Chronicles, Volume One
"I'd come from a long ways off and had started a long ways down. But now destiny was about to manifest itself. I felt like it was looking right at me and nobody else." So writes Bob Dylan in Chronicles: Volume One, his remarkable book exploring critical junctures in his life and career. Through Dylan's eyes and open mind, we see Greenwich Village, circa 1961, when he first arrives in Manhattan. Dylan's New York is a magical city of possibilities -- smoky, nightlong parties; literary awakenings; transient loves and unbreakable friendships. Elegiac observations are punctuated by jabs of memories, penetrating and tough. With the book's side trips to New Orleans, Woodstock, Minnesota and points west, Chronicles: Volume One is an intimate and intensely personal recollection of extraordinary times.By turns revealing, poetical, passionate and witty, Chronicles: Volume One is a mesmerizing window on Bob Dylan's thoughts and influences. Dylan's voice is distinctively American: generous of spirit, engaged, fanciful and rhythmic. Utilizing his unparalleled gifts of storytelling and the exquisite expressiveness that are the hallmarks of his music, Bob Dylan turns Chronicles: Volume One into a poignant reflection on life, and the people and places that helped shape the man and the art.

Chronicles, Volume One Details

TitleChronicles, Volume One
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 13th, 2005
PublisherSimon & Schuster
ISBN-139780743244589
Rating
GenreMusic, Nonfiction, Biography, Autobiography, Memoir, Biography Memoir, History, Literature, American, Poetry, Rock N Roll

Chronicles, Volume One Review

  • Ana
    January 1, 1970
    I used to love Bob Dylan until he said, and I quote, 'If you have slave running through your blood or are a descent of the Ku Klux Klan, black people can sense that. It remains to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood.'I don't take kindly to being compared to a Nazi. Next time, you better think twice before you insult an entire nation. Croatian people are not barbarians. The history of Yugoslavia is complex enough without having to deal with pretent I used to love Bob Dylan until he said, and I quote, 'If you have slave running through your blood or are a descent of the Ku Klux Klan, black people can sense that. It remains to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood.'I don't take kindly to being compared to a Nazi. Next time, you better think twice before you insult an entire nation. Croatian people are not barbarians. The history of Yugoslavia is complex enough without having to deal with pretentious celebrities and their know-it-all, superior attitude. I oughtta give this book one star over that. But I won't. I'm all for freedom of speech. *flips hair*Insult and false comparison aside, this man has talent. What he lacks in courtesy he makes up for in creativity and talent. I've been a fan ever since I saw No Direction Home, directed by Martin Scorsese. One of the best documentaries I've ever seen. I can't tell you how many times I've watched it. (Bob Dylan with Johnny Cash. Just because I can)This was not an easy book to read. I wanted more personal stories, more juicy details. I wanted to know more about his relationship with Joan Baez. I had to remind myself this was Bob, not exactly a touchy-feely kind of person. Still a good read though. “Sometimes you just have to bite your upper lip and put sunglasses on.”
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  • Geoff
    January 1, 1970
    I’m going to do something I try not to do here, since I consider this to be a site about other people’s words- I’m going to ramble on autobiographically for a bit.I bought this first volume of Dylan’s Chronicles the day it came out in 2004, was anticipating the hell out of it. Back then I was managing a used record store in College Park, Maryland. I studied poetry and creative writing at UMD, big waste of my time, could’ve learned all that on my own, learn more now on my own than I did then anyw I’m going to do something I try not to do here, since I consider this to be a site about other people’s words- I’m going to ramble on autobiographically for a bit.I bought this first volume of Dylan’s Chronicles the day it came out in 2004, was anticipating the hell out of it. Back then I was managing a used record store in College Park, Maryland. I studied poetry and creative writing at UMD, big waste of my time, could’ve learned all that on my own, learn more now on my own than I did then anyway, except from maybe two or three professors who had something to say, and besides reading a lot of Shakespeare, it was a big snooze. Though I did find Frank O’Hara and John Ashberry and Fernando Pessoa and I feel like I learned a great deal about ol’ Will’s plays I wouldn’t have come to on my own. Other than that, I should have studied languages or education or linguistics or history or something that could have landed me a better job after I graduated. When I did graduate, the world was so opaque to me I didn’t know how to take the next step. The reality that I considered the adult, professional world to be seemed so dead and vacant to me that I wanted no part of it, but I knew that my consciousness and my conscience were no longer with the style and opinions of my youth. I had always played music, written songs, shitty as they were, and my circle of friends were mostly wanna-be artists and musicians, some skateboarding punks, pot-heads, some real dim and bright lights. I got a job managing a used record store a few of my friends worked at. That way I didn’t have to move home after graduation, could stay around DC, which I loved (coming from a small town in southern Maryland, the DC/Baltimore duality is almost overwhelmingly fertile, experience-wise, especially if you are young and don’t know other cities). So I started working at this record store that was, in retrospect, at the same time the best and the worst decision I could have made.But it suited me because I knew music inside and out. I knew punk, weirdo-rock, jazz, little no name labels, blues, pop, rap, R & B, African music, Brazilian music, folk singers, composers- I had an infinite catalog of songs always running through my head, felt like I knew millions of lyrics by heart, could name jazz artists by the first four or so bars of a tune, dove deep into every style of music. And I was playing music, writing it myself, so it was an ideal situation, but one I still wanted to keep extremely temporary, employment-wise. My favorite bands came out of the 80’s noise scene, SST bands, stuff like Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., Spacemen 3, Pelt, bands like Minor Threat and Fugazi, I got into Pavement because they were like nothing I’d ever heard, I dug The Velvet Underground as much as anyone could, “Pale Blue Eyes” still makes me weepy, I loved those strange little short-lived mathematical bands like June of 44, A Minor Forest, Hoover. I also loved jazz, all jazz, from Louis Armstrong to the most wild Albert Ayler tunes, Coltrane, Archie Shepp, Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman, the European improvisers of harsh noise like Peter Brotzmann, Mats Gustafsson, especially drummers like Hamid Drake, Paal Nilssen-Love, and the masters like Elvin Jones and Buddy Rich, Philly Joe Jones; the great tenor players Sonny Rollins and Lester Young, and those ethereal beings such as Sun Ra, Bobby Hutcherson, Anthony Braxton, who you couldn’t really define or pin down. I came to exalt Django Reinhardt as if he was the real Jesus, the three-fingered Jesus, more striking and more straight to the point than the other Jesus. I had all kinds of music coursing throughout my entire being, pulsing through me all day, all night, I worshiped these people, had shrines to them, treated vinyl records like idols. I played music all day in the store, just put everything on. Heard so much. Found so many things I would never have known about unless I had those hours to just explore a vast quantity of random records at my leisure. The only stuff I didn’t really get into was the watered-down stuff, the stuff that sounded too polished, too clean, like pretty college boys made it, or like it cost a million dollars to record. Anything gritty, anything that had something a little off to it, something that didn’t quite sit right, that made you wonder just what the hell was up with this person, I could get into. All genres, all types. The common thread was originality and heart, and something mournful or odd about the tune. It wasn’t until those long, strangely-paced hours of digging through the stock of that record store that I came to know Bob Dylan’s music.Dylan had always eluded me, don’t know why, I came to him relatively late in the development of my tastes. I guess it was that I was well-versed in obscurities, but big names of the popular music world seemed instantly repugnant to me; it’s a fault of youth, wanting things to be just for yourself. I just thought that if the masses liked them they couldn’t hold any kind of secret. That the secrets were held by a chosen few, who spoke in tongues, and that those kind of revelations wouldn’t, couldn’t reach a mass audience. The weirder the better, it seemed to me, and the more authentic. So when I put on “The Times They Are A-Changin’”, I just expected it would be another 40 minute write off. Not that I didn’t know Dylan; you can’t grow up in America and not know the name Bob Dylan. It’s like not knowing the names Abe Lincoln or Lee Harvey Oswald. But I don’t think I had ever seriously listened to one of his records until now, and in retrospect I think that was the singularly best time for me to hear him, maybe the only time up until then that I was ripe to understand what he was doing, the immensity of what he means, as a songwriter, as a cultural figure, as a presence in the American twentieth century. You can’t be a child or of a child-like mind to get Dylan. You have to have experience, you have to have known some kind of pain and loss and redemption of some sort; like the great blues artists- Charlie Patton, Big Bill Broonzy, Leadbelly- you can’t be kidding around and get what these guys are trying to put across.Dylan hit me like a brick in the face. “With God On Our Side” and “Chimes of Freedom” were the first songs I remember being utterly enraptured with and destroyed by from him:“Starry-eyed and laughing as I recall when we were caughtTrapped by no track of hours for they hanged suspendedAs we listened one last time an' we watched with one last lookSpellbound an' swallowed 'til the tolling endedTolling for the aching ones whose wounds cannot be nursedFor the countless confused, accused, misused, strung-out ones an' worseAn' for every hung-up person in the whole wide universe”“To Ramona” was perhaps the greatest love song I’d ever personally heard: “The flowers of the city, though breath-like, get death-like sometimes.”... “Corrina, Corrina”, “Girl of the North Country”, etc., the big ones hit me too, “Hard Rain A’Fallin’”, “Only A Pawn in Their Game”. Those first few acoustic records of his seemed like liquid fire, lightning and stone all at once, all of it telling utterly real and bleak truths. And then I moved on through his catalog. “Bringing It All Back Home” and the rock-a-billy blues forms, the humor in the lyrics, the takes they kept of Bob laughing at himself, the searing rhythm of the band, “Highway 61 Revisited” which is probably in the top 5 greatest records ever cut, and on through the weirdness of the early seventies, the mid-seventies masterpieces “Planet Waves”, “Blood on the Tracks”, “Desire”, and then off into the cosmos of the 80’s and 90’s when he was throwing all this stuff at the wall to see what would stick, and the eventual renaissance of his late 90’s records and albums from this century, when he really found his form and his tongue again, when you realized he never lost anything but was just out for a long walk... what it was (and this took me a lot of listening to pin down) was that Dylan captured it all, all the influences, all the currents, all the sounds, all the weirdness and nostalgia, the Americana, the high lonesome sound of the mountains as well as the chaos of the city streets, the resonance of the abandoned plains and the reverberation of both ocean coasts, the silence of the hermetic shepherd under the stars and the cockiness of the hard-boiled city kid, the upstart... everything I liked about all the music I had discovered, it all flowed through that great flame of hair, burned in those eyes, seared in that voice and echoed in those plucked strings...I came to say things like “the Elizabethans had Shakespeare, we have Dylan” and I believe that. Dylan is twentieth century America to me. Somehow it all became amassed in this slight, skinny Jewish kid from the North Country. He seems like the ghost of everyone who ever lived, singing all their laments.So when the first volume of his autobiography came out in 2004 I had my copy set aside at the now long gone but always loved Vertigo Books, and eagerly ran over from the record