Contrastography: Prince vs. Bob Dylan
Contrastography compares the histories of two famous entities to display some unusual coincidences. First up is Prince vs. Bob Dylan.
Bob Dylan: The private and prolific Minnesota songwriter uniquely fused folk and rock to become the dominant counterculture musical voice of the 1960s.
Prince: The private and prolific Minnesota songwriter fused funk and rock to become the dominant counterculture musical voice of the 1980s.
* * *
Dylan: Released 39 studio albums during his 58-year recording career.
Prince: Released 39 studio albums during his career, but if you include the albums he released under a different name, it's… 58. (Spooky!)
* * *
Dylan: His unconventional voice and lyrical innovations attracted Black people into the white world of folk music and helped dissolve racial barriers.
Prince: His unconventional take on gender and sonic innovations attracted white people into the Black world of funk music and helped dissolve racial barriers.
* * *
* * *
Dylan: Gave a wooden acting performance in the lousy film Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973), yet wrote a classic song for its soundtrack, "Knockin' on Heavens Door".
Prince: Gave a wooden acting performance in the lousy film Under The Cherry Moon (1986), yet wrote a classic song for its soundtrack, "Kiss".
* * *
Dylan: Was indirectly responsible for the most widely bootlegged album of the 1960s, Great White Wonder (1969), featuring unreleased tracks from The Band.
Prince: Was indirectly responsible for the most widely bootlegged album of the 1980s, The Black Album (1987), featuring unreleased tracks from his band.
* * *
Dylan: Wrote multiple love letters to music legend Mavis Staples, whom he briefly dated and appeared with him in the film The Last Waltz (1978).
Prince: Wrote multiple albums for music legend Mavis Staples, whom he briefly signed to his label Paisley Park and appeared with him in the film Graffiti Bridge (1990).
* * *
Dylan: Years after his proto-rap vocals on "Subterranean Homesick Blues" (1965), he became an early supporter of hip-hop and dropped bars on Kurtis Blow's "Street Rock" (1986).
Prince: Years after his proto-rap vocals on "Irresistible Bitch" (1983), he became an early hater of hip-hop and dropped the diss track "Dead On It" (1987). (His next single "Alphabet St." (1988) featured an extended rap, so maybe he was kidding?)
* * *
Dylan: Played guitar with Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, and George Harrison as The Traveling Wilburys.
Prince: Played guitar with Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne on a George Harrison song at The 2004 Rock Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, essentially assuming Dylan's role in The Traveling Wilburys.
* * *
Dylan: Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016. He missed the ceremony due to pre-existing commitments.
Prince: Awarded Doctorate of Humane Letters by the University of Minnesota in 2018. He missed the ceremony due to his post-existence.
- Is 'Murder Most Foul' Dylan's State of the Union Address? - PopMatters ›
- Bob Dylan: Highway 61 Revisited - PopMatters ›
- Counterbalance No. 7: Bob Dylan - 'Blonde on Blonde' - PopMatters ›
- Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, and Myth, Truth, and Anger - PopMatters ›
- The Timetravellin' Bob Dylan: On 'Bringing It All Back Home ... ›
- Bob Dylan: John Wesley Harding - PopMatters ›
- Counterbalance No. 11: Bob Dylan - 'Highway 61 Revisited ... ›
- Bob Dylan: Modern Times - PopMatters ›
- Prince and Michael Jackson: The Rivalry and the Revolution ... ›
- Prince: Something That You'll Never Understand - PopMatters ›
- Prince: Originals (album review) - PopMatters ›
- More Candy 4 Us: Prince Is Back with 3 Albums - PopMatters ›
- Dirty Minds Think Alike: The Forgotten Rivalry of Prince and Rick ... ›
- Prince: Chaos, Disorder, and Revolution - PopMatters ›
- Prince's Parade: It's Really All About the Music - PopMatters ›
- Bob Dylan: Rough and Rowdy Ways | Music Review - PopMatters ›
- Dylan the European - PopMatters ›
- On Bob Dylan's 'Rough and Rowdy Ways' Everything Old Is New Again - PopMatters ›
- Outgrowing the Grown-Up Album: Bob Dylan's 'Blood on the Tracks' - PopMatters ›
- Counterbalance 23: Bob Dylan - 'Blood on the Tracks' - PopMatters ›