- Bob Dylan: "At last I was here, in New York City... I was there to find singers, the ones I'd heard on record--Dave Van Ronk, Peggy Seeger, Ed McCurdy, Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry, Josh White, the New Lost City Ramblers, Reverend Gary Davis... most of all to find Woody Guthrie." Read more musical excerpts from Chronicles, Vol. 1 on our Music You Should Hear page.
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Chronicles Paperback – September 13, 2005
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Eschewing chronology and skipping over most of the "highlights" that his many biographers have assigned him, Dylan drifts and rambles through his tale, amplifying a series of major and minor epiphanies. If you're interested in a behind-the-scenes look at his encounters with the Beatles, look elsewhere. Dylan describes the sensation of hearing the group's "Do You Want to Know a Secret" on the radio, but devotes far more ink to a Louisiana shopkeeper named Sun Pie, who tells him, "I think all the good in the world might already been done" and sells him a World's Greatest Grandpa bumper sticker. Dylan certainly sticks to his own agenda--a newspaper article about journeymen heavyweights Jerry Quarry and Jimmy Ellis and soul singer Joe Tex's appearance on The Tonight Show inspire heartfelt musings, and yet the 1963 assassination of John Kennedy prompts nary a word from the era's greatest protest singer.
For all the small revelations (it turns out he's been a big fan of Barry Goldwater, Mickey Rourke, and Ice-T), there are eye-opening disclosures, including his confession that a large portion of his recorded output was designed to alienate his audience and free him from the burden of being a "the voice of a generation."
Off the beaten path as it is, Chronicles is nevertheless an astonishing achievement. As revelatory in its own way as Blonde on Blonde or Highway 61 Revisited, it provides ephemeral insights into the mind one of the most significant artistic voices of the 20th century while creating a completely new set of mysteries. --Steven Stolder --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
My dim recollection is that the sophomoric student article painted Dylan as an inscrutable eccentric trickster, deep yet elusive.
That's pretty much the general impression I've had of Dylan since I first heard him around 1964 or '65. And, of course, I thought of him as the conscience and voice of my generation.
Well, it turns out that he's neither, as least not in the way most of us thought.
Dylan, in his own words, comes across as a regular guy who just wanted to do his job and go home to his family without being hassled by every freak and geek who imagined him to be the new Messiah.
In a recent radio interview on NPR - the first he's given in my memory - he's asked if he ever thinks about walking away from music.
"Every day," is his comeback.
The book reveals a devoted family man who has spent much of his life plugging away at his craft and trying to shield himself and his loved ones from the glare of offstage attention.
The further I went in the book, the most shared impressions and cultural perceptions I discovered. I became a grandfather earlier this year and have been wrestling with the idea and its implications of advancing age and life changes. I feel a whole lot better about it now that I know Dylan owns a "World's Greatest Grandpa" bumper sticker.Read more ›
First, it's not an autobiography in the usual sense of the word. Sure, Bob is writing about himself and what he's done, but time flows freely forward and back and the subject changes (sometimes radically) every few paragraphs. He doesn't indulge in much self-justification, he doesn't try to chart a distinct arc of personal development, and it's not rare for him to start down a detour that screams for more exploration and then to turn the bus around. The comparison to X-Ray, the autobiography of Ray Davies of the Kinks, isn't entirely justified -- I don't think Dylan fictionalized much -- but Chronicles is closer in spirit to that than to more conventional rock autobiographies.
Second, Dylan lets you into his mind but he doesn't much open his heart. Suze Rotolo is the subject of some lyrical reminiscence, for instance, but their relationship is kept very abstract -- maybe he's protecting her privacy, I don't know. He talks about his love for his wife and kids at length in the "New Morning" chapter, but they never even show up as characters! His second (?) wife does show up in the "Oh Mercy" chapter, but she remains nameless and faceless. The only emotions Bob really describes are awe for his idols in his early days and frustration and loathing for himself in the "Oh Mercy" period.
Third, and finally, don't overestimate how much ground it covers.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If there was ever a doubt about the genius of Dylan this memoir puts any doubts to rest. First there is his catalog of recorded music. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Robert Berger
Dylan is of course a great songwriter,so it's no surprise that this is a book filled with descriptive and inspiring imagery. Read morePublished 1 month ago by David Wood
I loved Chronicles the first and second times through. Loved it for the plain, humorous writing and its sheer oddity. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Richard Genz
An amazing autobiography but I would expect nothing less from the bard. I especially like part IV, it's electrifying as Dylan describes the early days as he found his muses and... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Georgie Girl
Wow! Loved it....why did it take me so long to read it....Where is Vol. 2?....a must for any music or Dylan fan....He who is so good with words!Published 2 months ago by Richard D. Wuerth
Good stuff from Bob Dylan about his early career. Leaves you wanting more details and more about the ensuing years.....Published 2 months ago by Rusty
Amazing how much recollection Dylan has of tiny details.
(When I began my memoir, I realized,
"Oh, I have those recollections, too."
I loved this book. Man, Dylan can write!!! I enjoyed this as much as I did Just Kids. Dylan kind of bops around in his narrative, doesn't stick to a strict chronology, but it... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Francie Nolan