coverdown: Freewheelin' 235 / Freewheelin'-on-line take 37

freewheelin-on-line take 37 cover


A slice of melon, an apple, a pear and a bunch of grapes. Just a still life to you and me, but when Picasso set those pieces of fruit against a background of angular images that just didn’t seem to fit into any logical shape or form, the art world went into a state of shock. Everything up to that point had been comfortable to the eye of the beholder and then, in the early 20th century, Picasso unveiled this eight foot square monstrosity which he called ‘Les Demoiselles D’Avignon’. It was the first rifle shot in a revolution that would alter states of consciousness. When critics savagely dismissed the painting and warned the artist that he just couldn’t do things like that, it didn’t fit and it wasn’t right Picasso responded:  ‘Well I just did, it does and it is!’. 

Just over half a century later Dylan did a similar thing to popular music. Everything up to that point had been easily recognizable, safe and sentimental. Then along came Dylan with: ‘Darkness at the break of noon, shadows even the silver spoon. The handmade blade, the child’s balloon eclipses both the sun and moon. To understand you know too soon, there is no sense in trying’. You could almost hear the echoes: ‘You can’t do things like that. It doesn’t fit and it isn’t right’. Fortunately Dylan’s response was exactly the same as Picasso’s before him. 

This month's cover again brings these two revolutionaries together for they have so much in common. Dylan has wandered into Picasso’s French bordello, ignoring the ‘No smoking’ signs. He looks down at Picasso’s still life and doesn’t know which piece of fruit to choose. The ladies in the background only have eyes for Dylan. They have their own agenda: will it be the fruit or one of them that he chooses? 

Never mind what is going on behind him, the Dylan in the bottom right hand corner wants to draw you into the picture. Yes you. He looks you straight in the eye and says: ‘Look, forget the fruit, the naked ladies and the fuzzy haired poet. Can you just tell me where I put my cufflinks?!


Theo Casamegas