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PostPosted: Wed August 11th, 2010, 02:02 GMT 
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they love you like a brother"...

i am paraphrasing a Bob quote from the sleeve notes to Biograph...could anyone please give the full, correct quote? thanks very much


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PostPosted: Wed August 11th, 2010, 04:11 GMT 
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Location: in the land where dreams are made....
Are you sure that is where you read this?

I gave it a going over and am not finding it.... but I do have the CD and not the vinyl, but I would think that this booklet has the same stuff in it....

It doesn't sound familiar, but it could be there and I just missed it.... I will try it again...


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PostPosted: Wed August 11th, 2010, 05:08 GMT 

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I skimmed through my Biograph booklet and couldn't find it, but it does sound vaguely familiar to me. I want to say it could be from Chronicles, and it seems like maybe he says something about how if you reveal your dreams they're liable to be crushed or trampled on or something like that. I could be remembering wrong, though, and I don't really recall where in the book it might be.


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PostPosted: Wed August 11th, 2010, 08:20 GMT 

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Checked again and it's definitely not in the Biograph liner notes. However, a google search yielded this paper of ptervin's where the quote is given as follows:

"When you tell somebody your dreams and hopes you better make sure they love you like a brother or your dreams and hopes probably won't come true."

It's cited as coming from Chris Williams' Bob Dylan: In His Own Words, but the original source is not clarified.


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PostPosted: Wed August 11th, 2010, 13:18 GMT 
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Just shows how faulty memory can be - I thought this was from the Biograph notes too. I thought it was near the same part where he talks about "the air gets thin at the top" and "staying connected to who you were when people didn't mind stepping on you" (paraphrasing). Does anyone know if the Biograph notes are available online anywhere? I'm talking about the booklet article/interview, not the song notes that were on the record sleeves. I always liked that interview, but I lost the booklet sometime back.


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PostPosted: Wed August 11th, 2010, 13:42 GMT 

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Location: on the scene missing
Hang on - I'll just type the interview up for you ... may take some time


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PostPosted: Wed August 11th, 2010, 13:44 GMT 

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Location: on the scene missing
The first glimpses of Bob Dylan come from friends and classmates in his hometown of Hibbing,
Minnesota. Most of them had a frame of reference that didn’t stretch much farther than the
small, gray mid-western mining town where they lived. Young Dylan, born Robert Zimmerman
on May 24 , 1941 looked mighty different around Hibbing. The explosive film Blackboard
Jungle had touched his life and so had the late-night rhythm and blues stations from Chicago.
When most of the other kids in Hibbing were still riding bicycles, Dylan was thinking about
leather jackets and motorcycles. He hounded the local record store for the newest singles from
Hank Williams, Hank Snow, Jimmy Reed, Chuck Berry, Howlin’ Wolf. John Lee Hooker and
others. Soon Dylan had formed his own bands, The Golden Chords, The Shadow Blasters,
Elston Gunn & The Rock Boppers. When he took the stage for a high school talent show, fellow
students were shocked at the slight kid who opened his mouth and came out wailing with a
fully-realized Little Richard howl. He would not be long for Hibbing, Minnesota.

“My family settled in Hibbing I think in about ‘46 or ‘47. My father had polio when I was very
young. There was a big epidemic. He lost his job in Duluth and we moved to the Iron Range
and moved in with my grandmother Florence and my grandfather who was still alive at the
time. We slept in the living room of my grandma’s house for about a year or two, I slept on a
roll-a-way bed, that’s all I remember. Two of my uncles, my father’s brothers, had gone to
electrical school and by this time had gotten electrician licenses. They had moved from
Duluth to up here where they operated out of a store called Micka Electric, wiring homes and
things... my father never walked right again and suffered much pain his whole life. I never
understood this until much later but it must have been hard for him because before that he’d
been a very active and physical type guy. Anyway, the brothers took him in as a partner, my
uncle Paul and my uncle Maurice, and this is where he worked for the rest of his life. Later,
they bought the store and started selling lamps, clocks, radios anything electrical and then
much later TV’s and furniture. They still did wiring though and that was their main thing. I
worked on the truck sometimes but it was never meant for me. This was not a rich or poor
town, everybody had pretty much the same thing and the very wealthy people didn’t live
there, they were the ones that owned the mines and they lived thousands of miles away:”

“I always wanted to be a guitar player and a singer.” Bob Dylan said recently on a break from
sessions for a new album. “Since I was ten, eleven or twelve, it was all that interested me.
That was the only thing that I did that meant anything really. Henrietta was the first rock n’
roll record I heard. Before that I’d listen to Hank Williams a lot. Before that, Johnny Ray. He
was the first singer whose voice and style, I guess, I totally fell in love with. There was just
something about the way he sang When Your Sweetheart Sends A Letter... that just knocked
me out. I loved his style, wanted to dress like him too, that was real early though. I ran into



him in the elevator in Sydney, Australia late in ‘78 and told him how he impressed me so
when I was growing up... I still have a few of his records.”

After high school graduation in 1959, Dylan traveled first to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. He
enrolled in classes at the University of Minnesota but ended spending more time in the nearby
Bohemian district known as Dinkytown, where he played in a coffee house, The Ten O’Clock
Scholar. Dylan was taken in by the artistic community and it was there that he first became
acquainted in the rural folk-music of artists like Big Bill Broonzy, Leadbelly, Roscoe Holcomb,
and the great Woody Guthrie. “By that time, I was singing stuff like Ruby Lee by the Sunny
Mountain Boys, and Jack O’Diamonds by Odetta and somehow because of my earlier rock n’
roll background was unconsciously crossing the two styles. This made me different from your
regular folk singers, who were either folk song purists or concert-hall singers, who just
happened to be singing folk songs. I’d played by myself with just a guitar and harmonica or as
part of a duo with Spider John Koerner, who played mostly ballads and Josh White type blues.
He knew more songs than I did. Whoa Boys Can’t Ya Line ‘M, John Hardy, Golden Vanity, I
learned all those from him. We sounded great, not unlike the Delmore Brothers. I could
always hear my voice sounding better as a harmony singer. In New York, I worked off and on
with Mark Spoelstra and later with Jim Kweskin. Jim and I sounded pretty similar to Cisco and
Woody.”

“Minneapolis was the first big city I lived in if you want to call it that,” remembered Dylan. “I
came out of the wilderness and just naturally fell in with the beat scene, the Bohemian, BeBop
crowd, it was all pretty much connected... St. Louis, Kansas City, you usually went from town
to town and found the same setup in all these places, people comin’ and goin’, nobody with
any place special to live. You always ran into people you knew from the last place. I had
already decided that society, as it was, was pretty phony and I didn’t want to be part of that...
also, there was a lot of unrest in the country. You could feel it, a lot of frustration, sort of like
a calm before a hurricane, things were shaking up. Where I was at, people just passed
through, really, carrying horns, guitars, suitcases, whatever, just like the stories you hear, free
love, wine, poetry, nobody had any money anyway. There were a lot of poets and painters,
drifters, scholarly types, experts at one thing or another who had dropped out of the regular
nine-to-five life, there were a lot of house parties most of the time. They were usually in lofts
or warehouses or something or sometimes in the park, in the alley wherever there was space.
It was always crowded, no place to stand or breathe. There were always a lot of poems
recited – ‘Into the room people come and go talking of Michelangelo, measuring their lives in
coffee spoons’... ‘What I’d like to know is what do you think of your blue-eyed boy now, Mr.
Death. T.S. Eliot, e.e. cummings. It was sort of like that and it kind of woke me up... Suzie
Rotolo, a girlfriend of mine in New York, later turned me on to all the French poets but for
then it was Jack Kerouac, Ginsberg, Corso and Ferlinghetti – Gasoline, Coney Island of the
Mind... oh man, it was wild – I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness
that said more to me than any of the stuff I’d been raised on. On The Road, Dean Moriarty,
this made perfect sense to me... anyway the whole scene was an unforgettable one, guys and
girls some of whom reminded me of saints, some people had odd jobs – bus boy, bartender,
exterminator, stuff like that but I don’t think working was on most people’s minds – just to
make enough to eat, you know. Most of everybody, anyway, you had the feeling that they’d
just been kicked out of something. It was outside, there was no formula, never was ‘main
stream’ or ‘the thing to do’ in any sense. America was still very ‘straight’, ‘post-war’ and sort
of into a gray-flannel suit thing, McCarthy, commies, puritanical, very claustrophobic and
what ever was happening of any real value was happening away from that and sort of hidden
from view and it would be years before the media would be able to recognise it, and choke-
hold it and reduce it to silliness. Anyway, I got in at the tail-end of that and it was magic...
everyday was like Sunday, it’s like it was waiting for me, it had just as big an impact on me as
Elvis Presley, Pound, Camus, T. S. Eliot, e. e. cummings, mostly expatriate Americans who


were off in Paris and Tangiers. Burroughs, Nova Express, John Rechy, Gary Snyder,
Ferlinghetti, Pictures From The Gone World, the newer poets and folk music, jazz, Monk,
Coltrane, Sonny and Brownie, Big Bill Broonzy, Charlie Christian... it all left the rest of
everything in the dust... I there knew I had to get to New York though, I’d been dreaming
about that for a long time.”