store to pick it up. But for whatever reason, the first few pages didn’t catch me. I don’t know why. I thought of Dylan as the great artist of our times, of the times preceding mine, of the times to come, and yet, it may have been because of the other reading I was into then (a lot of Joyce, reading and rereading Ulysses), it didn’t grab me. I set it aside. It’s seven years later, I’m working a much better job, just put a record out under my own name, Dylan is still with me as strong as ever, and I’m closing the last page of this remarkable first volume of his memoirs.The book itself is most definitely not only for Dylan aficionados, mostly because so much of what is in the book is Dylan observing the world and times around him, going deep into specifics of memories, fixing time and place by weather, news, architecture, the personalities he encounters, the particularities of the sky and trees, the shadows on streets, the vibe of rooms, the ambience of smoky cramped clubs; basically he writes with an eyes-open style, absorbing the physical world, not self-involved but totally observant. Dylan the man disappears into the spaces he evokes, and then he emerges, startles one with some strange sentence or description, and then the earth is spinning on again, and he is immersed in discourses on folk songs, bars, cities, literature, politics, human nature, history, specifics of music theory, recording techniques, travels; the narrative is utterly non-linear, too; he leaps from memory to memory, associations taking him across decades, and this being the first of what is to be a three volume series, you can see Chronicles becoming this big time, shuffling, always-in-motion mosaic.It’s no surprise that the most literate of song writers loves books so much, and one of the early pleasures in Chronicles is Dylan discovering the books he was to adore, rifling through the libraries of different friends whose couches he happened to be crashing on. Tolstoy, Pushkin, Chekhov, Gogol, Maupassant, Poe, Byron, Shelley, Milton, Ovid; but above all Balzac, Rimbaud, and Baudelaire. (As recently as “Love and Theft” Dylan was still lifting lines like “Time and love has branded me with its claws”, in “Po’ Boy”, straight out of Baudelaire’s “Le Spleen de Paris”). He can’t help but quote Nietzsche and Von Clausewitz and he keeps returning to Kerouac, who he adored as a youth but then came to de-romanticize. Kerouac is to him another emblematic, problematic American figure. He cites Robert Graves’ The White Goddess, and then tells how he eventually met Graves and wanted to ask him all these things about that book, and the poetic muse, but by that time he had forgotten everything about it.Dylan came from Duluth, near where Highway 61, the main thoroughfare of the country-blues, begins, near where the Mississippi River starts, the cold North, steel country, where foghorns blast over Lake Superior, almost mythical territory in itself, and it is in the mythos of America, the mythical Americana of the twentieth century, that Dylan immerses himself, his music, and his recollections- the America of radio plays, general stores, one-room schoolhouses, frost-hewn meadows, coal mines, church bells, patriotic heroes and heroic villains, cowboys and bank robbers and sheriffs and train jumpers, county fairs, Woody Guthrie-esque wandering minstrels above all else, delta blues men and call and response holler sessions- even if you don’t love Dylan, Chronicles is a gigantic, rich, full catalog of all of this kind of lore. One of his song writing techniques in the early Greenwich Village days was to spend hours in the New York Public Library, reading endless newspapers from the 1850’s and 1860’s, picking up random, strange, peculiar stories about the daily life of antebellum Americans. All of that shows in his early songs, and it shows in the particular distance he kept from the movements and currents of his own times- when the entire 60’s youth culture was demanding him to take a stand and be their voice and leader, he could not have felt less in common with them; characters like Stagger Lee and Ulysses S. Grant were more of his peers and contemporaries than the hippies marching on Washington or at Woodstock. His reality was formed by folk songs, which were formed by the lingering smoke of history and personal experience. He was to take those folk forms and blow them all to pieces, make them more than contemporary or futuristic, was to mold something completely new and different from that material, but the American past and American folk stories are the generating point of all he did or has ever done, and the fashions and causes of the times only seem like drops in the great ocean of history he was drawing on.Beyond all of this, Dylan can write prose very well, very interestingly, and in a style that is all his own. If you have heard Theme Time Radio Hour or any recent interview, that is the voice of this book- the blown out, craggy, father-time voice that sounds and talks like it is centuries old, like a petrified forest's would be. The strange rhythms of his speaking voice are not lost in his sentence structure, neither is his ability as a striking wordsmith. On New Orleans:“The city is a very long poem... Everything in New Orleans is a good idea. Bijou Temple-type cottages and lyric cathedrals side by side. Houses and mansions, structures of wild grace. Italianate, Gothic, Romanesque, Greek Revival standing in a long line in the rain. Roman Catholic art. Sweeping front porches, turrets, cast-iron balconies, colonnades- thirty-foot columns, gloriously beautiful- double pitched roofs, all the architecture of the whole wide world and it doesn’t move. In New Orleans you could almost see other dimensions. There’s only one day at a time here, then it’s tonight and then tomorrow will be today again.”On Johnny Cash:“...ten thousand years of culture fell from him. He could have been a cave dweller. He sounds like he’s a the edge of a fire, or in the deep snow, or in a ghostly forest...”On Dave Van Ronk:“Every night I felt like I was sitting at the feet of a timeworn monument... his voice was like rusted shrapnel.”On an 8 second, 8mm film clip of Robert Johnson:“He’s playing with huge, spider-like hands and they magically move over the strings of his guitar. There’s a harp rack with a harmonica around his neck. He looks nothing like a man of stone, no high-strung temperament. He looks almost child-like, an angelic looking figure, innocent as can be. He’s wearing a white linen jumper, coveralls and an unusual gilded cap like Little Lord Fauntleroy. He looks nothing like a man with the hellhound on his trail. He looks immune to human dread and you stare at the image in disbelief.”I particularly like “structures of wild grace” and “nothing like a man with the hellhound on his trail”. Chronicles is full of this kind of stuff. If you have any notion of or interest in the history or the music of what is called Americana, of everything us Americans here in the United States are culturally perched upon in the twenty-first century, this first volume of Dylan’s memoirs seems like a proper portal that can lead you to into its great depths; it’s fascinating and I can’t wait for the next volumes.
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  • Paul Bryant
    January 1, 1970
    Conscience impels me to remove one star from my original 5. I'm bewitched, bothered and bewildered.When this gorgeously written, completely eccentric and endearing memoir came out in 2004 I loved it, and my original review is included below. In the years since then, Dylan fans and commentators have been finding out stuff, and it opens a big can of worms, the worms ofPLAGIARISMBecause, it seems, if the rabid batgooglers and archive monkeys are to be believed, large parts - maybe all - of Chronicl Conscience impels me to remove one star from my original 5. I'm bewitched, bothered and bewildered.When this gorgeously written, completely eccentric and endearing memoir came out in 2004 I loved it, and my original review is included below. In the years since then, Dylan fans and commentators have been finding out stuff, and it opens a big can of worms, the worms ofPLAGIARISMBecause, it seems, if the rabid batgooglers and archive monkeys are to be believed, large parts - maybe all - of Chronicles are not original writing by Bob Dylan at all but an original mosaic of other people's phrases stitched together by Bob Dylan. I quote from some of these findings on the Expecting Rain website :from a book called Really the Blues (1946) by Mezz Mezzrow and Bernard Wolfe, in which a hipster introduces "his chick" to Mezzrow:Baby this that powerful man with that good grass that'll make you tip through the highways and byways like a Maltese kitten. Mezz, this is my new dinner and she's a solid viper.And now, part of Dylan's description of his friend Ray's girl, Chloe Kiel:She was cool as pie, hip from head to toe, a Maltese kitten, a solid viper — always hit the nail on the head. I don't know how much weed she smoked, but a lot. (Chronicles, p. 102)And later in Really the Blues, a black man was "sitting there actually talking to a white woman cool as pie."Really The Blues, page 241:"I never tried to make a real business out of the gauge, but the demand for it just sprang up by itself, and even after giving the other guys their cut I always had a couple of hundred bucks come the end of the week. I was able to take care of Bonnie and her kid real good, with some new furniture in the house, plenty of clothes, and everything else they needed. My name was getting around the country like wildfire."Chronicles, page 103:"Maybe someday your name will get around the country like wildfire," she'd say. "If you ever get a couple of hundred bucks, buy me something.Really The Blues, page 245:"...and empty garbage cans loaded with bricks on the heads of the Irish cops on the beat."Chronicles, page 103 - 104:"I crossed over from Hudson to Spring, passed a garbage can loaded with bricks and stopped into a coffee shop."Really The Blues, page 174:"There was The Big Apple dangling right in front of my nose, shiny red and round and juicy."Chronicles, page 104:"The whole city was dangling in front of my nose."Chronicles, page 47:"The kind of people who come from out of nowhere and go right back into it — a pistol-packing rabbi, a snaggle-toothed girl with a big crucifix between her breasts - all kinds of characters looking for the inner heat."Really The Blues, page 6:"I found myself running with a literary ex-pug, a pistol-packing rabbi, and a peewee jockey whose onliest riding crop was a stick of marihuana."Really The Blues, page 203:"These two fly chicks got up on their high-horse when we quizzed them about it - one insisted she was pure Spanish, and sported a crucifix right over her breastworks to prove it..." Really The Blues, page 210:"He had razor legs, snaggle teeth and dribble lips..."Chronicles, page 47:"A frantic atmosphere - all kinds of characters talking fast, moving fast - some debonair, some rakish."Really The Blues, page 212:"...a light gray felt for me with the brim turned down on one side, kind of debonair and rakish."Chronicles, page 47:"Some people even had titles - 'The Man Who Made History,' 'The Link Between The Races" - that's how they'd want to be referred to."Really The Blues, page 210:"On The Corner I was to become known as the Reefer King, the Link Between the Races, The Philosopher, the Mezz, Poppa Mezz, Pop's Boy, the White Mayor of Harlem, the Man about Town, the Man that Hipped the World, the Man that Made History, the Man with the Righteous Bush, He Who Diggeth the Digger, Father Neptune."From Chronicles page 4:"Outside the wind was blowing, straggling cloud wisps, snow whirling in the red lanterned streets..."From The Return of Dr. Fu-Manchu (1916) by Sax Rohmer:"The moon sailed clear of the straggling cloud wisps which alone told of the recent storm..."From Chronicles page 95, regarding Monk:"Even then, he summoned magic shadows into being."From The Return of Dr. Fu-Manchu (1916) by Sax Rohmer:"To-night the moon was come, raising her Aladdin's lamp up to the star world and summoning magic shadows into being."Ed Cook had noted a passage in Chronicles that comes from a different Sax Rohmer novel:Sax Rohmer, Dope (1919), A tiny spaniel lay beside the fire, his beady black eyes following the nervous movements of the master of the house.Chronicles, p. 167: A tiny spaniel lay at the guy's feet, the dog's beady black eyes following the nervous movements of his master.Then there's this - Chronicles, page 50:"Suspense always had a creaking door more horrible-sounding than any door you could imagine — nerve-wracking, stomach-turning tales week after week."Raised on Radio by Gerald Nachman, page 313:"The writing of each play, over the years, has been a nerve wracking, stomach-turning, head-spinning series of week-after-week crises."Chronicles, page 51:"I asked the guy who made the sound effects for the radio shows how he got the sound of the electric chair and he said it was bacon sizzling. What about broken bones? The guy took a LifeSaver and