Bob Dylan's Autobiography

Bob Dylan has written a memoir which was published in October of 2004. The title is Chronicles, Vol. 1.

His memoir isn’t your typical grade school autobiography starting with the date of his birth and plodding forward day by day and year by year. He moves backward and forward in time. He spends pages talking about people we’ve never heard of before and will never hear of again, yet skips completely past the famous names we associate with him. He speaks frequently of his wife and his strong attachment to her but never mentions her name. He talks about how he spent years trying to get out of the limelight, writing songs that he hoped would turn off his fans. Then he suddenly skips to his efforts to get back on top without explaining why he changed his mind.

His description of the studio recording of one of his albums opened a window into a whole world I was unaware of. I have to admit that when I thought of the recording of a music album, I envisioned two or three days to do the whole thing. Dylan describes a process that took months. And mind you, every musician involved was highly expert in his craft. It wasn’t because they didn’t know how to play the notes. The whole process sounded incredibly frustrating, grueling, maddening, and yet so much more creative than anything I had imagined before.

I am not a musician, so when he spoke about technical aspects of his work, it was sometimes beyond what I could comprehend, but he made it so fascinating that I wanted to comprehend it. If you are a musician yourself, I think there are parts of this book which you will find enlightening. If you are a Dylan fan, you shouldn’t skip this book.

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