Once Upon a Time: The Lives of Bob Dylan
Written with an intelligence and verve rarely found in rock biography, the mysterious artist that is Bob Dylan is illuminated through the cultural history of his time.
Half a century ago, a youth appeared from the American hinterland and began a cultural revolution. The world is still coming to terms with what Bob Dylan accomplished in his artistic explosion upon popular culture.
In Once Upon a Time, award-winning author Ian Bell draws together the tangled strands of the many lives of Bob Dylan in all their contradictory brilliance. For the first time, the laureate of modern America is set in his entire context: musical, historical, literary, political, and personal.
Full of new insights into the legendary singer, his songs, his life, and his era, ?this new biography reveals anew the artist who invented himself in order to reinvent America. Once Upon a Time is a lively investigation of a mysterious personality that has splintered and reformed, time after time, in a country forever trying to understand itself. Now that mystery is explained.
Clinton Heylin’s Dylan: Behind Closed Doors — The Recording Sessions 1960—1994. 2 Who came up with this bizarre description for the black corduroy cap? Shelton was first, presumably, in his September ’61 New York Times review. For pedantry’s sake, note only that in Edward W. Kemble’s original illustrations for Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Huck is shown, in every instance, wearing a broad-brimmed, broken-crowned straw hat. Dylan’s long and strange relationship with hats generally is another
printers. By 1964 he was a New York Daily Mirror journalist whose claim to fame was that he had written the city’s first review of Dylan. He was also a friend of Suze Rotolo who advertised the fact that he was unimpressed by the songwriting sensation of the hour, though happy enough to hang out in his vicinity. Karman, in the usual accounts of the expedition, heard all and saw all. Or rather, he was the only one of the four later to give an account of what he saw and what he heard. He has been
you had to be there to picture it.’ Reality was the fake. Robert Shelton’s review did not strain against the grandly grey journalistic conventions of the New York Times. What made the piece unusual was the praise it lavished on a performer who was just the opening act (to the Greenbriar Boys) at Gerde’s. Actually prosaic, the rave — worth a pretty penny to any singer, far less a beginner — reads now like a communiqué from one side of the cultural fence to the other. It is couched in the high-end
was the epitome of a familiar newspaper type, the star-struck entertainment journalist, the reporter turned courtier. To accuse Aronowitz of sycophancy towards Dylan in 1964 is to underestimate the versatility of the verb ‘to fawn’. It was not a tendency the hack bothered to conceal. After the dust had settled he truly believed that ‘the ’60s wouldn’t have been the same without me’. The only point of a newspaper job was to get Al Aronowitz to the heart of the action. Objectivity and impartiality
a basement full of antique noises and a country idyll, then religious fads and a glib superstar’s decadence and decay; next a return to the oldest blues of all, like an immersion in a deep, cold stream, as the preface to another — final? — summation. You could as easily characterise the process, plain enough in the songs, as an oscillation between complexity and apparent simplicity, between ‘Stuck Inside of Mobile’ and ‘I Dreamed I Saw St Augustine’, between ‘Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With