Dylan mapped out his strategy. Then performing as a solo guitarist and singer, he was playing
at a St. Paul local coffee house and pizza parlor called The Purple Onion. The Purple Onion
was located next to the main highway heading out of town. It was owned by Bill Danialson,
who took a liking to Dylan and occasionally allowed him to sleep in the back room. It was a
particularly heavy winter in the Midwest and Dylan’s plan was to play at the club until the
snow subsided enough for him to hitch-hike East. It never happened.

Recalled Dylan, “I just got up one morning and left. I’d spent so much time thinking about it I
couldn’t think anymore. Snow or no snow, it was time for me to go. I made a lot of friends
and I guess some enemies too, but I had to overlook it all. I’d learned as much as I could and
used up all of my options. It all got real old real fast. When I arrived in Minneapolis it had
seemed like a big city or a big town. When I left it was like some rural outpost that you see
once from a passing train. I stood on the highway during a blizzard snowstorm believing in
the mercy of the world and headed East, didn’t have nothing but my guitar and suitcase. That
was my whole world. The first ride I got, you know, was from some old guy in a jalopy, sort of
a Bela Lugosi type, who carried me into Wisconsin. Of all the rides I’ve ever gotten it’s the
only one that stands out in my mind. People hitch-hiked a lot back then, they rode the bus or
they stuck out their thumb and hitchhiked. It was real natural. I wouldn’t do that today.
People aren’t as friendly and there’s too many drugs on the road.”

It would be several months before Dylan actually arrived in New York. He stopped first in
Madison, Wisconsin and fell in with the folk and blues community there. Then he moved on to
Chicago, where he had some phone numbers to try and ended up staying there for a couple of
months. Eventually Dylan got a ride to New York with a couple college kids. “They needed
two people to help drive to New York and that’s how I left. Me and a guy named Fred
Underhill went with them. Fred was from Williamstown or somewhere and he knew New
York.”

Dylan and Underhill were dropped off on the New York side of the George Washington Bridge
and immediately took a subway to Greenwich Village. It was the worst New York Winter in 60
years and the snow was knee-deep. “Where I came from there was always plenty of snow so I
was used to that,” said Dylan, “but going to New York was like going to the moon. You just
didn’t get on a plane and go there, you know. New York! Ed Sullivan, the New York Yankees,
Broadway, Harlem... you might as well have been talking about China. It was some place
which not too many people had ever gone, and anybody who did go never came back.”

The frail-looking Dylan was a voracious learner. Once in New York, he was at the center of all
the action. It was chance to actually see and sometimes meet the artists he’d come to admire,
including Woody Guthrie. Dylan listened to everybody and took it all in. “I was lucky to meet
Lonnie Johnson at the same club I was working and I must say he greatly influenced me. You
can hear it in that first record, I mean Corrina, Corrina... that’s pretty much Lonnie Johnson. I
used to watch him every chance I got and sometimes he’d let me play with him. I think he and
Tampa Red and of course Scrapper Blackwell, that’s my favorite style of guitar playing... the
harmonica part, well I’d always liked Wayne Raney and Jimmy Reed, Sonny Terry... ‘Lil Junior
Parker, ‘told you baby, bam bam bam bam, once upon a time, bam bam bam bam, if I’d be
yours, bam bam bam bam (foottap) li’l girl you’d be mine... but that’s all right... I know you
love some other man’... but I couldn’t get it in the rack like that or adjust the equipment to an





amplified slow pace so I took to blowing out... actually Woody had done it... I had to do it
that way to be heard on the street, you, now, above the noise... like an accordion... Victoria
Spivey, too, oh man, I loved her... I learned so much from her I could never put into words,”
Dylan soon developed a style that would synthesise many different folk influences. At the time
it was a bold move. Even the stodgiest standards sounded different Dylan’s way. Some purists
didn’t appreciate the irreverence. “I could sing How High The Moon or If I Gave My Heart To
You and it would come out like Mule-Skinner Blues.”

“There was just a clique, you know,” said Dylan, “Folk music was a strict and rigid
establishment. If you sang Southern Mountain Blues, you didn’t sing Southern Mountain
Ballads and you didn’t sing City Blues. If you sang Texas Cowboy songs, you didn’t play
English ballads. It was really pathetic. You just didn’t If you sang folk songs from the thirties,
you didn’t do bluegrass tunes or Appalachian Ballads. It was very strict. Everybody had their
particular thing that they did. I didn’t much ever pay attention to that. If I liked a song, I
would just learn it and sing it the only way I could play it. Part of it was a technical problem
which I never had the time nor the inclination for, if you want to call it a problem. But it
didn’t go down well with the tight-thinking people. You know, I’d hear things like ‘I was in
the Lincoln Brigade’ and ‘the kid is really bastardising up that song’. The other singers never
seemed to mind, although. In fact, quite a few of them began to copy my attitude in guitar
phrasing and such.”

Performing first at Village clubs like the Gas Light, The Commons, Café Rienzi and later Gerde’s
Folk City, Dylan had a quirky stage presence, equal parts humor and intensity. He also took
several jobs as a guitarist or harmonica player. One session was a record date with noted folk
artist Carolyn Hester. Rehearsing for the Hester session at the house of a friend, Dylan first met
the distinguished Columbia Records producer and talent-scout John Hammond (Aretha
Franklin, Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday and later Bruce Springsteen). Hammond kept young
Dylan in mind.

Dylan was soon to receive one of the most important reviews of his life, possibly the last one
that meant as much. Noted New York Times folk critic Robert Shelton had raved about Dylan’s
shows at Gerde’s Folk City, in an unprecedented review, for Dylan was merely the opening act
and not the main headliner (“... there is no doubt he is bursting at the seams with talent”)
Nineteen year old Dylan read and re-read the review, showing it to friends and re-reading it
again. By the next morning, Dylan was fresh and ready for his Hester session. The crinkled
review was still in his hand. It was only the second time he’s worked in a major studio, the first
being a short stint on harmonica for a Harry Belafonte record earlier that summer. Hammond
signed Dylan that afternoon.

“I couldn’t believe it”, said Dylan. “I left there and I remember walking out of the studio. I
was like on a cloud. It was up on 7th Avenue and when I left I was happening to be walking by
a record store. It was one of the most thrilling moments in my life. I couldn’t believe that I
was staring at all the records in the window, Frankie Lane, Frank Sinatra, Patty Page, Mitch
Miller, Tony Bennet and so on and so on. I, myself, would be among them in the window. I
guess I was pretty naive, you know. It was even before I made a record, just knowing that I
was going to make one and it was going to be in that window. I wanted to go in there dressed
in the rags like I was and tell the owner, ‘you don’t know me now, but you will’. It never
occurred to me that it could have been otherwise. I didn’t know that just because you make a
record it has to be displayed in a window next to Frank Sinatra, let alone they have to carry it
in the store. John Hammond recorded me soon after that.”

Dylan’s first album was recorded in a matter of hours. The session was over when they ran out
of tape and Hammond estimated the entire cost at $402. These were, indeed, the good old


days. All of the material was recorded and it’s important to note that Dylan would maintain that
spirit of studio spontaneity for the next twenty years. Most of the music included in this
collection was recorded in two or three takes.

“You didn’t get a lot of studio time then,” he said, “Six months to make a record... It wasn’t
even conceivable. My early records, all the way up to the late seventies, were done in periods
of hours. Days, maybe. Since the late sixties, maybe since Sgt Pepper on, everybody started to
spend more of their time in the studio, actually making songs up and building them in the
studio. I’ve done a little bit of that but I’d rather have some kind of song before I get there. It
just seems to work out better that way.”

Much was made in subsequent years of the fact that Dylan had only one of his compositions
(Song To Woody) on that album, “I just took in what I had,” he explained, “I tried a bunch of
stuff and John Hammond would say, ‘Well, let’s use this one’ and I’d sing that one and he’d
say. ‘Let’s use that one’. I must have played a whole lot of songs. He kept what he kept, you
know. He didn’t ask me what I wrote and what I didn’t write. I was only doing a few of my
own songs back then, anyway. You didn’t really do too many of your own songs back then.
And if you did... you’d just try to sneak them in. The first bunch of songs I wrote, I never
would say I wrote them. It was just something you didn’t do.”
st
The first album was released just before Dylan’s 21 birthday, and it sold an unremarkable
5,000 copies. While the executives fretted over whether their “rising young star” was still a
sound investment, Dylan was taking large steps in finding his songwriting voice. His live show
strengthened and deepened as he added more of his own material. He was able to take an
audience from laughter to thoughtful silence in a handful of sharply chosen words. Dylan’s
second album featured Dylan compositions and it was a success.

Along with the applause, remained the traditionalist doubters, as always. Blowin’ In The Wind,
first published in Broadside Magazine in 1962, did much to silence the opposition. It was an
indisputably strong song, simple and timeless from the first listening. It would become the
fastest selling single in Warner Brothers history in the hands of Peter, Paul and Mary, and the
first to bring a new social awareness to the pop charts. To this day it’s Dylan’s most covered
composition, from Bobby Darin’ to Marlene Dietrich. When folk music found it’s largest
audience it was because of this song.

