Chronicles: Volume One Chronicles discussion


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What is the best Dylan biography?

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Sarah I want to know more!


Salma lol...you'll have to readd the book. I know, I took the easy way out with that one. It's just that there's no way to do this work justice- it's like one of his songs- you've gotta experience it- let it hit you. Like a Dali painting.

He talks in poetry- he made me laugh so hard with his sarcasm I got cramps. He tells us what inspired him- when he got inspired (age 12, banging around on the piano, listening to Little Richard records), talks about Suze, the love he's still obviously in love with. Talks about his dry spells- the despair that came with it.

He doesn't give us juicy details which are the stuff of tabloids- but that's good, 'cause I think I'd lose respect for him. All I can say is, pick it up and you'll see.


message 3: by Jennifer (aka EM) (last edited Oct 25, 2008 06:25PM) (new)

Jennifer (aka EM) I generally don't like any of 'em! But if you want a great article that really delves into the man, his poetry and the impact he's had, try this from Salon, written on Dylan's 60th birthday. :-)


message 4: by Jason (new)

Jason I liked the old Shelton bio, fanboyish as it is in a lot of ways. Chronicles is great for filling in some holes and for the richness of several anecdotes, for example the hand problems changing the way he played and where the understanding on how to do it came from.


message 6: by Jennifer (aka EM) (last edited Oct 26, 2008 12:47PM) (new)

Jennifer (aka EM) Ahhh, yes. No relation to the Scorcese film of the same name (is there?). That film is a great look at early Dylan btw.

I don't know why none of the books really do it for me; I think it has something to do with their two-dimensionality. It's hard to reduce an artist of Dylan's complexity to words on a page, anecdotes and feel like you're getting something illuminating about his art.


Salma I've been hearing rumors that the next volume of Chronicles is coming out in November. Come on, Bobby babe, we're waiting...


Bill Whitaker To answer the original question, I've read a lot of them over the years, beginning with "Folk Rock: The Bob Dylan Story" by Sy and Barbara Ribikove in 1966 (still worth reading for the way it captured the times and how Dylan was viewed then). But "Chronicles" is the McCoy, because Dylan has no need to speculate and, at least in Vol. 1, he seems to have suppressed his compulsive need to obscure.
As for the films, "Don't Look Back" is essential (and VERY revealing); "No Direction Home" is a good, solid overview; but "The Other Side of the Mirror," which consists entirely of footage from the 1963, 1964 and 1965 Newport Folk Festivals, actually gives a visceral experience of Dylan's rise to super-stardom. The release of the Witmark demos offers hope that someday maybe (who knows, baby) we'll get to see all of "Eat the Document."


Gregory Hi... one of the better biographies - and it has been criticized for some of its claims (some of the things that were printed Dylan didn't like, like the Ramblin' Jack Eliot criticism of Dylan, for example) is the Anthony Scaduto biography written in the early 70s... It's been a long time since I read it, but it was an excellent book, and although it was an unauthorized biography (as far as I can remember it was unauthorized - I think Dylan said at the time that, although it was unauthorized, "the funny thing is I like the book"), it was well researched, and I learned a lot about Dylan and his relationship with Woody Guthrie from Scaduto's research...


Michael Sussman I'm reading Howard Sounes's Down the Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan from 2001, and it's fantastic.


Linda Crouse Salma wrote: "lol...you'll have to readd the book. I know, I took the easy way out with that one. It's just that there's no way to do this work justice- it's like one of his songs- you've gotta experience it- le..."

I agree that Chronical's is the best because it is't the typical tell all. It is very Dylan to say what he wants, how he wants and play with your mind along the way. You gotta respect the man for being true to himself and not care about what others want him to be.


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