crushed it between his teeth"Raised on Radio by Gerald Nachman, page 313""His scare tactics included the sound of a man frying in the electric chair (sizzling bacon), bones being snapped (spareribs or Life Savers crushed between teeth)..."Chronicles, page 26:"...he was like an old wolf, gaunt and battle-scarred..."Call of the Wild :"Then an old wolf, gaunt and battle-scarred, came forward."Walking back to the main house, I caught a glimpse of the sea through the leafy boughs of the pines. I wasn't near it, but could feel the power beneath its colors. (Chronicles, p. 162)Compare that to this longer passage from Marcel Proust's Within a Budding Grove:But when, Mme. de Ville-parisis’s carriage having reached high ground, I caught a glimpse of the sea through the leafy boughs of trees, then no doubt at such a distance those temporal details which had set the sea, as it were, apart from nature and history disappeared ... But on the other hand I was no longer near enough to the sea which seemed to me not a living thing now, but fixed; I no longer felt any power beneath its colours, spread like those of a picture among the leaves, through which it appeared as inconsistent as the sky and only of an intenser blue.I don't think there can be any doubt that Bob had to have consciously taken these sentences and, with some revision, passed them off as his own.Another example is from a book that I imagine Dylan knows well, Huckleberry Finn:Every night we passed towns, some of them away up on black hillsides, nothing but just a shiny bed of lights; not a house could you see. ... There warn't a sound there; everybody was asleep.And now look at Chronicles, p. 165:One night when everyone was asleep and I was sitting at the kitchen table, nothing on the hillside but a shiny bed of lights ...My last exhibit (a less exact quote) comes from a book called Really the Blues (1946) by Mezz Mezzrow and Bernard Wolfe, in which a hipster introduces "his chick" to Mezzrow:Baby this that powerful man with that good grass that'll make you tip through the highways and byways like a Maltese kitten. Mezz, this is my new dinner and she's a solid viper.And now, part of Dylan's description of his friend Ray's girl, Chloe Kiel:She was cool as pie, hip from head to toe, a Maltese kitten, a solid viper — always hit the nail on the head. I don't know how much weed she smoked, but a lot. (Chronicles, p. 102)And later in Really the Blues, a black man was "sitting there actually talking to a white woman cool as pie."Now what are we to think of these "borrowings"? I know that borrowing and revising tunes and song lyrics is standard practice in folk and blues music, and Dylan has done plenty of that, quite openly, as have others. That doesn't bother me. But in a sustained piece of prose that is not meant to be sung or played, but taken as the author's own composition, it is not standard practice. In the instances given above, I think Bob comes pretty close to real plagiarism, and for all I know there are more instances in Chronicles yet to be identified. Frankly, as a Dylan fan from way back, I'm a little disappointed. Say it ain't so, Bob.UPDATE: A couple more.Jack London, Children of the Frost:"Rum meeting place, though," he added, casting an embracing glance over the primordial landscape ...Chronicles, p. 167: I cast an embracing glance over the primordial landscape ...Jack London, Tales of the Klondyke:Another tremendous section of the glacier rumbled earthward. The wind whipped in at the open doorway ...Chronicles, p. 217: Wind whipped in the open doorway and another kicking storm was rumbling earthward.UPDATE II: Yet more:Sax Rohmer, Dope (1919), A tiny spaniel lay beside the fire, his beady black eyes following the nervous movements of the master of the house.Chronicles, p. 167: A tiny spaniel lay at the guy's feet, the dog's beady black eyes following the nervous movements of his master.London, Children of the Frost: And then they are amazingly simple. No complexity about them, no thousand and one subtle ramifications to every single emotion they experience. They love, fear, hate, are angered, or made happy, in common, ordinary, and unmistakable terms.Chronicles, p. 169: Yet to me, it's amazingly simple, no complications, everything pans out. As long as the things you see don't go by in a blur of light and shade, you're okay. Love, fear, hate, happiness all in unmistakable terms, a thousand and one subtle ramifications.UPDATE III (Oct. 2): Jack London, Tales of the Klondyke: Through this the afternoon sun broke feebly, throwing a vague radiance to earth, and unreal shadows.Chronicles, p. 112: The afternoon sun was breaking, throwing a vague radiance to the earth.Jack London, White Fang: He carried himself with pride, as though, forsooth, he had achieved a deed praiseworthy and meritorious.Chronicles, p. 63: He didn't need to say much—you knew he had been through a lot, achieved some great deed, praiseworthy and meritorious, yet unspoken about it.R. L. Stevenson, Providence and the Guitar: As Leon looked at her, in her low-bodied maroon dress, with her arms bare to the shoulder, and a red flower set provocatively in her corset, he repeated to himself for the many hundredth time that she was one of the loveliest creatures in the world of women.Chronicles, p. 127: I bought a red flower for my wife, one of the loveliest creatures in the world of women. On and on it goes. They found dozens of phrases from a single issue of Time magazine April 1961 embedded in Dylan's text - clearly he wanted to give a lot of pungent contemporary detail in his memories of Greenwich Village and instead of doing what most writers would do, soaking himself in the writings of the time & then writing his own account in his own words, he assembled his memoir by taking the phrases he liked verbatim. Plagiarism I think is legally defined as consisting of seven words in an identical sequence, and I don't think Bob ever does precisely that, so, legally, maybe, he isn't a plagiarist. But it sure feels like he is.I loved this book and I'm quite shaken up to find out all this stuff. Rabid Dylan fans are brushing the whole thing aside, saying oh well, if you scrutinised any book by anyone else as much as Chronicles has been you'd find the same. But that's just insane, of course you wouldn't. So there it is. ******SOME INVESTIGATIVE WORK IS TO BE FOUND HERE:http://expectingrain.com/discussions/...http://ralphriver.blogspot.com/2006/0...http://newhavenreview.com/wp-content/...************************************************THE ORIGINAL RAVE REVIEW “Everybody’s wearing a disguise/To hide what they’ve got left behind their eyes” – okay, so what’s Bob got left behind his eyes? A billion synapses connected to a million memories, that’s what, and they burn with an intensity that only sharpens as he finally gets some of them down on paper. Quotable quotes leap from every page. On Guthrie: “For me it was like an epiphany, like some heavy anchor had just plunged into the waters of the harbour.” On reading American history: “I crammed my head full of as much of this stuff as I could stand and locked it away in my mind out of sight, left it alone. Figured I could send a truck back for it later.” On the year 1962: “The whole city was dangling in front of my nose. I had a vivid idea of where everything was.” At least half of this book is “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Bohemian Folkie”. “What I was going to do as soon as I left home was just call myself Robert Allen…” but then there was a sax player called David Allyn, and that looked good. So he changed to Robert Allyn – “more exotic, more inscrutable”. Then later “I’d seen some poems by Dylan Thomas. Dylan and Allyn sounded similar. Robert Dylan. Robert Allyn. I couldn’t decide – the letter D came on stronger.” He breathlessly captures the entrancement folk songs laid on his 19 year old self : “Folk music was a reality of a more brilliant dimension… It was life magnified…I scheduled my life around it”. To us here in 2009, it looks like Bob became a folk star with very little effort, but he had to take a couple of lumps on the way. After memorising the whole Woody Guthrie songbook, a guy he describes as the Minneapolis Commissioner of the Folk Police escorts him to a phonograph player and plays him Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, who'd already been doing pinpoint recreations of Woody for years. “I felt like I’d been cast into sudden hell… Elliott was far beyond me”. After 100 pages on the Greenwich Village scene, we jump to 1966 and the tone darkens. Since 1963 he’d been continually hyped and glorified – “the conscience of a generation” and so on. It became intolerable. He tried to get out of the pressure cooker by moving to Woodstock but he found that “roadmaps to our homestead must have been posted in all fifty states for gangs of dropouts and druggies.” Under seige on all sides, he used the minor motorcycle accident of 1966 to get some breathing space but the pressure never let up. Even his friends piled it on – in one jarring page Dylan tells of a car ride during which Robbie Robertson asks “Where do you think you’re gonna take it?” Take what? “You know, the whole music scene.” Dylan: “It was like dealing with a conspiracy. No place was far enough away. I don’t know what everyone else was fantasizing about, but what I was fantasizing about was a nine-to-five existence, a house on a tree lined block with a white picket fence, pink roses in the back yard. That would have been nice… After a while you learn that privacy is something you can sell, but you can’t buy it back.” Around that time he went to see a business broker looking over a portfolio of businesses for sale, in a futile attempt to get out of the show business into something less insane, like curtain rods or freight haulage. Sometimes the story of Bob Dylan is exactly like the Life of Brian:Bob: You don't need to follow me. You don't need to follow anybody! You've got to think for yourselves. You're all individuals! Bob’s many followers, after a pause: Tell us how to think for ourselves, O Bob! There’s nothing at all about going electric, nothing about Christianity, nothing about Rolling Thunder. Instead of those dramas, Bob regales us with ninety-pages on the making of one of his albums – song by song, session by session. Wow – which one? Could it be Freewheelin’, or Blonde on Blonde? Blood on the Tracks perhaps? Nope, of course it’s Oh Mercy. (Expect similar treatment of Knocked Out Loaded in Volume Two.) This section includes six pages on a truly crackbrained theory about all popular music being based on the number 2, but Lonnie Johnson one time showed him how you could base it on the number three. Hey, whoah there - three??– “I don’t know why the number 3 is more metaphysically powerful than the number 2, but it is.” He explains how this way of performing will revolutionise his art: “My playing was going to be an impellant in equanimity to my voice and I would use different algorithms that the ear is not accustomed to.” Say what, Bob? Come again? But a few pages later we also get Bob’s delight in buying a bumper sticker which said “World’s Greatest Grandpa”. This is a man of many parts. Chronicles is stuffed full of Bob’s Most Memorable Characters (Fred Neil, Dave Van Ronk, John Hammond, Ray Gooch) and Most Memorable Records (including a great section where Hammond gives him an advance copy of King of the Delta Blues Singers by Robert Johnson, and an account of How “Pirate Jenny” Changed My Life). There’s funny accounts of the folk purists versus the commercialisers. The whole book is drenched in music. You’re tapping your foot as you read. Well, okay, but what about the private life? It’s a little strange there. I was thinking he’s just going to avoid the whole subject but no – right at the end, a sweet few pages on Suze Rotolo (the tone of which is considerably at variance with her public reminiscences) and a portrait of Joan Baez – “she seemed very mature, seductive, intense, magical. Nothing she did didn’t work” – before he got to meet her. Aww. But no, no Sara. Discretion and the usual cabal of lawyers would have made sure of that. And in the Oh Mercy section, many mentions of “my wife” but never is she named. Pretty odd. So. Don’t look back? I should coco. When Bob looks back, it’s warm, inclusive, annoying, incomprehensible, panoramic, diamond hard, inspirational, and it’s book of the month, no contest.****The Peter Lang AnecdotePeter Lang, a great fingerstyle guitarist, was booked to play at Stamford Arts Centre by my friend David who manages it. After the gig Peter came back to David's house and amongst other things told us his Dylan Anecdote. So this is from memory.'I was working on a project in Minneapolis with David Zimmerman, Bob's brother. One day I called David. A very famous voice answered the phone. I said "Er.... is that Bob?" He said "Yeah, this is Bob". Wow! I thought hard. What should be the first thing you ask Bob Dylan? Eventually I said "Is David there?" Bob said "Sure, I'll get him." And that was my first and last conversation with Bob Dylan.'
