How Bob Dylan’s Distinct Style Became Legendary Fodder for Parody by Other Well Known Musicians

In a surprising video essay, the very knowledgeable YouTuber Polyphonic delves into how the very distinct vocal, lyrical and musical style of Bob Dylan became legendary fodder for parody. To demonstrate this trend, Polyphonic cited such songs as “A Simple Desultory Phillipic” by Simon and Garfunkel, “Stuck in the Middle With You” by Stealers Wheel and “Polka Dot Undies” by Bowser and Blue. This type of parody did make fun of Dylan, but it also revealed a great deal of respect that the musicians had for his talent, as evidence by a 2011 Rolling Stone interview with Paul Simon.

While this mocking may seem harsh Simon did have a lot of respect for Dylan. In an interview with the Rolling Stone he admitted that his early work was heavily influenced by Dylan but he also said he felt a competition with the artist. He told the magazine what he thought was a key difference between him and Dylan, ‘one of my deficiencies is my voice sounds sincere. I’ve tried to sound ironic. I don’t. I can’t. Dylan, everything he sings
has two meanings he’s telling you the truth and making fun of you at the same time. I sound sincere every time.

Paul Simon Rolling Stone

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.