The songs that followed during this period stung and inspired and often took their stories
directly from newspaper or word of mouth accounts. The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll was
the actual story of a Baltimore maid mistakenly murdered by a drunken socialite. The socialite
escaped with a six-month sentence. Dylan wrote of the brutal injustice with a masterful touch,
never did it approach the heavy-handed. It was exactly this delicate quality that made Dylan’s
social commentary so original and his imitators so obvious.

“When I started writing those kinds of songs, there wasn’t anybody doing things like that,”
said Dylan. “Woody Guthrie had done similar things but he hadn’t really done that type of
song. Besides, I had learned from Woody Guthrie and knew and could sing anything he had
done. But now the times had changed and things would be different. He contributed a lot to
my style lyrically and dynamically but my musical background had been different, with rock
n’ roll and rhythm and blues playing a big part earlier on. Actually attitude had more to do
with it than technical ability and that’s what the folk movement lacked. In other words, I
played all the folk songs with a rock ‘n’ roll attitude. This is what made me different and
allowed me to cut through all the mess and be heard. People with no definition of feeling and
that sort of thing, and there were too many of them... I remember when protest song writing
was big, Phil Ochs came to town, Tim Hardin was around, Patrick Sky, Buffy St. Marie, but



there never was any such thing. It was like the term ‘Beatnik’ or ‘Hippie’. These were terms
made up by magazine people who are invisible who like to put a label on something to
cheapen it. Then it can be controlled better by other people who are also invisible. Nobody
ever said, ‘Well, here’s another protest song I’m going to sing.’... Anyway, the guy who was
best at that was Peter LaFarge. He was a champion rodeo cowboy and some time back he’d
also been a boxer. He had a lot of his bones broken. I think he’d also been shot up in Korea.
Anyway, he wrote Ira Hayes, Iron Mountain, Johnny Half-Breed, White Girl and about a
hundred other things. There was one about Custer, ‘the general he don’t ride well anymore’.
We were pretty tight for a while. We had the same girlfriend. Actually, Peter is one of the
great unsung heros of the day. His style was just a little bit too erratic. But it wasn’t his fault,
he was always hurting and having to overcome it. Johnny Cash recorded a bunch of his songs.
When I think of a guitar poet or protest singer, I always think of Peter, but he was a love song
writer too.”

His work made a subtle, if pointed shift with Another Side of Bob Dylan. “Tom Wilson, the
producer, titled it that,” noted Dylan. “I begged and pleaded with him not to do it. You know,
I thought it was overstating the obvious. I knew I was going to have to take a lot of heat for a
title like that and it was my feeling that it wasn’t a good idea coming after The Times They Are
A- Changin’, it just wasn’t right. It seemed like a negation of the past which in no way was
true. I know that Tom didn’t mean it that way, but that’s what I figured that people would
take it to mean, but Tom meant well and he had control, so he had it his way. I guess in the
long run, he might have been right to do what he did. It doesn’t matter now.”

Wilson recalled at the time, “I didn’t even particularly like folk music. I’d been recording Sun
Ra and Coltrane and I thought folk music was for the dumb guys. This guy played like the
dumb guys but then these words came out. I was flabbergasted. I said to Albert Grossman, who
was there in the studio, I said, ‘if you put some background to this, you might have a white Ray
Charles with a message.’ But it wasn’t until a year later that everyone agreed that we should put
a band behind him. I had to find a band. But it was a very gradual process.” Wilson takes the
credit for Dylan going electric. “It came from me.”

The album, recorded in two nights, proved that Dylan was never simply a revolutionary or even
a political singer in the conventional sense. These were songs about the politics of love.
Throughout all the styles, periods and influences of his work, one of Dylan’s only constants has
been the love song. At composing them there are few as talented. He’s approached the subject
from all sides, from It Ain’t Me, Babe and To Ramona to Lay Lady Lay and Sweetheart Like You.

So strong was Dylan’s impact on the folk stages of America in the early sixties that when he
chose to move back to his original high school roots in rock and roll, even to dress differently,
there was an almost immediate uproar. For some time press conferences, articles and interviews
were filled with pointed questions like, “Does it take a lot of trouble to get your hair like that?”
“How do you feel about selling out?” and “How many folk singers are there now?” (Dylan’s
chain-smoking replies were, “No, you just have to sleep on it for about twenty years”, “I don’t
feel guilt”, and “136” respectively). Asked about his music, he said, “It’s mathematical... I use
words like most people use numbers. That’s about the best I can do.”

The songs were, as he once said, about objection, obsession or rejection. They had also begun
to cry out for instrumentation. While touring England, Dylan had met and heard the new wave
of English pop bands, from The Beatles to The Animals, The Pretty Things, Manfred Mann, The
Stones, The Who. By January, Dylan was recording his breakthrough Bringing It All Back Home
album. Half the album would feature a hard-edged rock and blues backing, the other half form-
bending solo acoustic music. The Byrds own electrified hit version of Mr. Tambourine Man,
taken from a Dylan demo tape, had become a single. Dylan was reaching a level of popularity

beyond even his own expectations. But there were still many folk purists in Dylan’s audience
and all signs were pointing to a showdown.

It would come in the Summer of 1965, at the Newport Folk Festival. Never one for
complacency, Dylan had shown up at the folk music capital of the world in a black leather
jacket, plugged in his Fender electric and began the prestigious Sunday night showcase
performance (the bill included Pete Seeger, and Peter, Paul and Mary) with an earsplitting
Maggie’s Farm. Dylan, fresh from having recorded Like A Rolling Stone, blasted through the set
with a vengeance. The reaction, by most accounts, was somewhat less than generous. The
purists booed.

“I didn’t really know what was going to happen,” Dylan shrugged at a San Francisco press
conference in December ‘65. “They certainly booed, I’ll tell you that. You could hear it all
over the place. I don’t know who they were... they’ve done it just about all over... I mean,
they must be pretty rich to go some place and boo. I mean, I couldn’t afford it if I was in their
shoes.”

Typically, the controversy fuelled one of Dylan’s most famous periods. At this point he was
writing whole batches of songs in long, all-night sessions – in coffee houses, homes of friends,
on napkins and tablecloths. Dylan was firing on all cylinders. The prolific artist was even
coming in with songs he’d written on the way to the studio. Within minutes they became
records with only one criteria – feel. A story from Al Kooper’s fine book Backstage Passes helps
recall the atmosphere. Then-guitarist Kooper, an early Dylan fan, had wandered into the empty
studio where a session was due to begin. He asked producer Tom Wilson for a spot in the band
and Wilson advised Kooper to be there, guitar in hand, when Dylan arrived. Dylan soon
appeared with guitarist Michael Bloomfield in tow and Kooper was casually switched to organ.
Kooper did not play organ, but the musician kept quiet and improvised when Dylan counted
off his newest song, Like A Rolling Stone. After the take, Wilson objected to the organ playing.
Dylan asked that it be turned up. The next take, released five days later, bumped off The
Beatles Help to become Dylan’s first number-one single. At almost six minutes, it was then the
longest hit in history.

Country artist Johnny Tillotson stopped Dylan in the street to tell him Like A Rolling Stone had
gone to number one. Dylan was amazed. It was less than five years from the day he’d stared in
the window of the record store on 7th Avenue and the weight of that fact didn’t escape him.

Perhaps only Elvis Presley before him had been able to stir up public emotions and at the same
time redefine popular music. Before Dylan, Chuck Berry had been one of the only popular
artists to sing his own songs. After Dylan, singer-songwriters were no longer akin to
ambidexterity – interesting, but not necessary. “I didn’t know it at the time but all the radio
songs were written in Tin-Pan-Alley, the Brill Building,” Dylan recalled. “They had stables of
songwriters up there that provided songs for artists. I heard of it but not paid much attention.
They were good song writers but the world they knew and the world I knew were totally
different. Most of all the songs, though, being recorded came from there, I guess because
most singers didn’t write there own. They didn’t even think about it Anyway, Tin-Pan-Alley is
gone. I put an end to it. People can record their own songs now. They’re almost expected to
do it. The funny thing about it though is that I didn’t start out as a songwriter, I just drifted
into it. Those other people had it down to a science.”

Dylan’s concerts in the mid sixties grew to be strange and mysterious affairs. With Mike
Bloomfield off touring as part of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. Dylan had settled on a new
band featuring drummer Levon Helm and a stunning new blues-and-rock guitarist, Jamie
(Robbie) Robertson. (Called Levon and The Hawks, the group would years later rename


themselves and go on to their own success as The Band). Dylan himself was exploring the
inner-limits of his songwriting ability and the outer limits of his stage presence. The result was
an amazing series of performances in 1965 and 1966.

Dylan onstage and the tumultuous ‘66 tour of the British Isles are well documented in this
collection. Following wrestlers and carnivals into halls where rock had never been before (or
since), every stop was another drama. Another show on the same tour was released in
underground circles as The Royal Albert Hall Concert and it’s still a cherished recording. The
show actually took place in Manchester but an amazing bit of audience-and-artist dialogue
(Audience member: “Judas!” Dylan: “I don’t believe you... you’re a liar.”) was taken from the
Albert Hall concert days later. These concerts with Bob Dylan and The Band are now thought
to be highlights in rock history but they booed at the time.

Remembers Robbie Robertson today, “That tour was a very strange process. You can hear the
violence, and the dynamics of the music. We’d go from town to town, from country to country
and it was like a job. We set up, we played, they booed and threw things at us. Then we went
to the next town, played, they booed, threw things, and we left again. I remember thinking,
‘This is a strange way to make a buck.’”