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  • Jonathan Ashleigh
    January 1, 1970
    After being on my “to read” shelf for a while, this book jumped up a couple spots when Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for literature. He didn’t win the prize because of this autobiography or for his novel, but rather for the lyrics he wrote down and then placed over music. This autobiography is well written and honest, but it is disjointed at times and didn’t tell me much about the things I thought I wanted to know about. I wanted to know what Dylan was thinking when he wrote songs like “Blowin' After being on my “to read” shelf for a while, this book jumped up a couple spots when Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for literature. He didn’t win the prize because of this autobiography or for his novel, but rather for the lyrics he wrote down and then placed over music. This autobiography is well written and honest, but it is disjointed at times and didn’t tell me much about the things I thought I wanted to know about. I wanted to know what Dylan was thinking when he wrote songs like “Blowin' in the Wind,” and I wanted to know something about his wife and his children. These seem to be things he doesn’t want to talk about and I should have known he wasn’t going to. He has always held a stance of not discussing his music or his personal life and I have to respect him for that. Maybe I wouldn’t like his music if I knew too much about it, or him, and maybe that is something Bob Dylan knows — he did just win a Nobel Prize.
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  • Ian
    January 1, 1970
    Positively Fraud Street?I see you on the streetI always act surprisedI say, “How does it feel?”But I don’t mean it."I can't taste your words," You said, "Your songs are just lies."So I cried that you were deaf,You'd lost the sight in your eyes.And I said that you were wrongWhen you accused me of theftBut all I really wanted to know wasWhat else have you got left?No, I never wasted any time,And I never took much.I never asked for your crutch,Now don't ask me for mine.Well you got up to leaveAnd y Positively Fraud Street?I see you on the streetI always act surprisedI say, “How does it feel?”But I don’t mean it."I can't taste your words," You said, "Your songs are just lies."So I cried that you were deaf,You'd lost the sight in your eyes.And I said that you were wrongWhen you accused me of theftBut all I really wanted to know wasWhat else have you got left?No, I never wasted any time,And I never took much.I never asked for your crutch,Now don't ask me for mine.Well you got up to leaveAnd you said, "Don't forget,Everybody must give something backFor something they thieve."OK, you know it wasn't me,What I wrote was plagiarised.It was far easier justTo steal it.Lest I be misunderstoodThey weren't any heartbreaks I embracedNo, I was a master thiefAnd all I did was rob them.You think I got a lotta nerveTo say I am your friendBut in my academic gownI just stand here grinning.Love, Forgiveness and TheftSo you lost your way,But the way you made me feelHalts my turn away.Any Way the Idiot Wind BlowsSomeone's got it in for me, They're planting stories on GoodReadsWhoever it is I wish they'd cut it out quick But when they will I can only guessThey'd better hurry up and do it real soonOtherwise I'll have to shoot a man named Graye And take his wife to Italy.
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  • Lee
    January 1, 1970
    UPDATE: A good and memorable read but probably not why he won the Nobel.What a wonderful weird book about the influence of cities and sounds, knowing what you want and going for it and getting it thanks to talent, luck, attitude, and meeting the right people. Funny how it emphasizes what no one really wants to know -- "New Morning" and "Oh Mercy" era stuff instead of everything from "Hard Rain's Gonna Fall" to "Visions of Johanna" to "Shelter From the Storm" to "Isis." Those songs are hardly men UPDATE: A good and memorable read but probably not why he won the Nobel.What a wonderful weird book about the influence of cities and sounds, knowing what you want and going for it and getting it thanks to talent, luck, attitude, and meeting the right people. Funny how it emphasizes what no one really wants to know -- "New Morning" and "Oh Mercy" era stuff instead of everything from "Hard Rain's Gonna Fall" to "Visions of Johanna" to "Shelter From the Storm" to "Isis." Those songs are hardly mentioned at all -- maybe one or two mentions of "Hard Rain." Otherwise, this is a compulsively readable, folksy, lightly insightful, non-linear self-portrait of the mythic artist as regular guy from the North Country, a family man more concerned with privacy than popularity, a devout Woody Guthrie fanatic of course, not someone particularly special -- emphatically NOT the messiah, NOT the chosen one, NOT the voice of his generation, NOT the leader of the revolution -- umm except he acknowledges that, for a time, he could see and describe and supercharge the deep truth of reality. This ellipitically argues that his success came from casual, wide-open exposure to the world and art (more than just music). He's a super-sensitive empty vessel blessed with the necessary restless desire for MORE, sufficient native critical faculties, just enough OCD, and more than enough midwestern simplicity and charm -- that's pretty much it, says Dylan (not that he can be trusted). Looking forward to volume 2 where he colors in the circles he's drawn in this one. Required supplementary viewing: http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/No_...
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  • James
    January 1, 1970
    I am not by any means a big fan of autobiographies or biographies written with the ‘popular’ market in mind: Autobiographies can all too often be divided into the self-aggrandising, self-serving, self-promotion type, or alternatively the celebrity/ghost written cut and paste, vacuous and pointless nonsense type or the pseudo ‘warts and all exposé’ type – or sometimes a combination of all three. Biographies on the other hand, more often than not are written with the agenda either of the fan or th I am not by any means a big fan of autobiographies or biographies written with the ‘popular’ market in mind: Autobiographies can all too often be divided into the self-aggrandising, self-serving, self-promotion type, or alternatively the celebrity/ghost written cut and paste, vacuous and pointless nonsense type or the pseudo ‘warts and all exposé’ type – or sometimes a combination of all three. Biographies on the other hand, more often than not are written with the agenda either of the fan or the character and career assassin. All of which for me seem ultimately pointless and futile. Whilst I am sure that there may be many fine books within this genre, maybe I just haven’t come across them yet. (Perhaps I should look to the more accessible end of the literary / historical types of biography – although these can often be weighty and intimidated tomes). It goes without saying that the reading and success of any biography does of course depend on the audience, the reader. I am a big fan of Bob Dylan (his music up until around 1976) which does of course cloud and prejudice my view of anything written about or by him. I therefore approached this recommended autobiography with some caution but also with high hopes.Evident here, as you would expect, is Dylan’s undeniable skill for storytelling and the story here is bookended by passages concerning the earlier part of his career. Unfortunately though, the book is somewhat dominated by a very lengthy middle passage devoted to the lead up to and writing, recording of Dylan’s 1989 album ‘Oh Mercy’ with producer Daniel Lanois. Whilst this album did represent something of a renaissance for Dylan, it is certainly not viewed in the same light as such great and classic albums such as ‘Blonde on Blonde’, ‘Highway 61 Revisited’, ‘Blood on the Tracks’ (and more). Whilst there may be an element of ‘Oh Mercy’ representing a period when Dylan got his song-writing muse back, a return to form of sorts – it is hard to see how this is truly deserving of such a lengthy section of the book – so many words dedicated to this.Far more successful for me are the passages describing the New York, folk / art / cultural scene of the early 1960’s and convey well what an inspirational and exciting time this must have been. The passages describing his discovery of Guthrie and others who influenced and inspired Dylan and who are clearly revered by him are also compellingly written. Interesting too (although nothing that we didn’t really already know) are the descriptions of Dylan’s first experiences as a proto-celebrity – along with his discomfort and frustration at being deemed the ‘conscience and voice of a generation. I love the following quote from him in this book on that subject:“I really was never any more than what I was – a folk musician who gazed into the grey mist with tear-blinded eyes and made up songs that floated in a luminous haze”. Ultimately and unfortunately, this book seems to me very much a missed opportunity. I would like to have known more about the creation of, and inspiration behind those classic albums – rather than a late period partial return to form album such as ‘Oh Mercy’ – which pales by comparison. Perhaps though, those great albums of the past have been deliberately left in the past with an all pervading and intact air of mystery and enigma. Maybe they’ve just been written about and over analysed to death by others over the years? Maybe it would have been good to hear more from Dylan on these albums and maybe not – who knows? Maybe demystifying them would have detracted from their greatness – although I doubt it?Interestingly enough, Dylan does clearly acknowledge that musically he no longer holds the flame, no longer saw the 'truth' or 'had power and dominion over the spirits' or 'sees into things to see the truth of things' as they really are. A realistic acknowledgement that his greatest song-writing and recording days are well and truly over and long gone - recognising that now it is someone else's turn, that someone else will come along. Dylan seems in this book to be far more comfortable when writing about others – he is most compelling and engaging when writing of Woody Guthrie, Kurt Weill, Robert Johnson and others. Perhaps he is just not that comfortable when writing about himself and in some respects – he gives very little away – there is precious little about his part in the civil rights movement, nothing about his ‘religious period’, nothing really about his ‘private life’ so to speak of.As you would expect from Dylan, ‘Chronicles’ is not what you would expect – the uncompromising and obtuse even obscure attitude of Dylan throughout his musical career is something to be (more often than not) lauded – unfortunately here though – this results in what is ultimately for the most part a dissatisfying read.
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  • David Schaafsma
    January 1, 1970
    I awake this morning to the news that Bob Dylan has won the Nobel Prize for Literature for 2016, which I absolutely am happy about. A bold move for the committee. It made me think that the committee is probably quite old to do this, but also well aware of his lyrics, which I assume is the reason he wins. I also read Paul Bryant's reviews of this book, the first of which, like mine originally, was very positive. I loved the book and await more. Then I saw Paul has read a lot of research identifyi I awake this morning to the news that Bob Dylan has won the Nobel Prize for Literature for 2016, which I absolutely am happy about. A bold move for the committee. It made me think that the committee is probably quite old to do this, but also well aware of his lyrics, which I assume is the reason he wins. I also read Paul Bryant's reviews of this book, the first of which, like mine originally, was very positive. I loved the book and await more. Then I saw Paul has read a lot of research identifying plagiarized passages, and have to process all this... .. I read the review thinking of him as Jokerman, and that movie made of him where others play him as characters throughout, and all the disguises he wore on stage, always, and always bullshitting us with lies at interviews, always spoofing. Wondered if the plagiarism might be the same, or sampling. But the research suggests something more deliberate and not just kiddingly deceptive. I need to think about that. But I don't think he got the Nobel for this book, anyway, but for the lyrics, which I absolutely am ecstatic about!
