Monday, March 29, 2010

One Headlight by The Wallflowers

Being the child of a rock legend can’t be an easy, especially if you try to follow you dad into the music business. I mean it’s not like your dad is known within the industry as being successful, these kids havs parents that not only changed music but changed the world.

Julian Lennon, the song of John Lennon, had a rough go at it. His biggest album Valotte featured some pop hits but most people simply could not get over how much he sounded like his father.

Lisa Marie Presley has had more success creating her own musical voice outside drawing upon her musical heritage.

Embracing her heritage she recorded a duet with her dad for this version of “In The Ghetto” and though she hasn’t had the success of her dad, Elvis, she has developed a strong following.

When Jakob Dylan and his band The Wallflowers released there break out album Breaking Down The Horse, things lined up in a way that never did for many other famous children of rock stars. This 1996 release sold quadruple platinum and featured top selling singles including “One Headlight” which has become their signature song.

Listening to “One Headlight,” Bob Dylan’s influence in instantly apparent. The way Jakob slides around the melodies and sing-speaks is reminiscent of Bob Dylan’s early work like “The Times They Are A Changin’.” The lyrics while they aren’t as packed as thickly with imagery and double meaning are still powerful and poetic. Lines like “I seen the sun coming up at the funeral at dawn, the long broken arm of human law” create immediate emotions impressions in the mind.

Other lines like “I turn the engine, but the engine doesn't turn. Well it smells of cheap wine & cigarettes, this place is always such a mess, sometimes I think I'd like to watch it burn” swirl around themselves and are utilized as much for how the words sound as their lyrical meaning.

When “One Headlight” came out I was in high school and I still remember how much this song transfixed me. It was eerie, lonely and strangely triumphant. The chorus rises to a powerful peak breaking out of the gloom.

Jakob has gone on to create more fascinating music with The Wallflowers and a great solo album, Seeing Things.

I can’t imagine what it would be like to walk around and known that everybody knows who my father is. It’s hard to say whether someone like Julian Lennon ever really got a fair go at it. You can’t chose what situation you are born into but Jakob Dylan has made it work. Not running away from his father’s enormous shadow but embracing who he is musically defining what it means to be a Dylan for his new generation.

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