“I give tremendous credit to Bob in that everybody at the time said, ‘Get rid of these guys
they’re terrible’: They said it behind our backs, and they said it with the group standing right
there. Dylan never did anything about it. He never once came to me and said, ‘Robbie, this is
not working...’ The only reason tapes of those shows exist today is because we wanted to
know, ‘Are we crazy?’ We’d go back to the hotel room, listen to a tape of the show and think,
‘Shit. That’s not bad. Why is everybody so upset?’”

(It’s an interesting footnote to music history that along an early English tour, Dylan would visit
the home of John Lennon and the two would pen a song together. “I don’t remember what it
was, though,” said Dylan. “We played some stuff into a tape recorder but I don’t know what
happened to it. I can remember playing it and the recorder was on. I don’t remember
anything about the song.”)

Lennon would later comment on their relationship. “I’ve grown up enough to communicate
with him... Both of us were always uptight, you know, and of course I wouldn’t know whether
he was uptight because I was so uptight, and then when he wasn’t uptight, I was -all that bit.
But we just sat it out because we just liked being together.”

Back in the States, Dylan had reached household name status. Not only was he an unlikely hit-
singles artist, Bob Dylan was now a culture hero and a conversation piece. He was a genius.
He was a sellout. He was a poet, he wasn’t a poet. He was straight. He had to be on something.
It’s conceivable that the artist himself never scheduled a moment to reflect on all the
commotion. He continued writing and touring, even while recording Blonde on Blonde in
Nashville. It has remained as one of the most artful albums in modern music, and one that
came closest to Dylan’s truest musical intentions. He told Ron Rosenbaum in a ‘78 Playboy
interview, “It’s that thin, that wild mercury sound. It’s metallic and bright gold, with whatever
that conjures up. That’s my sound. I haven’t been able to succeed in getting it all the time.”

Those present for the Blonde on Blonde sessions remember it as an unlikely setting for
greatness. Compared to the circus-quality of the live shows, this was a twilight zone of
complacency. While struggling songwriter and then-janitor Kris Kristofferson cleaned the
ashtrays, Dylan recorded with a band that was made up of traditional Nashville studio
musicians and several New York favorites like Robertson and Kooper. “Blonde on Blonde was
very different from what we were doing out on the road,” said Robertson. “This was a very




controlled atmosphere. I remember the Nashville studio musicians playing a lot of card games.
Dylan would finish a song, we would cut the song and then they’d go back to cards. They
basically did their routine, and it sounded beautiful. Some songs pushed it somewhere else, like
Obviously Five Believers where we had four screaming guitar solos.”

“The sessions happened late at night,” recalled Kooper. “The afternoons were mostly for
songwriting.” Dylan sometimes worked on his hotel piano, other times at a studio typewriter.
Songs like Visions Of Johanna (original title: Seems Like A Freeze-Out) and Sad-Eyed Lady of the
Lowlands would make it to acetate stage and Dylan would often take the discs with him on the
road to play for others. “How does this sound to you?” he would ask. “Have you ever heard
anything like this before?” Usually they hadn’t.

Dylan’s singing – once the quality Woody Guthrie liked best about him – had also gotten more
expressive. Part rocker, part wounded romantic, part cynic and part believer, he had learned to
make records now, and the rush was felt on radios all over the world. Like A Rolling Stone,
th
Positively 4 Street and I Want You were classic singles as well as songs. John Lennon said in a
Rolling Stone interview in 1970, “You don’t have to hear what Bob Dylan’s saying, you just
have to hear the way he says it.”

More than a few artists, from Bruce Springsteen to David Bowie, have been saddled with the
phrase “the new Bob Dylan” at one time or another in their careers. But for Dylan himself,
there weren’t many examples to look at. As his momentum doubled and redoubled, the still
somewhat frail Dylan charged forward. He amped and pushed himself to the limits of personal
stamina. He worked constantly, rarely ate, rarely stopped. Like James Dean before him, Dylan
left behind a wake of peers who stood in awe of his talent and in fear for his safety and health.

Late in July of 1966, their worst fears nearly came true. While joyriding in Woodstock, the back
wheel locked on Dylans Triumph 500. He was thrown from the seat and drilled into the
pavement, suffering a concussion, a number of facial cuts and several broken vertebrae in his
neck. It could have been much worse. Amid macabre Deanish reports that he was either dead,
paralyzed, cryogenically frozen or retired, Dylan quietly recuperated for several months. It was
much-needed time to regroup but long after the wounds healed, he would still be working to
regain his personal equilibrium.

While Dylan laid low at his then-home in upstate New York, The Band was recording at the
nearby basement tape studio they had dubbed Big Pink. Dylan was writing a wide range of new
songs and the idea was to record them at a leisurely pace, possibly as demos for other artists.
The sessions stretched through several months of the down-time, and over the period Dylan
and The Band recorded a large group of songs that ran from the seminal I Shall Be Released to
the jaunty story-telling of Million Dollar Bash, to a number of songs too bawdy to even record.
There new characters, new rhythms... and when what Robertson called “a tape of a tape of a
tape of a dub of a tape” slipped out, the world soon had it’s first bootleg album. This, of course,
didn’t much please the victims of the theft. Even though the mood of The Basement Tapes, as
they were called, was forbidden and exciting, (Neil Young for years kept a mastertape copy and
played it during the breaks in his own sessions often) the songs stayed on the shelf until 1975.

“The bootleg records,” Dylan commented, “those are outrageous. I mean, they have stuff you
do in a phone booth. Like, nobody’s around. If you’re just sitting and strumming in a motel,
you don’t think anybody’s there, you know... it’s like the phone is tapped... and then it
appears on a bootleg record. With a cover that’s got a picture of you that was taken from
underneath your bed and it’s got a striptease type title and it cost $30. Amazing. Then you
wonder why most artists feel so paranoid.”




It would be a while before Dylan officially re-emerged on record with a quietly thoughtful
Nashville album called John Wesley Harding. In his recuperation period, he had watched his
own influence take rock in an explosive new direction. Rock was more topical and meaningful,
the form had been stretched and now studio techniques were changing too. The Beatles
released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Rolling Stones answered with Satanic
Majesties and now the pop world was waiting on Dylan. Dylan was waiting on Dylan, too. Did
he feel confident about meeting the challenge?

“Not really,” he smiled, “I didn’t know the studio like those guys did. They had obviously
spent a lot of hours in the studio figuring that stuff out and I hadn’t. And not only hadn’t I, but
I didn’t really care to and I’d lost my (studio) contacts at that point. I’d been out of
commission for a while. All I had were those songs that I’d just sort of scribbled down.”

“We recorded that album, and I didn’t know what to make of it. Lots of times people will get
excited and they say, ‘this is great, this is fantastic.’ But usually they’re full of shit. They’re just
trying to tell you something to make you feel good. People have a way of telling you what
they think you want to hear – anytime I don’t know something and I ask somebody, I usually
know less about it after I ask than before. You’ve got to know or you don’t know and I really
didn’t know about that album at all. So I figured the best thing to do would be to put it out as
quickly as possible, call it John Wesley Harding because that was one song that I had no idea
what it was about, why it was even on the album. I figured I’d call the album that, call
attention to it, make it something special... the spelling on that album, I just thought that was
the way he spelled his name. I asked Columbia to release it with no publicity and no hype
because this was the season of hype. And my feeling was that if they put it out with no hype,
there was enough interest in the album anyway, people would go out and get it. And if you
hyped it, there was always that possibility that it would piss people off. They didn’t spend any
money advertising the album and the album just really took off. People have made a lot out of
it, as if it was some sort of ink blot test or something. But it never was intended to be anything
else but just a bunch of songs, really, maybe it was better ‘n I thought.”

Nashville Skyline continued Dylan’s string of albums recorded at the CBS studio in the country
music capital of the world. His voice, sweetened by a brief break from cigarettes, Dylan
produced one of his biggest single hits in April of 1969. Written for the movie Midnight
Cowboy, Lay Lady Lay missed the deadline for inclusion on the soundtrack. The producers used
Fred Neil’s Everybody’s Talkin’ instead. Dylan released Lay Lady Lay himself and it is that love
song that became one of his longest lasting hits. “I don’t know what made me sound that way.
Today I don’t think I could sound that way if I wanted to. Clive Davis really wanted to release
that song as a single. Actually I was slightly embarrassed by it, wasn’t even sure I even liked
the song. He said it was a smash hit... I thought he was crazy. I was really astonished, you
know, when he turned out to be right.”

Dylan’s next release was 1970’s Self Portrait, a double album of standards and several live
tracks from his concert at the Isle of Wight. Criticized as trivial at the time, now revered by
critics looking for an argument, the album seemed to make a simple statement – he enjoyed
singing other people’s material – but it also further signaled that Bob Dylan had no
responsibility toward the vocal few who still demanded to know why he stopped writing
“protest songs.” One man, A. J. Weberman, had even become famous for going through
Dylan’s garbage for “clues”.