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  • Jonfaith
    January 1, 1970
    Each phrase comes at you from a ten-foot drop, scuttles across the road and then another one comes like a punch on the chin.So goes Dylan on the marvel of Pirate Jenny, the haunting number by Brecht/Weill in their Three Penny Opera. Apparently seeing this performed life indelibly changed Dylan's approach to songwriting. I bought myself G.W. Pabst's film version of TPO for this recent Christmas and I was absolutely riveted by Lotte Lenya's performance of the song, she's so cold , so decisive, muc Each phrase comes at you from a ten-foot drop, scuttles across the road and then another one comes like a punch on the chin.So goes Dylan on the marvel of Pirate Jenny, the haunting number by Brecht/Weill in their Three Penny Opera. Apparently seeing this performed life indelibly changed Dylan's approach to songwriting. I bought myself G.W. Pabst's film version of TPO for this recent Christmas and I was absolutely riveted by Lotte Lenya's performance of the song, she's so cold , so decisive, much like Thomas Mann's Naphta. I was not a stranger to the song, having been moved for years by Nina Simone's rendition. My first encounter, however, happened years before when I was vacationing in Rome. Foot-sore, yet exhilarated, we had been walking all day and came across publicity posters for an Italian performer scheduled to play that evening the songs of Brecht/Weill in both German and Italian. For the life of me, I can't remember the name of the young woman -- but she owned the songs and all of us in attendance. One of the documentaries on the Three Penny Opera relates Brecht's penchant for appropriation, "he stole, but with genius." I've heard many similar references to Picasso and it is simply coincidence that Dylan next speaks of Guernica and Pablo P after his rumination on Pirate Jenny. How better could one loop the wonky arc of Chronicles than to situate the book (and its legion of complains of plagiarism) alongside such earlier masters of Love and Theft.
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  • Tosh
    January 1, 1970
    Mark my words, this book is going to be considered as an American classic piece of literature. Students in the year 2035 will study it, and young men wearing plastic rain coats will be holding this book as a fashionable prop in the most elegant nightclubs. As for me, this was such a surprise remarkable read. I didn't expect it to be so great. What makes it so great is Dylan personal observations on the world around him. The way he goes through his frirends' library was one of my favorite parts o Mark my words, this book is going to be considered as an American classic piece of literature. Students in the year 2035 will study it, and young men wearing plastic rain coats will be holding this book as a fashionable prop in the most elegant nightclubs. As for me, this was such a surprise remarkable read. I didn't expect it to be so great. What makes it so great is Dylan personal observations on the world around him. The way he goes through his frirends' library was one of my favorite parts of the book as well as his observations on the craft and genius of Tiny Tim. It's a masterpiece. It really is.
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  • Salma
    January 1, 1970
    I really want to talk with Dylan And it happened. That's what it feels like when you get under the bed covers with this book, no sound but a cricket buzz outside the window. His words come out at you like his music. Unpretentious, romantic. Funny like a Woody Allen movie. It feels like any minute that gravel voice will start whispering out of the pages to you. A genius talking about his inspiration. What more could you want? So, what inspired him? Better yet, what didn't? Everything's flowed in I really want to talk with Dylan And it happened. That's what it feels like when you get under the bed covers with this book, no sound but a cricket buzz outside the window. His words come out at you like his music. Unpretentious, romantic. Funny like a Woody Allen movie. It feels like any minute that gravel voice will start whispering out of the pages to you. A genius talking about his inspiration. What more could you want? So, what inspired him? Better yet, what didn't? Everything's flowed into his art- the cold Minnesota landscape of his childhood, street musicians, his love Suze. Life. He's telling you about his life- and you feel like he's letting you in on a secret that only the two of you now know. But isn't that always what he's done?
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  • Simona
    January 1, 1970
    Îmi pare rău, nu.Am început cartea cu multă bunăvoinţa şi fără prejudecăţi, însă nu a reuşit să mă convingă.Nu ştiu dacă stilul stângaci şi mult prea neexersat trebuie pus pe seama autorului sau este o consecinţă a unei traduceri mai puţin fericite, însă mi s-a părut obositor şi, pe alocuri, enervant. Niciodată nu am agreat abuzul de înşiruiri de nume proprii într-o singură frază, iar Dylan exagerează cu enumerările: nume de persoane, de străzi, de cluburi, de studiouri. Pentru un profan, discon Îmi pare rău, nu.Am început cartea cu multă bunăvoinţa şi fără prejudecăţi, însă nu a reuşit să mă convingă.Nu ştiu dacă stilul stângaci şi mult prea neexersat trebuie pus pe seama autorului sau este o consecinţă a unei traduceri mai puţin fericite, însă mi s-a părut obositor şi, pe alocuri, enervant. Niciodată nu am agreat abuzul de înşiruiri de nume proprii într-o singură frază, iar Dylan exagerează cu enumerările: nume de persoane, de străzi, de cluburi, de studiouri. Pentru un profan, disconfortul este major.Îmi pare rău. Aş fi fost bucuroasă să regăsesc măcar un argument "pro".N-a fost să fie, în ceea ce mă priveşte.
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  • Lynx
    January 1, 1970
    If you are looking for a straight up biography, this isn't for you. Dylan's style of writing is very disjointed and can take some getting used to, but overall the book is very well written. There is a segment on how he came to put together his album "Oh Mercy" which was very interesting but not one of his albums I was well versed in. Unfortunately he doesn't really discuss his other albums. He does talk a great deal about all of his influences (the name dropping this man can do is unreal) and fo If you are looking for a straight up biography, this isn't for you. Dylan's style of writing is very disjointed and can take some getting used to, but overall the book is very well written. There is a segment on how he came to put together his album "Oh Mercy" which was very interesting but not one of his albums I was well versed in. Unfortunately he doesn't really discuss his other albums. He does talk a great deal about all of his influences (the name dropping this man can do is unreal) and for me the book really shined when he talked about where he came from, how he discovered Woody Guthrie and his move from Minnesota to New York City.
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  • Brian
    January 1, 1970
    Know this, readers. Bob Dylan has ALWAYS and will forever continue (probably even at his death) to do things HIS OWN WAY!I read some of the reviews for this book. First off, ignore all those who are not even fans of Bob Dylan or are the ones that wish he would sing "Like a Rolling Stone" or "Tangled up in Blue." Get over it. What I saw in this book was his inspiration. You will NEVER get this in any biography about any artist. Or at least rarely. Biographies and even autobiographies are a way fo Know this, readers. Bob Dylan has ALWAYS and will forever continue (probably even at his death) to do things HIS OWN WAY!I read some of the reviews for this book. First off, ignore all those who are not even fans of Bob Dylan or are the ones that wish he would sing "Like a Rolling Stone" or "Tangled up in Blue." Get over it. What I saw in this book was his inspiration. You will NEVER get this in any biography about any artist. Or at least rarely. Biographies and even autobiographies are a way for the "experts" to place the person in history. Dylan is more than willing to allow the music critics and even historians to do that (yes he acknowledges that he is a historical figure--and he is pretty humbled by it I assume). Just don't expect him to really care. They can pour through volumes of interviews (those that he gave that revealed something of the "inner-Bob") and articles and talk to hundreds of friends and relatives. They will still never KNOW the subject completely. Bob Dylan proved that with this book. The book is "rambling" for some, but I found this stream-of-consciousness style to be refreshing and definitely influenced by Jack Kerouac or Woody Guthrie--who he has been most compared. His story telling reminded my of a grandfather or the fascinating older man down the neighborhood who would entertain you with stories. Yes they "rambled" and digressed into other subjects. But they were REAL and true and revealed something about the speaker. I am sure when the book came out almost 4 years ago, people thought "FINALLY he will give us a true picture of his life and influences!" And then they were bitterly disappointed. Bob Dylan has always done things his owne way and refuses to be pigeon-holed into wherevever even his fans want him to be. That is what makes him THE artist for the last half of 20th Century and still into today! He wants true freedom--freedom from being who even millions of people demand him to be. A freedom we all should strive for. I look forward to reading Volume II and III or IV if ever writes them. And, finally, CONGRATS on the PULITZER PRIZE, BOB! You were overdue, but I hope your best stuff is still to come and you can collectively tell the music critics and fans that haven't let go of the '60's to shove it!
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  • Jenn(ifer)
    January 1, 1970
    I'm really not a big Dylan fan per se, but that he is an amazing poet cannot be denied. Once upon a time I played a mediocre rendition of "like a rolling stone," mostly because I fell in love with this lyric:You used to ride on the chrome horse with your diplomatWho carried on his shoulder a Siamese catAin't it hard when you discover thatHe really wasn't where it's atAfter he took from you everything he could steal.No idea where he comes up with this shit, but it's brilliant. Actually, in "chron I'm really not a big Dylan fan per se, but that he is an amazing poet cannot be denied. Once upon a time I played a mediocre rendition of "like a rolling stone," mostly because I fell in love with this lyric:You used to ride on the chrome horse with your diplomatWho carried on his shoulder a Siamese catAin't it hard when you discover thatHe really wasn't where it's atAfter he took from you everything he could steal.No idea where he comes up with this shit, but it's brilliant. Actually, in "chronicles" you are given a wonderful glimpse into the song writing process, which fascinated me. On writing Everything is Broken "The semantic meaning is all in the sounds of the words. The lyrics are your dance partner. It works on a mechanical level. Everything is broken or it looks that way - chipped, cracked, in need of repair. Things are broken, then rebroken, made into something else, then broken again. Once when I was lying on the beach in Coney Island, I saw a portable radio in the sand... and it was broken ... I thought of all the best things in the world, the things I had a great affection for. Sometimes it might be a place ... but then these places become broken, too, and can't be pieced back together." Tidbits like this, little insights into his creative process... truly inspiring. Whether you are a Dylan fan or not, if you come across this book in your local library or used bookstore, I'd suggest picking it up. It's a really quick read and despite the name dropping ad nauseam, it's very accessible.
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  • Velvetink
    January 1, 1970
    *********WANT BADLY**********Mother's Day is coming up! or for Birthday then, Xmas in July, Aussie Friend Day, Happy Person who does your laundry day, Day for people who will beg for books. Well any excuse will do - have loved Bob a long time....will even be embarrassing & pimp my photo here - of a time when I played his records over and over..
