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In the early 1960's, in an America rocked by the assassination of JFK and unsettled by the ongoing war in Vietnam, a young singer named Bob Dylan was writing songs whose poetic storylines and prophetic warnings sent a shudder through the political establishment and spoke for a disillusioned generation which had lost direction since the immasculation of rock & roll.
Influenced by the great Hank Williams and inspired by a dying Woody Guthrie, Dylan revolutionised the musical landscape for countless aspiring singer-songwriters to follow, leading both the protest movement with folk singer Joan Baez and also beginning a move towards greater introspection and reflection in songwriting.
As a political songwriter Dylan can be compared most closely to his contemporary, friend and "rival" Phil Ochs ( and perhaps to Buffy Sainte-Marie ), as a poet to Leonard Cohen, and as a confessional songwriter to a host of followers, perhaps the most acclaimed of which are Joni Mitchell, whose insight and versatility broke new ground for the solo female artist, and Neil Young, who, along with Gram Parsons followed Dylan into electrified folk & country rock, the influence of which is evident today in the songs of Ryan Adams.

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Prominent songwriters

Bob Dylan
Phil Ochs
Buffy Sainte-Marie
Leonard Cohen
Laura Nyro
Joni Mitchell
Paul Simon
Tim Buckley
Randy Newman
Neil Young
Jackson Browne
David Ackles
Janis Ian
James Taylor
Don McLean
John Denver
Neil Diamond
Carole King
Billy Joel
John Prine
Tom Waits
Rickie Lee Jones
Suzanne Vega
Tracy Chapman
Tori Amos
Ryan Adams
Rufus Wainwright


audio : Singer-Songwriters

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books : about Rock & Pop