“Self Portrait,” Dylan explained recently, “was a bunch of tracks that we’d done all the time
I’d gone to Nashville. We did that stuff to get a (studio) sound. To open up we’d do two or
three songs, just to get things right and then we’d go on and do what we were going to do.
And then there was a lot of other stuff that was just on the shelf. But I was being bootlegged




at the time and a lot of stuff that was worse was appearing on bootleg records. So I just
figured I’d put all this stuff together and put it out, my own bootleg record, so to speak. You
know, if it actually had been a bootleg record, people probably would have sneaked around
to buy it and played it for each other secretly. Also I wasn’t going to be anybody’s puppet and
I figured this record would put an end to that... I was just so fed up with all that who people
thought I was nonsense.”

It would be his last work of the sixties, a decade that Dylan had largely spent in a spin-cycle of
touring and recording. He had become a part of everybody else’s sixties experience but did he
feel like he’d had one of his own?

“I never looked at it that way,” answered Dylan. “I didn’t even consider it being the sixties.
People who were in it, it never occurred to anybody that we were living in the sixties. It was
too much like a pressure cooker. There wasn’t any time to sit around and think about it. Not
like what we’re living now is the eighties where everybody says, ‘These are the eighties and
ain’t it great.’ In the sixties they didn’t say that. Nobody wanted to say that. There were a lot
of people who jumped on the bandwagon who didn’t know it existed before. As far as I know,
they’re the only ones who made a big deal about it. People like to think of themselves as being
important when they write about things that are important. But for people who were active, it
didn’t matter. It could have been the twenties. Nobody really figured it out until the late
sixties that something happened. I remember Joe Strummer said that when he first heard my
records, I’d already been there and gone. And in a way that’s kind of true. It was like a flying
saucer landed... that’s what the sixties were like. Everybody heard about it but only a few
really saw it.”

Dylan soon released New Morning, a confident album of originals. It was another critically
heralded return for a man who’d never really left. He’d simply learned to work at his own pace,
a pace that tended not to interfere with the raising of his family.

Dylan spent the next few years in New York, popping up only occasionally with performances
like Concert for Bangladesh or a single like Watching The River Flow or George Jackson. In
1973, Kris Kristofferson talked Dylan into joining him on the Durango, Mexico set of the late
Sam Peckinpah’s Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid. Dylan ended up not only scoring the movie,
but turning in a clever performance as Alias, sidekick to Billy the Kid. Knockin’ On Heaven’s
Door, one of Dylan’s most successful singles was released from the soundtrack album. The film
featured Peckinpah’s trademark violent and unpolished beauty, and the music fit it perfectly.
The project seemed to signal a new period of activity. “I think he’s getting ready for
something,” said co-star Kris Kristofferson at the time. “He sat down at the piano the other
night. He had that look in his eyes...”. Said Dylan, “actually, I was just one of Peckinpah’s
pawns. There wasn’t a part for me and Sam just liked me around. I moved with my family to
Durango for about three months. Rudy Wurlitzer, who was writing this thing, invented a part
for me but there wasn’t any dimension to it and I was very uncomfortable in this non-role.
But then time started to slip away and there I was trapped deep in the heart of Mexico with
some madman, ordering people around like a little king. You had to play the dummy all day. I
used to think to myself, ‘Well now, how would Dustin Hoffman play this?’ That’s why I wore
glasses in that reading part. I saw him do it in Papillon. It was crazy, all these generals making
you jump into hot ants, setting up turkey shoots and whatever, and drinking tequila ‘til they
passed out. Sam was a wonderful guy though. He was an outlaw. A real hombre. Somebody
from the old school. Men like they don’t make anymore. I could see why actors would do
anything for him. At night when it was quiet, I would listen to the bells. It was a strange
feeling, watching how this movie was made and I know it was wide and big and breathless, at
least what was in Sam’s mind, but it didn’t come out that way. Sam himself just didn’t have
final control and that was the problem. I saw it in a movie house one cut away from his and I



could tell that it had been chopped to pieces. Someone other than Sam had taken a knife to
some valuable scenes that were in it. The music seemed to be scattered and used in every
other place but the scenes in which we did it for. Except for Heaven’s Door, I can’t say as
though I recognized anything I’d done for being in the place that I’d done it for. Why did I do
it, I guess I had a fondness for Billy the Kid. In no way can I say I did it for the money.
Anyway, I was too beat to take it personal. I mean, it didn’t hurt but I was sleep walking most
of the time and had no real reason to be there. I’d gotten my family out of New York, that was
the important thing, there was a lot of pressure back there. But even so my wife got fed up
almost immediately. She’d say to me, ‘What the hell are we doing here?’ It was not an easy
question to answer.”

Much in music had changed over the previous few years. Bob Dylan could now look around to
see a world of rock megatours, chartered 747’s, mega-platinum artists, rockers on the cover of
world news magazines and more. Dylan, who first left Minnesota at a time when rock and roll
was still a forbidden entity, was about to venture back at a time when it had become the
biggest business.

In 1974 he reunited with The Band and began recording a batch of new songs in Los Angeles.
First titled Ceremonies of the Horseman and later re-titled Planet Waves, the album (and the
first single, On A Night Like This) set the tone for a high-spirited return. Dylan’s first coast-to-
coast US tour was announced. The seats sold out in hours but the event brought on board a
number of new questions. What would Dylan be like? Could he match the intensity of his early
days in huge arenas? Would he mean as much?

The questions were dispensed with in short order. Dylan appeared at full strength, with an
adrenalin charged voice and powerful backing from The Band. The concerts were cheered like
victory parties. Remembers Robbie Robertson, “We were hoping to do an extremely different
kind of show. But we rehearsed and eventually settled on a show that wasn’t dissimilar from
our last tours (in ‘65-’66). But this time when we played, everybody loved us. I don’t know if
we needed it but it was a kind of a relief.”

All the while, Dylan had some problems with myth-making proportions of the tour. “I think I
was just playing a role on that tour,” he said. “I was playing Bob Dylan and the Band was
playing The Band. It was all sort of mindless. The people that came out to see us came mostly
to see what they missed the first time around. It was just more of a ‘legendary’ kind of thing.
They’ve heard about it, they’d bought the records, whatever, but what they saw didn’t give
any clue to what was. What got it to that level wasn’t what they saw. What they saw you
could compare to early Elvis and later Elvis, really. Because it wasn’t quite the same, when we
needed that acceptance it wasn’t there. By this time it didn’t matter. Time had proven them
all wrong. We were cleaning up but it was an emotionless trip.”

“Rock-and-roll had become a highly extravagant enterprise. T-shirts, concert booklets,
lighting shows, costume changes, glitter and glamour... it was just a big show, a big circus
except there weren’t any elephants, nothing really exceptional just Sound and Lights, Sound
and Lights, and more Sound and Lights. That’s what it had become and that’s what it still is. It
is like those guys who watched the H bomb explode on Bikini Island and then turn to each
other and say, ‘Beautiful, man, just incredibly beautiful.’ That’s what this whole scene had
become. The only thing people talked about was energy this, energy that. The highest
compliments were things like, ‘Wow, lotta energy, man.’ It had become absurd. The bigger
and louder something was, the more energy it was supposed to have. You know, like knock
me out, drive me to the wall, kick my brains in, blow me up, whip me ‘til it hurts, that’s what
people were accepting as heavy energy. Actually it was just big industry moving in on the
music. Like the armaments manufacturers selling weapons to both sides in a war, inventing

bigger and better things to take your head off while behind your back, there’s a few people
laughing and getting rich off your vanity. Have you ever seen a slaughter-house where they
bring in a herd of cattle? They round them all up, put them all in one area, pacify ‘m and
slaughter them... big business, brings in lots of bucks, heavy energy. It always reminds me of
that. The greatest praise we got on that tour was ‘incredible energy, man’, it would make me
want to puke. The scene had changed somewhat when we stepped into that picture. We were
expected to produce a show that lived up to everybody’s expectations. And we did it. It was
utterly profound.”

“What they saw wasn’t really what they would have seen in ‘66 or ‘65. If they had seen that,
that was much more demanding. That was a much more demanding show. People didn’t know
what it was at that point. When people don’t know what something is, they don’t understand
it and they start to get, you know, weird and defensive. Nothing is predictable and you’re
always out on the edge. Anything can happen. I always had those songs though and so I
always figured everything was alright.”

When the tour was over-commemorated by a cover in Newsweek, the same magazine that
once questioned his authorship of Blowin’ In The Wind, Dylan responded in surprising style.
Just as he had cultivated his most public performing style yet, he reversed himself, contacted
several acoustic musicians and told his label he was going to record some “private songs.” He
wanted to do them quickly, in a small way.

He began recording what is often recognised as his finest album of the seventies, Blood On The
Tracks. Reportedly inspired by the breakup of his marriage, the album derived more of it’s style
from Dylan’s renewed interest in painting. The songs cut deep and their sense of perspective
and reality was always changing. This was acoustic soul music and clearly not the work of an
artist intent on staying in arenas touring on the strength of his own myth.

“I’m not concerned with the myth,” Dylan said in a 1977 interview, “because I can’t work
under the myth. The myth can’t write the songs. It’s the blood behind the myth that creates
the art. The myth doesn’t exist for me like it may for other people. I’d rather go on, above the
myth.”