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  • Dustin
    January 1, 1970
    Bob Dylan has given us a meandering, often boring and only occasionally interesting account of some of the formative moments of his career. Two thirds of the book is taken up by the story of how he came to record "New Morning" and "Oh Mercy." Yowzah! He gives only glancing, arrogant mention to the days of his most prolific and brilliant songwriting--which is fine, it doesn't shatter my perception of Dylan to find him arrogant and evasive, but I do take umbrage with the boring minutia of the reco Bob Dylan has given us a meandering, often boring and only occasionally interesting account of some of the formative moments of his career. Two thirds of the book is taken up by the story of how he came to record "New Morning" and "Oh Mercy." Yowzah! He gives only glancing, arrogant mention to the days of his most prolific and brilliant songwriting--which is fine, it doesn't shatter my perception of Dylan to find him arrogant and evasive, but I do take umbrage with the boring minutia of the recording-studio process of two of his more mid-level works. The two sections that deal with him moving to Minneapolis and then New York are, for the most part, pretty good, and his takes on Robert Johnson, Joan Baez, and, of course, Woody Guthrie--among many others--does help create a somewhat captivating picture of a certain, crystallized moment in American history as through the eyes of one of its great observers. And if you're a Dylan fan, it might be worth checking out for those sections alone, as its a quick read, but don't expect anything earth-shattering.UPDATE: Re-read in September 2008 for a class. Much better the second time around, maybe I just expected too much the first time, or maybe I've just changed my mind as to what Dylan is as an artist. That "Oh Mercy" section is still unbearable, though: his "discovery of a new singing technique" is total bullshit.
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  • Julián
    January 1, 1970
    Dylan se ha pasado la vida jugando al despiste. Este libro es otro capítulo más en este sentido. Dedica los dos primeros capítulos a contar sus primeros pasos en Nueva York con veinte años, el capítulo sigue trata sobre su encuentro con el poeta norteamericano Archibald MacLeish y a la gestación de New Morning (un álbum menor donde los haya dentro de su discografía). El cuarto capítulo lo dedica a narrar con pelos y señales la gestación de Oh, Mercy a finales de los ochenta y termina volviendo a Dylan se ha pasado la vida jugando al despiste. Este libro es otro capítulo más en este sentido. Dedica los dos primeros capítulos a contar sus primeros pasos en Nueva York con veinte años, el capítulo sigue trata sobre su encuentro con el poeta norteamericano Archibald MacLeish y a la gestación de New Morning (un álbum menor donde los haya dentro de su discografía). El cuarto capítulo lo dedica a narrar con pelos y señales la gestación de Oh, Mercy a finales de los ochenta y termina volviendo a sus primeros años en Nueva York.En fin, cuenta lo que le apetece y como le apetece. Como dice Manrique, en unas páginas pasa de contar cómo duerme de prestado en los sofás de sus amigos a tener que adquirir un arma para defender a su familia del acoso de sus seguidores. Sin solución de continuidad.¿Qué hay en estas páginas? Multitud de nombres de músicos y de gente que conoce en el mundo del espectáculo. Sobre su vida personal, un par de detalles acerca de su familia y un poco sobre su relación con Suze, su novia neoyorquina. También sus influencias (da una matraca enorme con Woody Guthrie), músicos que le llegan, afirmaciones excesivas (“Los sonidos de la guitarra, cortantes como cuchillas, casi resquebrajaron los cristales.”, p. 289).Su personalidad esquizoide, su interés por despistar parece que se manifiesta desde su juventud, cuando miente incluso a desconocidos sobre su vida y hasta sobre su forma de llegar a Nueva York. Dedica unas páginas a hablar de la biblioteca de unos amigos y sus conocimientos literarios parece que dejan mucho que desear (“Balzac es hilarante...”, p. 54). La literatura según Bob Dylan se reduce a: “(Los cantantes folk) eran capaces de expresar en unos pocos versos lo mismo que un libro entero.” (p. 47)Tiene un estilo dejado, plagado de afirmaciones absurdas, rotundas, exageradas, excéntricas en ocasiones. “Sus palabras me parecieron misteriosas y desacertadas, pero si las dijo, las dijo y ya está.” (p. 81)A veces parece que nos está tomando el pelo, como cuando dedica unos párrafos a hablar del líder radical Joe Hill, a quien se dedicó un canción de la que él parece hacer mofa en otra suya (St. Agustin). Incluso insulta a su público (p. 162).Dedica un capítulo entero a lloriquear por el mal momento que atravesaba a finales de los ochenta. Lamentos de los que uno no acaba de entender cuál es la causa y da la sensación de ser un llorón quejica: sus conciertos no le dicen nada, los hace mecánicamente, no quiere ensayar ni tocar canciones antiguas y emblemáticas, busca un nuevo centro de realidad permanente. Para colmo de sus males, dice, “mi velero de 20 metros de eslora había encallado contra un arrecife en Panamá" (p. 170). Sí, ya lo sabemos, los ricos también lloran. Tampoco entiendo a qué viene dedicar cuatro páginas con las insustancialidades de un excéntrico llamado Sun Pie que regenta una tienda que Dylan visita en una ocasión. Simplemente creo que se está quedando con el lector.En fin, he de reconocer que mi admiración por este buen señor se limita a su música y su manera de cantar. Su penosa intervención en Live Aid, pidiendo que parte del dinero recaudado para luchar contra la hambruna en Etiopía se dedicara a ayudar los granjeros norteamericanos con dificultades le llenó de gloria.
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  • Tracy Reilly
    January 1, 1970
    When I was maybe six or seven, and already beginning my lifelong devotion to music, and rock in particular, I remember standing in the Record Department at Arlan's looking at the 45s, since my mother said I could get 5, if my brother and I could agree. We already knew some we liked: Herman's Hermits, the Monkees, The Dave Clark Five, Tommy James and the Shondells, Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs:"What about this one?" My brother said, pointing to a sleeve with a guy with crazy curly hair; "Bobby When I was maybe six or seven, and already beginning my lifelong devotion to music, and rock in particular, I remember standing in the Record Department at Arlan's looking at the 45s, since my mother said I could get 5, if my brother and I could agree. We already knew some we liked: Herman's Hermits, the Monkees, The Dave Clark Five, Tommy James and the Shondells, Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs:"What about this one?" My brother said, pointing to a sleeve with a guy with crazy curly hair; "Bobby Die-lon, I think that's the guy who sings 'Blue Velvet'; you like him." I rolled my eyes at the impossible retardedness of younger brothers who focused all their intellectual energy on baseball cards. " That's Bobby Darin..this is Bobby Die-lon--not the same guy!! Retard!!"Not the same guy, indeed, (actually, I was probably thinking of Dion), and we did not buy that 45 that day, nor was I to give Dylan my rapt attention until about ten years later. And then for the next 30 or so. I even went to see him during that Awful Gospel Period where he sped-played all his greatest hits. Would it be an exaggeration to say I became a poetry lover because of Bobby?This book sent me off to look at and listen to things I hadn't in the past. Now that I had the source's insight. It made me understand the spot he put himself in as The Protest King and why he traded it in to be King's Jester instead. You would have done it too, if you were him, with the same desire to make art, not war. Dylan, in unsurprising fashion, does not give away the great secrets people have been longing to hear, but he is more candid than one might expect. I'm not arguing that everything he says here is true, or how much is imagined just enough to keep his chameleon lights going. I was amused, for example, that the great minstrel was still a bit of a fanboy, tracking down the residences and places of significance for various rock legends he admired--I won't give away spoilers for this. No surprising, his narrative voice is penetrating and clear. He is as good at autobiography as he is a song writing. He is witty, pithy, cryptic, folksy, sage, romantic, and sarcastic. But not as frequently as you might think.He is also hilarious, which you probably did (think). And if you like his words, but not his voice so much, especially in these latter years, well, this is the place for you, my friend.Oh, yeah, and there were people who called him Bobby....
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  • David Hallman
    January 1, 1970
    Chronicles Vol. 1 has a few moments of insight concerning Dylan's musical influences and non-linear remembrances from his past, small vignettes that are often unrevealing in regards to the overall scope of the enigmatic artist's life. This is not an autobiography, and those wishing for a tell-all of the life of one of the most celebrated singer/songwriters in history won't find much to work with here.Dylan does ramble at length about the difficulties of fame, his stalkers, and his unwillingness Chronicles Vol. 1 has a few moments of insight concerning Dylan's musical influences and non-linear remembrances from his past, small vignettes that are often unrevealing in regards to the overall scope of the enigmatic artist's life. This is not an autobiography, and those wishing for a tell-all of the life of one of the most celebrated singer/songwriters in history won't find much to work with here.Dylan does ramble at length about the difficulties of fame, his stalkers, and his unwillingness to be a "spokesperson" for anything. That much feels very real and reveals a softer, family oriented Dylan we don't often see. There are other moments in his writing that fall apart quite spectacularly, especially as Dylan drones on endlessly about some new mathematical algorithm that freed him musically in the mid-80's, but which he mindlessly doesn't incorporate into his recollections of performances or in his recordings. He merely explains this new musical epiphany(rather abstractly and without clarity), stops himself short and then skips to some other unrelated period of his life. It's just one of many hiccups that occur throughout the text, revisiting why Dylan's previous works, Tarantula most notably, was critically denounced decades ago.Chronicles Vol. 1 is book-ended by recollections of his early days in New York and his start with Columbia Records. In between is a focus on New Morning (a relatively unessential album) and a painfully long exposition on the frustrating process of recording Oh Mercy. Both these sections show just how difficult it is to write at length about the vagaries of the creative process, something even Dylan can't do with any real clarity.Scattered throughout are some interesting moments from Dylan's past, advice given to him along the way, and friends who lent couches to crash on. It is these small fragments which are the most entertaining, but you have to sift through a lot of nonsense to get to it. Fortunately, the language is not overwhelming and true Dylan aficionados will blaze through the 300 odd pages rather quickly, despite its rather erratic assembly. If you are someone obsessed by Dylan, then surely have a look at Chronicles Vol. 1, otherwise steer yourself to some of the better "unauthorized" biographies out there.
