Once Upon a Time: The Lives of Bob Dylan
Submitted by rocker43 on 5 September 2013 - 10:14pm
This very well researched book delivers a fresh, objective examination of Dylan's lyrical and poetic genius, as well as a candid examination of his self mythology and chameleon personality. Bell's forensic critiques of Dylan's commercially released albums and bootlegs from the 1960s/early 70s period are also pretty much on the mark, and he excels at distinguishing the genius material from the sub standard dross that Dylan also produced during this time. The book focuses on Dylan's evolution from beat poet folkie to electric rock superstar to country and western crooner to introspective artist on the threshold of middle age. Bell is excellent on Dylan's frenetic output and tours of 1965/66, and the triptych of electric albums, "Bringing It All Back Home", "Highway 61 Revisited" and "Blonde on Blonde", and explores why he decided that he did not want to be spokesman of a generation and how he saw right through the plasticity of the Woodstock generation.
Length of read:
Might appeal to people who enjoyed:
Bob Dylan's "Chronicles", and various other works of Dylanology by Greil Marcus, Clinton Heylin and Howard Sounes etc
One thing you've learned:
That every book about Bob Dylan, no matter how well researched or well written, only reinforces the perception that the man is an enigma, a riddle and a mystery. And that it is possible to write a compelling and credible narrative about such a unique artist without leaning on first hand interviews with him.