After Blood On The Tracks, Dylan stayed in New York. He recorded one of his most successful
albums, Desire, with a new group of musicians led by Scarlet Rivera. Dylan had seen her
playing on a street comer and invited her to join the band. Her violin helped characterize
Hurricane, the unreleased Abandoned Love and many other songs from this period.

Dylan also began popping up, in clubs around Greenwich Village, on some of the same stages
where he started out. More than a few visitors in the Village, accustomed to seeing the early
photos of a long-gone Dylan still pasted in the windows, did a triple take when they actually
saw Dylan back again on stage. Slowly, those club performances grew to include others like
Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Joan Baez, T-Bone Burnett, Roger McGuinn, Mick Ronson and others.
Those shows built into the Rolling Thunder Revue, a bicentennial tour of small to mid-size halls
that was documented in a TV special, a number of books and later in Dylan’s own film Renaldo
and Clara. In what was now Dylan’s third or fourth wave of popularity, even candidate Jimmy
Carter was campaigning for president with a speech that quoted Bob Dylan.

By the time of Renaldo and Clara’s release, Dylan was already past it. He had relocated to a
converted rehearsal hall in Santa Monica, California and was rehearsing musicians for a band
he could both tour and record with. The resulting eleven piece group was one of his biggest
and most precise. They toured the world in 1978 and also recorded the underrated Street Legal
album. The sound of this period was something close to the dense precision of Blonde on

Blonde, with a measure of gospel-blues added. Street Legal defined Dylan’s work for the next
several years. Said Dylan, “The critics treated this record spitefully... I saw one review that
accused me of going ‘Vegas’ and copying Bruce Springsteen because I was using Steve
Douglas, a saxophone player... the Vegas comparison was, well you know, I don’t think the
guy had ever been to Vegas and the saxophone thing was almost slanderous... I mean I don’t
copy guys that are under fifty years old and though I wasn’t that familiar with Bruce’s work,
his saxophone player couldn’t be spoken of in the same breath as Steve Douglas who’d played
with Duane Eddy and on literally all of Phil Spector’s records... I mean no offense to Clarence
or anything but he’s not in the same category and the guy who reviewed my stuff should have
known it... anyway people need to be encouraged, not stepped on and put in a straight
jacket.”

After his world tour, reports would soon circulate that Dylan had become a born-again
Christian. The next album told the bigger story. Dylan was inspired with religious thought but
he’d also struck a smoldering studio groove with celebrated rhythm and blues producers Jerry
Wexler and Barry Beckett. This partnership produced one of the most finely recorded albums of
Dylan’s recording career. Slow Train Coming was both a critically praised and successful work.
Dylan received his first Grammy and the album went platinum. It also won the Dove Award for
Inspirational Album of 1979. The follow-up album Saved, with it’s Biblical inscription on the
outer sleeve, fared less well. Religious themes have had a place in his music from the
beginning, but for a time the media searched these songs for clues to his commitment.
Although the messages might have been too much for pop music mentality, the meaning
behind the songs did not fall entirely upon all deaf ears. “Yes mon,” said Bob Marley,... “that is
a good verse too, a revelation, a link-up with a Rasta, as Haile Selassie is the Conquering Lion
of the house of Judah. And me like his song Serve Somebody quite a bit as well... I glad him do
it, too, y’know, because there comes a time when an artist just cannot follow the crowd. If you
are an artist like Bob Dylan, you got to make the crowd follow you. I can tell you that it doesn’t
mean anything to him that people might not like what he is doing. Him still do it. And that is
the most important thing. Him still do it.”

Shot of Love, a somewhat more secular LP recorded in Los Angeles, was produced by Dylan
and Chuck Plotkin (with the help of Bumps Blackwell on Shot of Love).

The range of influence was wider, the music was technically improved from earlier days but the
feel could have been 1966. This was raw Dylan, live in the studio, scrambling to get to the
heart of his new songs. “People didn’t listen to that album in a realistic way. First of all, Shot
of Love was one of the last songs Bumps Blackwell produced and even though he only
produced one song I gotta say that of all the producers I ever used, he was the best, the most
knowledgeable and he had the best instincts... I would have liked him to do the whole thing
but things got screwed up and he wasn’t so called ‘contemporary’... what came out was
something close to what would have come out if he was really there... also Clydie King and I
sound pretty close to what’s all the best of every traditional style so how could anybody
complain about that... and the record had something that, I don’t know, could have been
made in the ‘40’s or maybe the ‘50’s... there was a cross element of songs on it... the critics, I
hate to keep talking about them, wouldn’t allow the people to make up their own minds... all
they talked about was Jesus this and Jesus that, like it was some kind of Methodist record. I
don’t know what was happening, maybe Boy George or something but Shot of Love didn’t fit
into the current formula. It probably never will. Anyway people were always looking for some
excuse to write me off and this was as good as any... I can’t say if being ‘non commercial’ is a
put down or a compliment.” The next album, Infidels, was a critical and artistic success that
also ushered Dylan into the video age with Sweetheart Like You and Jokerman.


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PostPosted: Wed August 11th, 2010, 13:46 GMT 

Joined: Wed July 30th, 2008, 01:43 GMT
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Location: on the scene missing
“I don’t feel like I know what I’m going to do even next week, or not do.” Dylan said of the
future. “Mostly I just write songs, make records, and do tours, that takes up most of my time,
so I just expect it to go on that way. I started a book awhile back called Ho Chi Minh in
Harlem. I’d probably like to finish that. Maybe write some stories the way Kerouac did, about
some of the people I know and knew, change the names – New developments, new ideas? I
guess I’d like to do a concept album like, you know, Red Headed Stranger or something,
maybe a children’s album, or an album of cover songs but I don’t know if the people would
let me get away with that ... A Million Miles From Nowhere, I Who Have Nothing, All My
Tomorrows, I’m In The Mood For Love, More Than You Know, It’s A Sin To Tell A Lie... I
guess someday I’d like to do an album of standards, also, maybe instrumentals, guitar
melodies with percussion, people don’t know I can do that sort of thing. I can get away with a
lot more in a show than I can on record... I mean I’m aware of sythesisers and drum machines
but they don’t affect my stuff to any great degree. There’s a great temptation to see how false
you can be. I can see where pretty soon the human voice will be synthesised, become totally
unreal. You know, like put in Paul Anka and get him sounding like Howlin’ Wolf or vice versa.
I guess it don’t matter but it’s irritating, it’s a cheap substitution for reality, stimulating little
boys and little girls with sex in a bottle, it’s all got the soul of a robot, your mind thinks its
true but your heart knows it’s wrong. Too much chaos on the airways for the senses to take,
assault on the all too fragile imagination as it is... fill up everything, put in every color, clog it
all up... if you wanna make things clear, you’ve got to leave other things out... like that’s why
the old black and white movies look better than color movies, they give your eye and your
imagination something to do, well, that’s one of the reasons, same thing with the old music
and the new music... probably too much progress or something, I don’t know.”

While Dylan had often deflected artistic inquiries in the past, on this day he was almost earnest
in his observations. Bob Dylan’s perspective in the mid eighties is a valuable one, one he
seemed inspired to have gained.

“No, I really don’t have a plan. You know what I mean, if you’ve heard my records and know
what was going on at the time I turned them out. A lot of the styles and lyrical dynamics that I
use I feel I have invented myself or stumbled into accidentally. Either back in the sixties or
even in the late seventies or eighties using certain combinations that have never come up
before, so I work mostly in that area. I can’t stop doing it just because a whole lot of other
people have taken certain elements of it and used it for their own thing. I mean Muddy
Waters didn’t stop playing just because the J. Geils Band started making records. I noticed
that George Jones didn’t roll over just because Merle Haggard appeared. It’s actually quite
complimentary to witness your own influence in someone else’s success. But I don’t know, I
guess it can be taken the other way too... look at what happened to Lefty Frizzell. Link Wray
invented heavy metal music but who knows it? T-Bone Walker is really the essence of city
blues, can wipe B. B. Jones off the map but who can tell you that? Isn’t Bessie Smith rock n’
roll? People forget. You have to know there’s always someone else that’s gonna come along
after you. There’s always going to be a faster, bigger and younger gun, right? Pop music on
the radio? I don’t know. I listen mostly to Preacher stations and the country music stations
and maybe the oldies stations... that’s about it. At the moment I like Judy Rodman, I’ve Been
Had By Love Before, more than anything happening on the pop stations. I don’t think of
myself really as a pop singer anyway, so what do I know.”

For a man often credited with helping to define rock, Dylan was careful to point out that he
was never owned by it.

“The thing about rock n’ roll is that for me anyway it wasn’t enough, Tutti Frutti and Blue
Suede Shoes were great catch phrases and driving pulse rhythms and you could get high on
the energy but they weren’t serious or didn’t reflect life in a realistic way. I knew that when I



got into folk music, it was more of a serious type of thing. The songs are filled with more
despair, more sadness, more triumph, more faith in the supernatural, much deeper feelings...
My Bonnie Love Is Lang A Growing, Go Down Ye Bloody Red Roses even Jesse James or
Down By The Willow Garden, definitely not x stuff. There is more real life in one line
than there was in all the rock n’ roll themes. I needed that. Life is full of complexities and rock
n’ roll didn’t reflect that. It was just put on a happy face and ride sally ride, there was nothing
even resembling Sixteen Snow White Horses or See That My Grave Is Kept Clean in even the
vaguest way. If I did anything, I brought one to the other. There was nothing serious
happening in music when I started, not even the Beatles. They were singing Love Me Do and
Marvin Gaye... he didn’t do What’s Going On until the ‘70s.”