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  • Igor Guzun
    January 1, 1970
    Dacă scriitorul japonez Haruki Murakami ar fi rămas, ca în tinereţe, proprietar al unui bar din Tokio în care se cânta jazz, ar fi avut mai multe şanse să câştige în acest an Premiul Nobel pentru Literatură.În 2016 Comitetul Nobel i-a atribuit Premiul Nobel pentru Literatură muzicianului Bob Dylan.Cărţile se citesc greu.Următorul laureat al Premiului Nobel pentru Literatură va fi Eminem. De ce? Pentru că este luceafărul poeziei americane.Atâtea poveşti se perindă în faţa ochilor noştri că nu ne Dacă scriitorul japonez Haruki Murakami ar fi rămas, ca în tinereţe, proprietar al unui bar din Tokio în care se cânta jazz, ar fi avut mai multe şanse să câştige în acest an Premiul Nobel pentru Literatură.În 2016 Comitetul Nobel i-a atribuit Premiul Nobel pentru Literatură muzicianului Bob Dylan.Cărţile se citesc greu.Următorul laureat al Premiului Nobel pentru Literatură va fi Eminem. De ce? Pentru că este luceafărul poeziei americane.Atâtea poveşti se perindă în faţa ochilor noştri că nu ne mai miră nimic şi nimic nu pricepem din ele!Din ziua anunţului despre acordarea premiului pentru Bob Dylan casele de pariuri au început să dea şanse poeţilor mei preferaţi din România: băieţilor din trupa „Paraziţii”. În special, pentru albumul „Tot ce e bun tre’ să dispară” şi refrenul „Tot ce e bun tre’ să dispară din această ţară. De unde numa’ proştii ca noi… nu se mai cară”. >> https://goo.gl/P6tlTkPentru ce să li se dea aceste premiu? aţi întrebat. Pentru „crearea unor noi modalităţi de exprimare poetică în cadrul marii tradiţii a cântecului”, aşa cum este motivaţia Comitetului Nobel pentru alegerea lui Bob Dylan.Bob Dylan este un super-poet.Comitetul Nobel este un elev care citeşte doar rezumatele de pe Internet…Comitetul Nobel nu este un cititor bun. Este în schimb un copil ascultător. Ascultător de muzică.Între timp, „un milion de poveşti tipice pentru New York se află în plină desfăşurare”,scrie Bob Dylan în cartea „Cronica vieţii mele”. „Toate se întâmplă mereu chiar în faţa ta, amestecate, şi trebuie să le distingi dacă vrei să pricepi ceva din ele”.Comitetul Nobel a distins povestea lui Bob Dylan.A distins-o cu Premiul Nobel pentru Literatură.Din această zi cărţile sunt mai aproape de toţi: copii, tineri, oameni. Prin muzică.O confirmă Carla’s Dreams în îndemnul său din „Scrisoare fratelui mai mic”: „Oricare om în esenţă este un meşter, / Vrei să afli meşteşugul tău? Citeşte!”Citiţi-ne cărţile! >> https://goo.gl/P6tlTk
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  • James
    January 1, 1970
    Wow! A dense, extraordinary approach to an auto-biography. Dylan was never going to write a conventional biography, and readers who want one should keep on walking. This isn't for them.Instead Dylan has constructed a mythology as autobiography. While I think it's fair to assume that everything in this book is true, I think we should probably accept that it's not necessarily literal. He's obviously missed large chunks out for a start - the book really only covers a couple of periods in his life. Wow! A dense, extraordinary approach to an auto-biography. Dylan was never going to write a conventional biography, and readers who want one should keep on walking. This isn't for them.Instead Dylan has constructed a mythology as autobiography. While I think it's fair to assume that everything in this book is true, I think we should probably accept that it's not necessarily literal. He's obviously missed large chunks out for a start - the book really only covers a couple of periods in his life. And a number of allegations of plagiarism that the internet has levelled at him suggest that this is a story of his life during those periods, rather than an exact word-for-word transcript of those events.Having accepted these criteria for the autobiography, it's a fascinating book, certainly providing an insight into how he sees his own life, and more interestingly, into his state of mind while making the key album Oh Mercy.
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  • Vladimir
    January 1, 1970
    Knjiga je dosta dosadna. Ima lepih i zanimljivih misli, ali previše je nabrajanja gomile imena i bazičnih karakteristika likova koji su nosili ta imena, a koji su imali makar i manji dodir sa momentima koje Dylan opisuje. I opisi emicija i traženja pravog puta i izraza za pesme u New Orleans-u dok snima album, su vrlo naporni. Kada se izdigne iz takvih pojedinosti, ima vrlo lepih misli. Struktura knjige je interesantna, opisuje nekoliko faza Dylan-ovog života koje ne idu istorijskim redosledom, Knjiga je dosta dosadna. Ima lepih i zanimljivih misli, ali previše je nabrajanja gomile imena i bazičnih karakteristika likova koji su nosili ta imena, a koji su imali makar i manji dodir sa momentima koje Dylan opisuje. I opisi emicija i traženja pravog puta i izraza za pesme u New Orleans-u dok snima album, su vrlo naporni. Kada se izdigne iz takvih pojedinosti, ima vrlo lepih misli. Struktura knjige je interesantna, opisuje nekoliko faza Dylan-ovog života koje ne idu istorijskim redosledom, ali struktura ne ometa čitanje. Ako se nekako prevaziđe gomila detalja, ova (auto)biografska hronika je u principu zanimljiva.
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  • M. Sarki
    January 1, 1970
    https://msarki.tumblr.com/post/151352...The year 1965 brought us to terms with Bob Dylan and his outrageous and defiantly autonomous behavior with the Columbia Records release of Highway 61 Revisited. Dylan was by this time extremely tired of the press, their questions, the long tours, and was hiding out in Woodstock, New York. Now everything was going to change even more. It wasn't enough to just have Johnny Cash. Bob Dylan's Chronicles Volume One, published in 2004, was ignored initially by me https://msarki.tumblr.com/post/151352...The year 1965 brought us to terms with Bob Dylan and his outrageous and defiantly autonomous behavior with the Columbia Records release of Highway 61 Revisited. Dylan was by this time extremely tired of the press, their questions, the long tours, and was hiding out in Woodstock, New York. Now everything was going to change even more. It wasn't enough to just have Johnny Cash. Bob Dylan's Chronicles Volume One, published in 2004, was ignored initially by me. I was fatigued as much as Dylan ever would be while listening for years to his mumbling and mingling of words that rarely made sense. I believed the pundits' claims that he lied, that he cheated and he stole, and that he seemed to use somebody every step of his creative way. Dylan was great, but he would be no friend of mine. But after reading Jonathan Lethem's book of essays, Ecstasy of Influence, I had a change of heart. Lethem persuaded me to read Dylan's book. He made it seem worthwhile. My first impression with Chronicles Volume One was a similarity felt several years ago when I read On The Road by Jack Kerouac. It was written in a rambling form, rarely staying on topic unless it was something Dylan actually wanted to teach us about, and then, if that was the case, he could go on for pages detailing the composition of each song on a particular album or his music theory regarding his formula using common math and geometry in order to possibly make something from nothing. A kind of magic he said he performed. Except this book that Dylan was writing, seemingly as I was reading it, and please, do we have to call it stream of consciousness? Do we? In fact, the book was more for my age and time than Kerouac's, and more about the things that interested me growing up. And knowing that Dylan has remained pretty much true to himself through all these years was a continuing comfort as I read this in comparison to On The Road as that book conjures up for me the misogynistic and sexually confused and drunken Kerouac of his later years. One thing Dylan did not talk about in Chronicles Volume One was his making in 1972 of the fine Sam Peckinpah film Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, providing songs and backing music for the movie, and playing the role of Alias, a member of Billy's gang. His acting was quite good and his music perfect for the film.It is also important to note for those of us depressed, frustrated, lost, or currently thinking about ending it all, Dylan's book is full of inspiration. This book is an artist's smorgasbord. You have to pay rapt attention though as it is hard to say where he is at any chronological time in his life, as he shuffles back and forth quite regularly. I think he does it on purpose just to mess us up. His prose is actually quite brilliant in places. He chooses his words as if they matter on the page. It certainly could be, and is unfortunately, a rational argument that Dylan is rewriting his own history. Much of what he says could well be lies, but his syntax seems and reads like the truth. Through all my years of half-wittingly following his personal life, I never knew about his wife and five kids living with him in Woodstock, New York. Of course I knew about his famous love, Sarah, but he resists using her name in the book. He speaks almost generically about his loves in a way that if the reader didn't know any better he would think Dylan is speaking always so lovingly about the very same person. All the man's significant lovers can get confusing except towards the end of the book when he focuses by name on his early relationship with Suze Rotolo and an admiring and respectful page or two about Joan Baez. He credits Rotolo with introducing him to many art forms that would have a lasting and instrumental effect on his work to come. Dylan tells about the folk song Pirate Jenny heard and studied religiously by him while living with Suze Rotolo. The song reminded him of the painting Guernica by Picasso which made me immediately think of the painter Red Grooms who Dylan was speaking about a few pages earlier in the book when he said, "...the way everything he did crushed itself into some fragile world, the rackety cluster of parts all packed together and then, standing back, you could see the complex whole of it all." Without Rotolo's influence Dylan thinks he may never have written the songs he did. He goes on quite a bit about why, and the text seems helpful to anyone wishing to spend this time with somebody trying to teach or show how he did what he did. I felt the section pretty remarkable even if it was completely full of shit. I am not saying that it was.There was a whole chapter devoted to the making of his album Oh Mercy! while hiding down in New Orleans in 1989. Dylan confesses to his song, Man in a Long Black Coat, as being his own I Walk the Line. One of his favorite lines from I Walk the Line by Johnny Cash was, "I keep a close watch on this heart of mine." And if you think about it, a pretty fine line you must admit.I found it interesting that Mr. Dylan enjoyed ravaging through his friends' libraries and learning all he could about almost every topic that interested him. I also found it endearing that Dylan coveted the honorary diploma he received, but not the discomfort of standing on the stage in cap and gown listening to people who did not know him define inaccurately who he was to the listening audience. I enjoyed Dylan describe in detail his crazy new mathematical music theory he discovered to revive his waning career. I like that David Crosby was his friend and Dylan said that the man never fitted in, especially while a member of an earlier version of one of my favorite incarnations of all-time, The Byrds of the seventies. But the story of how Bob Dylan got his name is a brilliant piece that hooked me into anything he might later go on to say. And so what if the book is all made-up and pieces of it lifted from other written records already made? Let's give the man a break. After composing thousands of songs it is amazing to me that he can remember much of anything, especially now at his age. I loved hearing about his father and his visits with his family. Born in Duluth and raised in Hibbing, Minnesota. The piece about visiting his grandmother who also lived in Duluth was great, his eventual move to the twin cities to make a song-and-dance-man of himself, his sleeping for a time in a cousin's fraternity house and having to move when the other boys returned from summer vacation was typical of Bob Dylan's humor and personality. Dylan admitted to copying Woody Guthrie in every way he could. It was hilarious to me, in a cleverly snide way, when Jon Pankake introduced Dylan to the music of Ramblin' Jack Elliott who, as Pankake eagerly seemed to demonstrate to Dylan, was already doing Guthrie better than Dylan ever could or would. So Bob Dylan did the sensible thing and decided to copy them both. Bob Dylan's Chronicles Volume One is the perfect read for the serious art student willing to go to any length to make a permanent mark on the stage.
