Regardless of what you think about Mr Dylan’s fitness to join the ranks of John Steinbeck and William Faulkner as American Nobel laureates, you cannot deny his influence on modern song-writing. Popular tunes tend to have bland, clichéd lyrics. As Mr Dylan was recording his first singles, radios across the land blared “round, round, get around, I get around” and “she loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah”. His protest songs brought him to fame—he performed during the March on Washington in 1963, where Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech—but he was not the first popular musician to dabble with more weighty topics. Woody Guthrie sang in defence of labour unions in the 1940s, around the same time that Billie Holiday was lamenting lynchings in “Strange Fruit”. What made Mr Dylan exceptional was the way that he phrased his thoughts.