What did he think of the new music?

“Nothing is new. Everybody just gets their chance – most of it just sounds recycled and
shuffled around, watered down. Even rap records. I love that stuff but it’s not new, you used
to hear that stuff all the time... there was this one guy, Big Brown, he wore a jail blanket,
that’s all he ever used to wear, summer and winter. John Hammond would remember him too
– he was like Othello, he’d recite epics like some grand Roman orator, really backwater stuff
though, Stagger Lee, Cocaine Smitty, Hattiesburg Hattie. Where were the record companies
when he was around? Even him though, it’s like it was done 30 years before that... and God
knows when else. I think of Luke the Drifter as rap records and as far as concept and
intelligence and warring with words, Mighty Sparrow was and probably still is king. You go
see him and in the audience there’s people just standing up and arguing away with him about
every kind of thing... politics, sex, outer space, whatever, he answers ‘m all back, never breaks
stride, all in his poetry, his shows are like prize fights and he always come out on top, all this
and a fifteen or twenty piece band just blasting away ... Calypso King... Mighty Sparrow... he’s
fantastic. Rock n’ roll, I don’t know, rhythm and blues or whatever, I think it’s gone. In its
pure form. There are some guys true to it but it’s so hard. You have to be so dedicated and
committed and everything is against it. I’d like to see Charlie Sexton become a big star, but
the whole machine would have to break down right now before that would happen. It was
easier before. Now it’s just rock, capital R, no roll, the roll’s gone, homosexual rock, working
man’s rock, stock-broker rock, it’s now a highly visible enterprise, big establishment thing.
You know thing’s go better with Coke because Aretha Franklin told you so and Maxwell
House coffee must be OK because Ray Charles is singing about it. Everybody’s singing about
ketchup or headache medicine or something. In the beginning it wasn’t anything like that, had
nothing to do with pantyhose and perfume and barbecue sauce... you were eligible to get
busted for playing it. It’s like Lyndon Johnson saying ‘We shall overcome’ to a nation-wide
audience, ridiculous... there’s an old saying, ‘If you want to defeat your enemy, sing his song’
and that’s pretty much still true. I think it’s happened and nobody knows the difference. In
the old days, there’s that phrase again, you paid the price to play. You could get run out of
town or pushed over a cliff. Of course there was always someone there with a net. I’m not
trying to paint just one side of a picture. But, you know, it was tough getting heard, it was
radical. You felt like you were part of some circus side-show. Now it’s the main event. You
can even go to college and study rock and roll, they turn out professors who grade your
records. There’s enough dribble, magazine articles, proclamations, declarations, whatever,
written about it to keep you guessing for a lifetime but it’s not in reading and writing about it,
it’s in doing it... the best stuff was done without the spotlight before the commentaries and
what not... when they came to define it I think they killed something very important about it.
The corporate world, when they figured out what it was and how to use it they snuffed the
breath out of it and killed it. What do they care? Anything that’s in the way, they run over like
a bulldozer, once they understood it they killed it and made it a thing of the past, put up a
monument to it and now that’s what you’re hearing, the headstone, it’s a billion dollar
business. I don’t know, I guess it’s hard to find flaws with this. Used to be they were very





much afraid, you know, like hide your daughters, that sort of thing... Elvis, Little Richard,
Chuck Berry... they all struck fear into the heart. Now they got a purpose sort of... to sell
soap, blue jeans, anything, it’s become country club music... White House... Kentucky Fried
Chicken... it’s all been neutralised... nothing threatening, nothing magical... nothing
challenging. For me I hate to see it because it set me free, set the whole world on fire, there’s
a lot of us who still can remember, who’ve been there. What I’m telling is no lie but then
again who wants to hear it? You just get yourself worked up over nothing.”

Dylan considered the thought.

“The truth about anything in this society, as you know, is too threatening. Gossip is King. It’s
like ‘conscience’ is a dirty word. Whatever is truthful haunts you and don’t let you sleep at
night. Especially anybody who’s living a lie gets hurt. You get a lot of ugly reactions from
people not familiar with it. A lot of times you don’t even bother. Not that I’m an expert or
anything but I’ve always tried to stick that into my music in some kind of way or at least not
to leave it untouched. The old stuff stayed in your head long after it was over, you know, even
something as simple as ‘to know, know, know him is to love, love, love him’, it became
monumental in some kind of way, now it’s just blabbering noise and after you shut it off
you’ve forgotten about it and you’re glad – Some Like It Hot. Oh mercy! Spare me please!
These things are just hooks, fish hooks in the back of your neck... nothing means anything,
people just showing off, dancing to a pack of lies – lotta people gotta be dead first before
anybody takes notice, the same people who praise you when you’re dead, when you were
alive they wouldn’t give you the time of day. I like to wonder about some of these people who
elevated John Lennon to such a mega-god as if when he was alive they were always on his
side. I wonder who they think he was singing to when he sang ‘just give me some truth. ‘
Everything is just too commercial, like a sprawling octopus, too much part of the system.
Sometimes you feel like you’re walking around in that movie Invasion Of The Body Snatchers
and you wonder if it’s got you yet, if you’re still one of the few or are you ‘them’ now. You
never know do you? When people don’t get threatened and challenged, I mean in some kind
of way, they don’t get confronted, never have to make decisions, they never take a stand, they
never grow, live their lives in a fishtank, stay in the same old scene forever, die and never get
a break or a chance to say goodbye. I have views contrary to all that. I think that this world is
just a passing-through place and that the dead have eyes and that even the unborn can see
and I don’t care who knows it. I don’t know, I can go off on tangents... things that got nothing
to do with music... The great folk music and the great rock n’ roll, you might not hear it again.
Like the horse and buggy. Sure, a horse and buggy is more soulful than a car but it takes
longer to get where you’re going and besides that, you could get killed on the road.”

Sitting across from Bob Dylan on this afternoon, one could see his influences very clearly. His
speech sometimes flecked with the country-isms of his youth, a leather jacket draped on his
shoulders, a sharp hand gesture with a cigarette barely holding its ash... for all the years of
who-is-Bob-Dylan analysis, the answer seemed obvious. He still is, as he always has been, a
lone figure with a guitar and a point-of-view.

“Basically, I’m self taught. What I mean by that actually is that I picked it all up from other
people by watching them, by imitating them. I seldom ever asked them to take me aside and
show me how to do it. I started out as a traveling guitar player and singer,” Dylan reflected.
“It had nothing to do with writing songs, fortune and fame, that sort of thing. You know what
I mean. I could always play a song on a concert-hall stage or from the back of a truck, a
nightclub or on the street, whatever, and that was the important thing, singing the song,
contributing something and paying my way. The most inspiring type of entertainer for me has
always been somebody like Jimmie Rodgers, somebody who could do it alone and was totally
original. He was combining elements of blues and hillbilly sounds before anyone else had


thought of it. He recorded at the same time as Blind Willie McTell but he wasn’t just another
white boy singing black. That was his great genius and he was there first. All he had to do was
appear with his guitar and a straw hat and he played on the same stage with big bands, girly
choruses and follies burlesque and he sang in a plaintive voice and style and he’s outlasted
them all. You don’t remember who else was on the bill. I never saw him. I only heard his
records. I never saw Woody Guthrie in his prime. I think maybe the greatest of all those I ever
saw was Cisco Houston. He was in his last days but you couldn’t tell – he looked like Clark
Gable and he was absolutely magnificent... I always like to think that there’s a real person
talking to me, just one voice you know, that’s all I can handle – Cliff Carlysle... Robert
Johnson, for me this is a deep reality, someone who’s telling me where he’s been that I
haven’t and what it’s like there – somebody whose life I can feel... Jimmie Rodgers or even
Judy Garland, she was a great singer... or Al Jolson... God knows there are so few of them, but
who knows? Maybe there are just enough. I always thought that one man, the lone balladeer
with the guitar could blow an entire army off the stage if he knew what he was doing... I’ve
seen it happen. It’s important to stay away from the celebrity trap. The Andy Warhol fame-
for-a-minute type trip. The media is a great meatgrinder, it’s never satisfied and it must be fed
but there’s power in darkness too and in keeping things hidden. Look at Napoleon. Napoleon
conquered Europe and nobody even knew what he looked like... people get too famous too
fast these days and it destroys them. Some guys got it down – Leonard Cohen, Paul Brady, Lou
Reed, secret heroes, – John Prine, David Allen Coe, Tom Waits, I listen more to that kind of
stuff than whatever is popular at the moment, they’re not. just witchdoctoring up the planet,
they don’t set up barriers... Gordon Lightfoot, every time I hear a song of his, it’s like I wish it
would last forever. Pop culture, what is it? IBM, Calvin Klein, General Motors, Mickey Mouse,
and that whole kind of thing, conformity to fashion, ideas, conformity to other people’s
opinions, conformity in the mirror, lots of singers who can’t even deliver live on stage, use
tapes and things... Van Gogh never sold but a few paintings while he was alive, incredible, as
far as he was concerned he was a failure. I don’t think for a minute though that he’s having
the last laugh cause that’s not what I think it’s about. Artists should remember that – There’s a
tremendous hypocrisy in this thing.”