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  • Dan
    January 1, 1970
    An explanation of two stars is required here. I found out from a goodreads friend that Dylan probably lifted a number of uncredited passages from other books and used them in Chronicles. The link below highlights some of examples but there are others.http://ralphriver.blogspot.com/2006/0...So to make a long story short I only made it 1/3 of the way through the book because I spent several sidetracked hours verifying the lifted passages myself. I think there are legitimate points that musicians l An explanation of two stars is required here. I found out from a goodreads friend that Dylan probably lifted a number of uncredited passages from other books and used them in Chronicles. The link below highlights some of examples but there are others.http://ralphriver.blogspot.com/2006/0...So to make a long story short I only made it 1/3 of the way through the book because I spent several sidetracked hours verifying the lifted passages myself. I think there are legitimate points that musicians lift passages all the time for song writing but when doing this while writing it doesn’t seem so cool. BTW I am not judging anyone who might give this book a good review. I don’t claim to have any moral high ground and I didn’t have a problem with the writing until I found about the allegations.
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  • Ben Winch
    January 1, 1970
    In some ways a beautiful book. Glowing, inspirational. Unique too, in that it makes us privy to the deep love of a legend for his influences. On the most glowing pages, we see Brecht, Robert Johnson, Mike Seeger, Woodie Guthrie (of course) through Dylan’s eyes, and it’s revelatory. Here he is on the eight extant seconds of Johnson on film:He’s playing with huge, spiderlike hands and they magically move over the strings of his guitar. There’s a harp rack with a harmonica around his neck. He looks In some ways a beautiful book. Glowing, inspirational. Unique too, in that it makes us privy to the deep love of a legend for his influences. On the most glowing pages, we see Brecht, Robert Johnson, Mike Seeger, Woodie Guthrie (of course) through Dylan’s eyes, and it’s revelatory. Here he is on the eight extant seconds of Johnson on film:He’s playing with huge, spiderlike hands and they magically move over the strings of his guitar. There’s a harp rack with a harmonica around his neck. He looks nothing like a man of stone, no high-strung temperament. He looks almost childlike, an angelic looking figure, innocent as can be... He looks nothing like a man with the hellhound on his trail. He looks immune to human dread and you stare at the image in disbelief.Maybe only such a universally-acclaimed artist could place himself so accurately in the line issuing from these great precursors. Yet, wonderfully, he’s humble throughout. No trace of the hophead smart aleck of Don’t Look Back. No false modesty. And no snobbishness: from purist folk to Judy Garland to Kurtis Blow, if he likes it he likes it. He’s Bob Dylan – why pretend? That said, at times it seemed there wasn’t much else but this string of homages, and of descriptions – of things outer: people, places, anything but him. The insights into his first family-man phase and retreat from the limelight, to me, were negligable, possibly spurious – or let’s say, much aided by retrospective justifications. On recording the maligned New Morning:Maybe there were good songs in the grooves and maybe there weren’t – who knows? But they weren’t the kind where you hear an awful roaring in your head. I knew what those kind of songs were like and these weren’t them. It’s not like I hadn’t any talent, I just wasn’t feeling the full force of the wind... Truth was the last thing on my mind, and even if there was such a thing, I didn’t want it in my house. Now maybe he did consciously think this at the time. Or maybe he was just lost. Or was it then that he consciously decided to be lost? Later, of the early eighties, he says: The mirror had swung around and I could see the future – an old actor fumbling in garbage cans outside the theatre of past triumphs.Well, Daniel Lanois (thanks to Bono) saves him, but these chapters (‘Lost’ and ‘Found’, let’s call them, though he calls them ‘New Morning’ and ‘Oh Mercy’) don’t amount to much, in light of the vivid burning of the others. In these chapters, Dylan is any rockstar telling his story. In the chapters on his rise to stardom, he’s the prematurely old man in Poe’s ‘A Descent into the Maelstrom’, telling of how he lashed himself to a barrel, threw himself in and survived. Now me, I could read about that maelstrom forever, whether it’s Dylan about to dive in in the sixties or Kurt Cobain in the nineties, and it’s rare to get it from the horse’s mouth. For that, this book is priceless. Well-written too. For the rest, it’s a testament to the price of survival.
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  • ATJG
    January 1, 1970
    I have to be careful with music. I'm vulnerable as a listener in a way that I'm not vulnerable to other kinds of art. Rousseau tells us that music is capable of communicating truth directly, or perhaps it would be better to put it that music permits one to experience truth itself. Words, he says, merely present one with the representation of phenomenal reality, the likeness of truth. I often think about this lesson when I've been incautious as a listener.My relationship with music is the exact o I have to be careful with music. I'm vulnerable as a listener in a way that I'm not vulnerable to other kinds of art. Rousseau tells us that music is capable of communicating truth directly, or perhaps it would be better to put it that music permits one to experience truth itself. Words, he says, merely present one with the representation of phenomenal reality, the likeness of truth. I often think about this lesson when I've been incautious as a listener.My relationship with music is the exact opposite of my relationship with people. Many of those who have become most important in my life I've disliked initially, sometimes even hated them. Conversely, I can't count the number of people I like immediately only to find in that original interaction some lie hiding, waiting to be unmasked. Music never lies. Either I connect with a piece of music instantly or I never will. It's spontaneous truth, love in real time.I wish I could remember first hearing Bob Dylan, but whenever that first chance meeting occurred, it is lost to me now. What I do recall is hiking through my hometown to deliver twenty scrimped and saved dollars to a guy from school who had agreed to illegally download Dylan's entire discography for me. He handed me a burned DVD containing dozens of albums. It was incredible. As fantastic and inspiring as it would have been to hear these albums when they were released--to wait for a record store to open some morning to be among the first to stride home with tunnel vision for the turntable on top of the bookshelf--hearing them together, all of them at once was a different kind of wonderful. Something in the music was right, for me, for that time in my life. The albums kept coming. When I went to college I got a job at the ill-fated Borders Books, Music & Cafe. I remember slitting open the box of Together through Life the Tuesday it was released. Listening to it on the overhead that day, the lyric about James Joyce sent me into ecstasies. Tempest was playing while I worked driving a forklift in the receiving bay of a hardware store. My wife and I listened to Fallen Angels while driving Highway 12 between Cuchara and La Veta. Bob Dylan is ingrained in my life in ways I don't yet understand, may never understand. Chronicles, Vol. 1 reveals a side of Dylan unavailable in his music. His prose is charmingly clunky, like a 20th Century Huck Finn. Metaphors clash and combine, and the energy in his voice is that of a much younger man. New Orleans is so vivid in his telling. Winter in New York and the bookshelves that awaited his arrival. A rusting Buick he plans to disassemble before the arc-welder. Chronicles, Vol. 1 works like music, even though it's words.Edit following the Nobel:I support the decision of the dynamite committee.
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  • Greg
    January 1, 1970
    This was a birthday present from my eldest son. I listened to Chronicles, Volume One, which is read by Sean Penn, who does a great job narrating. Such a class actor, he doesn't try to imitate Dylan's voice, but gets the vibe across of what Bob Dylan is, well, chronicling. Dylan, the old chameleon, doesn't give much away about himself, but all the same, being one of the greatest writers of the Twentieth Century, albeit a songwriter and poet, he describes the people and times of Greenwich Village. This was a birthday present from my eldest son. I listened to Chronicles, Volume One, which is read by Sean Penn, who does a great job narrating. Such a class actor, he doesn't try to imitate Dylan's voice, but gets the vibe across of what Bob Dylan is, well, chronicling. Dylan, the old chameleon, doesn't give much away about himself, but all the same, being one of the greatest writers of the Twentieth Century, albeit a songwriter and poet, he describes the people and times of Greenwich Village.I've always been in awe of Dylan's innate confidence in his ability, and intelligence in his early years of which his work is testament. When thinking of a gift for someone, something like this is always good value. The giftee will not only enjoy the gift again over the years but will remember who gave it to them.
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  • Iulian
    January 1, 1970
    Dylan writes as he sings: with honesty, passion and care for humanity. Misunderstood as an artist, labeled on countless ocassions as something he didn't recognize himself of being, you can think that people just don't get your message so maybe you're singing to the wrong crowd. I was very pleased to see that Bob is also a pretty curious and well read man, a guy who values integrity, the idea of being humble, down to earth. One of the best autobiography I've read, equally disturbing and heartbrea Dylan writes as he sings: with honesty, passion and care for humanity. Misunderstood as an artist, labeled on countless ocassions as something he didn't recognize himself of being, you can think that people just don't get your message so maybe you're singing to the wrong crowd. I was very pleased to see that Bob is also a pretty curious and well read man, a guy who values integrity, the idea of being humble, down to earth. One of the best autobiography I've read, equally disturbing and heartbreaking, but in Dylan's words you can see hope and ambition, like there's always a path that keeps you going, a dream waiting for your arrival.
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  • Evan
    January 1, 1970
    "There was a missing person inside of myself and I needed to find him."God, this is incredible. Completely wonderful. A fucking masterpiece autobiography. Wondrous observation. Surprising self effacement. The wisdom of years. A delicious and well-honed sense of irony. Every sentence a joy. More references in one graph than in whole books. A complete world brought to life. Ruminations and the joy of learning and discovery: Dylan's own and his conveyance of it to us. Dylan's highlights aren't the "There was a missing person inside of myself and I needed to find him."God, this is incredible. Completely wonderful. A fucking masterpiece autobiography. Wondrous observation. Surprising self effacement. The wisdom of years. A delicious and well-honed sense of irony. Every sentence a joy. More references in one graph than in whole books. A complete world brought to life. Ruminations and the joy of learning and discovery: Dylan's own and his conveyance of it to us. Dylan's highlights aren't the highlights of traditional biographers; they're his own and they make you understand his inner thought processes, his mind, his self better than a bland externalized treatment. Another thing that's great about this is how funny it is. Dylan has a wicked sense of humor.HALFWAY:A frequent thematic element of the book is Dylan's war with the media and his public image, his battle against the idea that he was/is "the voice of a generation." His evasiveness, elusiveness and parrying, he says, were intentional. The strategy seems to have worked, and yet the elusiveness seems only to have made him an even more mystical and mythical figure, opening him up to even more iconographic treatment by the media, the critics, the sycophants. I'm not sure Dylan fully realizes the backlash resulting from his attitude. It's a complex and uneasy dance, but it has worked for him nonetheless, for, despite charges of "selling out" by various sectors of his critical and fan base through the years, it's hard to imagine an artist who has managed a more solid balance, in general, of critical street cred and commercial success. In discussing his "middle period", which seems to have begun with "Nashville Skyline" (an album he talks about at length but never mentions by name; indeed, he rarely seems to mention any of his albums by name), he admits to his creative drought, self-doubt and failings.This is an observational autobiography; a ramble perhaps, but it hangs together due to Dylan's sweet turns of phrase and often profound musings, mostly flavored by an impish bemusement. Further in:Dylan ruminates on how he found a self charging General Electric portable radio in the sand on the beach -- built like a tank -- and yet it is broken; this leads to a lovely passage about how all things become broken. And it led to the writing of a song. This book is like that.FINAL:This is about what Dylan sees and thinks. And about people he's met and what they said. It's not chronological; it has its own internal logic, and it's an incredible book. Highest recommendation.
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