In younger days, I would cringe at the sound of Dylan (except for Positively 4th Street & Like A Rolling Stone). Now, in wiser, more musically astute days, I am enraptured by Dylan's genius. I think it may have been his voice that initially turned me off, but once I got past that and heard the music, I was hooked and now feel that his voice fits the music perfectly. What made me give Dylan a second chance? I think it was hearing brilliant covers by the Byrds, Hendrix and others, and then discovering these brilliant songs came from Bob. Of course, his stint with the Wilburys and his close friendship with George helped to open my eyes and ears, too.
Johnny Cash. My God, I LOVE Johnny Cash. As recently as 10 years ago I wouldn't bother with any JC beyond the song 'I Walk The Line'. The man and his music is brilliant. If you have not heard the series of American Recordings albums (recorded in his final years and some released posthumously), check them out. In some songs, you can hear in his voice, sometimes weak and raspy, that the man is dying, yet it somehow adds gravitas to the song, rather than detracting from it. I feel that Johnny and George were on the same path in that they both knew they were dying and were using their last years to prepare for what's next and to exit this world in a state of grace. We know that about George and you can hear it in Johnny's last recordings.
When I was in high school some **cough**30*cough** years ago, I thought that the Beach Boys were "totally square and uncool". What a silly and deaf young man I was.
Captain Beefheart. I've recently discovered the excellent 'Safe As Milk' album from 1967 (now I understand what those 'Safe As Milk' slogans mean on John's cabinet doors in that photo where he's lying on his couch in Weybridge, reading the paper).
On the flip side, I used to love U2. I saw them in the early 80's just before the 'War' album hit the charts and I was blown away. They lost me a bit around the 'Rattle & Hum' days, but 'Achtung Baby' was brilliant and brought me right back into the fold. Since then, however, I have found them to be mind numbingly dull. I gave up buying their albums after 'Atomic Bomb' which, in my humble opinion, was just that, listened once and could not force a second time.
The Beatles, of course, were and remain my first love. The first two albums I ever owned were 'The White Album' and 'Ram' and if I was to forced to restart my album collection from scratch I would begin again with those two albums.
I've been delving into and discovering some more obscure, yet brilliant, classic music lately. I used to be of a mind that, if it wasn't a hit then I'm not interested. But that leaves missing out on some pretty brilliant music. I've been utilizing my local public library consortium to borrow CDs and add them to my iPod. My latest and greatest discovery has been a box set of 1965-68 garage band-type music called "Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968". Much of it is stuff I'd never heard before, but most of it is powerful and fantastic music. Check if your library has it and borrow it. Or check it out on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00000AFWZ/ref=s9_simh_gw_p15_d0_g15_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=124Y0ZYZPXN83FH89QH9&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=470938631&pf_rd_i=507846