From the demos, to the songs, to the hits and the never-heards, this is a collection of music that
anyone should take the time to listen to in sequence. And when the last notes of Forever Young
disappear, consider this: Dylan’s influence continues to be heard all around us, from his own
work to the music of artists like Springsteen, The Clash, The Pretenders, U2, The Blasters, Tom
Petty and The Heartbreakers and many others. Fan sponsored publications like Telegraph and
Wanted Man pour over set lists from twenty years ago, as well as Dylan’s movements of today.
To many, Dylan’s life is already the stuff of myth. To Dylan, it’s a life only half begun. Just listen
to the fire in his impassioned vocal on the USA for Africa single of We Are The World. A hero
to many, Bob Dylan has his own definition of the word.

“I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with
his freedom, someone who’s not afraid to jump in front of a freight train to save a loved one’s
life, to draw a crowd with my guitar, that’s about the most heroic thing that I can do. To play
a song to calm the king, well everybody don’t get to do that. There’s only certain things a King
wants to hear. And then if he don’t like it, he might send you to the gallows. Sometimes you
feel like a club fighter who gets off the bus in the middle of nowhere, no cheers, no
admiration, punches his way through ten rounds or whatever, always making someone else
look good, vomits up the pain in the backroom, picks up his check and gets back on the bus
heading out for another nowhere. Sometimes like a troubadour out of the dark ages, singing
for your supper and rambling the land or singing to the girl in the window, you know, the one
with the long flowing hair who’s combing it in the candlelight, maybe she invites you up.
Maybe she says ‘Sing me another song, sweetness, sing me that song about the cat and the
fiddle, the knave and the long sea voyage’ or maybe she don’t. You gotta be able to feel your




dream before anyone else is aware of it. ‘Your parents don’t like me they say I’m too poor’...
Gotta learn to bite the bullet like Tom Mix, take the blows, like the song says. Or like Charles
Aznavour, ‘you must learn to leave the table when love is no longer being served’ but that’s a
hard thing to do. You got to be strong and stay connected to what started it all, the inspiration
behind the inspiration, to who you were when people didn’t mind stepping on you, it’s easy to
say but the air gets thin at the top, you get light-headed, your environment changes, new
people come into your life...”

Bob Dylan stood and walked to a nearby window, he stared out at a small courtyard. A cat
shrieked from an over-hanging balcony. Dylan was restless and ready to go. I asked him he
viewed his impact upon modern culture. He shrugged.

“In the big picture, on the big stage, I’m not too sure, to take yourself seriously or to take
seriously what other people are thinking, you know that could be your downfall. I mean it’s a
weakness. I know I’ve done some important things but in what context, I don’t know, and also
for who. It’s hard to relate to fans. I mean I relate to people as people but people as fans, I’m
not sure I know what that means and don’t forget John Lennon was murdered by a so-called
fan – I know it gives them all a bad name but so what? I don’t think of myself as a fan of
anybody, I am more of an admirer, so why should I think of anyone as a fan of me? If they like
you, they do and if they don’t, well that’s their business – nobody owes anybody anything.
And anyway fans are consumers, they buy products and the company tries to please the
consumers. That type of thing can rule your life. If the fan don’t like you he becomes
somebody else’s fan, like the Paul Simon song, Got To Keep The Customer Satisfied – I’m not
gonna live and die behind that – I’m not selling breakfast cereal, or razor blades or whatever.
I’m always hearing people saying how ‘Dylan should do this and do that, make an album like
he did in the sixties. ‘ How the hell do they know? I could make Blonde on Blonde tomorrow
and the same people would probably say its outdated... that’s the way people are. As far as
the sixties go, it wasn’t any big deal. Time marches on. I mean if I had a choice I would rather
have lived at the time of King David, when he was the high King of Israel. I’d love to have
been riding with him or hiding in caves with him when he was a hunted outlaw. I wonder
what he would have been saying and about who – or maybe at the time of Jesus and Mary
Magdalene – that would have been interesting huh, really test your nerve... or maybe even
later in the time of the Apostles when they were overturning the world ... what happened in
the ‘60’s? Wiretapping? What was so revolutionary about it? You know, there was a time
when people thought the world was flat and that women didn’t have souls... you can say how
ridiculous and how could they have been so stupid but nevertheless people did think it to be
truth just like right now a lot of what’s thought to be truth will later be proved false... actually
I’m amazed that I’ve been around this long, never thought I would be. I try to learn from both
the wise and the unwise, not pay attention to anybody, do what I want to do. I can’t say I
haven’t done my share of playing the fool. There was never any secret. I was in the right place
at the right time. People dissect my songs like rabbits but they all miss the point. I mean have
you ever seen ‘something’s happening but you don ‘t know what it is do you, Mr. Jones’
played over the war in Lebanon? Or the Aids epidemic. Or Mengele’s bones? Sometimes I
think I’ve been doing this too long. I can understand why Rimbaud quit writing poetry when
he was 19... How would I change my life? Yeah, well, sometimes I think that I get by on only
50% of what I got, sometimes even less. I’d like to change that I guess... that’s about all I can
think of.”


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PostPosted: Wed August 11th, 2010, 14:00 GMT 
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Location: in the land where dreams are made....
telltale, good job.... did you really type that in????? :shock:

This very last part really kinda freaks me out.... 50%?....
but then I think that maybe we all are running on half speed....
it is just refreshing when someone just admits it..... :P


"How would I change my life? Yeah, well, sometimes I think that I get by on only
50% of what I got, sometimes even less. I’d like to change that I guess... that’s about all I can
think of.”


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PostPosted: Wed August 11th, 2010, 15:42 GMT 
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Location: Just like you, I'm tangled up in blue
That last quote has the same effect on me as the song 'What Good Am I?' Very similar sentiments, really makes you stop and think, doesn't it?


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PostPosted: Wed August 11th, 2010, 16:15 GMT 
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Thanks Telltale!!!


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PostPosted: Wed August 11th, 2010, 16:33 GMT 
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The Mighty Monkey Of Mim wrote:
Checked again and it's definitely not in the Biograph liner notes. However, a google search yielded this paper of ptervin's where the quote is given as follows:

"When you tell somebody your dreams and hopes you better make sure they love you like a brother or your dreams and hopes probably won't come true."

It's cited as coming from Chris Williams' Bob Dylan: In His Own Words, but the original source is not clarified.
Damn, I'll bet he plagiarised this too! :evil:

:lol:


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PostPosted: Wed August 11th, 2010, 16:50 GMT 

Joined: Wed July 30th, 2008, 01:43 GMT
Posts: 735
Location: on the scene missing
No Lily, even my dexterous digits couldn't accomplish such a feat of speed typing. But ...
Psssssssssst - if you ever want a dylan interview, why not download this?
http://www.sendspace.com/file/zvztvi
However, last time I linked to it for a guy he became obsessed with turning it into a book and selling it - this is all obviously copyright material available for research purposes and pure interest.


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PostPosted: Sun August 15th, 2010, 02:48 GMT 
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thank you all...i'm quite certain that the quote was included in the biograph vinyl package....on the sleeve itself, not in the booklet


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PostPosted: Sun August 15th, 2010, 18:54 GMT 

Joined: Sun June 22nd, 2008, 12:57 GMT
Posts: 264
The quote:
"When you tell somebody your dreams and hopes you better make sure they love you like a brother or your dreams and hopes probably won't come true."
is in
Chris Williams' "Bob Dylan: In His Own Words" (Omnibus Press, 1993) – on page 109.
It denotes only (New York, 1985), apparently part of a more lengthy response, but interviewer or occasion aren't identified.

I electronically searched the above quote in all 1400 pages of "Every Mind Polluting Word" but came up with zilch.

Incidently, I also don't find the quote anywhere within the entire packaging of both the vinyl and CD versions of Biograph.
I might have overlooked something, but that's about as far as I can take it for the moment.


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PostPosted: Sun August 15th, 2010, 22:17 GMT 
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The Mighty Monkey Of Mim wrote:
Checked again and it's definitely not in the Biograph liner notes. However, a google search yielded this paper of ptervin's where the quote is given as follows:

"When you tell somebody your dreams and hopes you better make sure they love you like a brother or your dreams and hopes probably won't come true."

It's cited as coming from Chris Williams' Bob Dylan: In His Own Words, but the original source is not clarified.


Hey, I know that guy!

The only other information I can add is that the Japanese translation says the words come from [a] 1985 New York [interview], but the only 1985 New York interview that Dylan made (in my records) is with Bill Flanagan and I find no reference to this quote in that interview.

The search continues....


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PostPosted: Mon August 16th, 2010, 00:28 GMT 

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Hm, 1985 *is* the year Biograph came out...


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PostPosted: Mon August 16th, 2010, 02:45 GMT 

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Location: on the scene missing
Could it be a tv or radio interview that he did that year to publicise Biograph?


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PostPosted: Mon August 16th, 2010, 05:09 GMT 
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Well, it must not be one of the essential interviews; Jonathan Cott pleasantly skips 1985 in Bob Dylan: The Essential Interviews. The web site mentioned above has portions of Flanagan's interview, but again, nothing about dreams. Could have been a TV thing, but it seems as if it would have been published elsewhere.


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