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Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades Revisited

af Clinton Heylin

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1732155,659 (3.87)1
An update of the author's first biography of Bob Dylan (Summit Books 1991) with lengthy coverage of the 1990s.
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If you're interested in Bob Dylan's music, the people who performed it alongside him, the songwriting process, etc., then you'll enjoy this book to some extent because Clinton Heylin is interested in those things, too, and writes about them at length. But enjoyment will soon give way to profound annoyance: I guarantee it. Heylin is a pompous ass, and if there's anything more irritating than his constantly proclaiming that Dylan was the Jesus of the twentieth century (and that every other folkie--up to and including Pete Seeger--became hopelessly passé when Dylan went electric at Newport in 1965), it's the fact that he goes on to second-guess every artistic decision made by Dylan during the '80s and '90s. Heylin considers himself nearly as important and clever as he believes Bob Dylan to have been, and doesn't try to conceal the pleasure he derives from sniffing his own farts. In other words, when Heylin says that traditional folk music disappeared down a "whirlpool of irrelevance" after Dylan's first electric performance, what he means is that he has no use for traditional folk music. That he can't or won't acknowledge the difference, and is intent on equating his opinion with objective fact, is the problem with this book. Who was he trying to impress? Bob Dylan himself? No, Dylan probably never bothered to read Behind the Shades. Bobby Neuwirth, maybe? That's a sad thought.

The author did his homework, and the goods are here...but when I said "profound annoyance," I wasn't exaggerating. You've been warned. ( )
  Jonathan_M | Mar 4, 2021 |
A reasonably good read although it became a bit formulaic through NET days in the 80s and 90s. I learnt a lot about Dylan even his early years that I found interesting. Heylin sets the wrong note at the start with an introduction which for the most part consists of a sneering dismissal of all preceding bios of the Bobster. Best to leave that to others to judge, in my view.

At several points he also left things dangling, eg at one point in 1968 he says Dylan had a third son but there is no record of such a son in the divorce prceedings nor is there any record of this son being bar mitzvahed. However, later on he refers to Dylan being photograghed at the son's bar mitzvah. Very sloppy stuff in some places.

Nonetheless, I still felt Heylin conveyed a well-rounded impression of Dylan, as song-writer, performer and private person. Overall, could have been better but still a good read. ( )
1 stem rdurie | Nov 30, 2011 |
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An update of the author's first biography of Bob Dylan (Summit Books 1991) with lengthy coverage of the 1990s.

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