Minnesota's most famous bard has had his share of honors, but he missed the cut on one that could have made him a musical ambassador to the galaxy.
The upcoming PBS documentary, "The Farthest -- Voyager in Space," examines many tales about the probe that was launched in 1977 on an ongoing mission to seek new worlds, including how Earthlings decided what to include on an on-board "Golden Record," a collection of tunes designed to represent our style of music to any alien beings the Voyager may meet along the way.
The film, which premieres Aug. 23, reveals that the team was tempted to include a Bob Dylan tune, but ultimately decided that American rock was better represented by Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode."
"Bob’s lyrics are his strongest aspect and I don't think his lyrical brilliance is as likely to reach an extraterrestrial," the "Golden Record" producer Timothy Ferris told me earlier this week. "His music is fantastic, but the music largely belongs to a larger rock tradition that, to some degree, preceded him."
If Dylan had made the cut, what song had the edge?
"You know, those discussions go on on the Bob Dylan websites all the time," said Ferris, a former Rolling Stone editor. "There are at least 300 Dylan songs that are just phenomenally good. So I probably would have looked for something wonderful that came in around two minutes and 20 seconds."