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Who is your favorite biographer/critic of Bob Dylan?
Anthony Scaduto 9%  9%  [ 7 ]
Bob Spitz 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Clinton Heylin 16%  16%  [ 13 ]
Daniel Mark Epstein 3%  3%  [ 2 ]
David Dalton 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Dennis McDougal 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Greil Marcus 1%  1%  [ 1 ]
Howard Sounes 6%  6%  [ 5 ]
Ian Bell 13%  13%  [ 10 ]
Jonathan Cott 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Michael Gray 3%  3%  [ 2 ]
Paul Williams 31%  31%  [ 25 ]
Richard Williams 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Robert Shelton 13%  13%  [ 10 ]
Sean Wilentz 4%  4%  [ 3 ]
Toby Thompson 3%  3%  [ 2 ]
Total votes : 80
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PostPosted: Fri August 28th, 2015, 21:13 GMT 
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"Of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh." ~ Ecclesiastes 12:12


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PostPosted: Fri August 28th, 2015, 21:24 GMT 
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Robert Shelton.

And loved the Paul Williams series. Performing Artist. Though that's not technically a biography.


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PostPosted: Fri August 28th, 2015, 22:18 GMT 
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jimb727 wrote:
Robert Shelton.

And loved the Paul Williams series. Performing Artist. Though that's not technically a biography.


Yeah, I voted for Paul Williams, really enjoyed his Performing Artist series, but they are not
a "biography". I think Robert Shelton's was the first biography I read, and still the one I like
the best.
At this point, I've read most of them. I like "Chronicles" too. Wish he would get around to
"Chronicles 2".


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PostPosted: Fri August 28th, 2015, 23:16 GMT 
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Heylin.
Yeah - he's dogmatic, quirky and opinionated ... But I like that in an author!
I love Paul Williams too - but he's not a biographer.


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PostPosted: Sat August 29th, 2015, 14:05 GMT 
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Favourite critics : Ricks, Gray, Williams, Marcus.


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PostPosted: Sun August 30th, 2015, 07:42 GMT 
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Bob Dylan is my favourite biographer of Bob Dylan.


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PostPosted: Sun August 30th, 2015, 09:18 GMT 
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Hungryhoss wrote:
Bob Dylan is my favourite biographer of Bob Dylan.


That genre is known as "autobiography".


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PostPosted: Sun August 30th, 2015, 09:22 GMT 
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The Bard wrote:
I love Paul Williams too - but he's not a biographer.




I think his extended essay "Dylan-What Happened?" qualifies as excellent biography, perhaps the best single item I've read.


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PostPosted: Sun August 30th, 2015, 09:23 GMT 
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Mickvet wrote:
Hungryhoss wrote:
Bob Dylan is my favourite biographer of Bob Dylan.


That genre is known as "autobiography".


Don't be so silly.


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PostPosted: Sun August 30th, 2015, 10:55 GMT 
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Hungryhoss wrote:

Don't be so silly.


Humpy Dumpty has spoken.


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PostPosted: Sun August 30th, 2015, 19:15 GMT 
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Ian Bell. The best pair of books about Dylan. Love his writing style.


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PostPosted: Mon August 31st, 2015, 08:17 GMT 
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That's a very wide definition of 'biographer.' Few of them really are.

Hungryhoss wrote:
Bob Dylan is my favourite biographer of Bob Dylan.


Agreement. :shock:


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PostPosted: Mon August 31st, 2015, 15:33 GMT 
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Johanna Parker wrote:
That's a very wide definition of 'biographer.' Few of them really are.

Looking at the list of authors in the poll, the only ones who don't belong their are Marcus & Gray. I'm not sure why, but I thought each of them had written proper biographies of Dylan. Oops.

For the others, here are the books I had in mind:

Anthony Scaduto. Bob Dylan (1972).
Bob Spitz. Dylan: A Biography (1988).
Clinton Heylin. Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades (2000).
Daniel Mark Epstein. The Ballad of Bob Dylan: A Portrait (2011).
David Dalton. Who Is That Man?: In Search of the Real Bob Dylan (2012).
Dennis McDougal. Dylan: The Biography (2014).
Howard Sounes. Down the Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan (2001).
Ian Bell. Once Upon a Time: The Lives of Bob Dylan (2012).
Ian Bell. Time Out Of Mind: The Lives of Bob Dylan (2013).
Jonathan Cott. Dylan (1984).
Paul Williams. Bob Dylan: What Happened? (1979)
Richard Williams. Dylan: A Man Called Alias (1992).
Robert Shelton. No Direction Home: The Life and Music of Bob Dylan (1986).
Sean Wilentz. Bob Dylan in America (2010).
Toby Thompson. Positively Main Street: An Unorthodox view of Bob Dylan (1972).


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PostPosted: Mon August 31st, 2015, 15:40 GMT 
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outfidel wrote:
Johanna Parker wrote:
That's a very wide definition of 'biographer.' Few of them really are.

Looking at the list of authors in the poll, the only ones who don't belong their are Marcus & Gray. I'm not sure why, but I thought each of them had written proper biographies of Dylan. Oops.

For the others, here are the books I had in mind:

Jonathan Cott. Dylan (1984).
Paul Williams. Bob Dylan: What Happened? (1979)
Richard Williams. Dylan: A Man Called Alias (1992).
Sean Wilentz. Bob Dylan in America (2010).


Cott and R. Williams are photo books with just basic biographical commentary. Wilentz is some sort of cultural study. P. Williams is about the beginning of Dylan's gospel period and some events surrounding it.


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PostPosted: Mon August 31st, 2015, 15:46 GMT 
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The Bard wrote:
Heylin.
Yeah - he's dogmatic, quirky and opinionated ... But I like that in an author!
I love Paul Williams too - but he's not a biographer.


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Yep, I'm in the Heylin crowd as well, even if I don't agree with him on his takes, I appreciate his opinions and his writing style. Never dull.


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PostPosted: Mon August 31st, 2015, 15:50 GMT 
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I selected David Hajdu as that and the Bob "autobiography" are the only books I've read about Bob. I read half of two others, but I'd rather listen to music that read about it.


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PostPosted: Mon August 31st, 2015, 17:05 GMT 
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ApocalypseKurtz wrote:
The Bard wrote:
Heylin.
Yeah - he's dogmatic, quirky and opinionated ... But I like that in an author!
I love Paul Williams too - but he's not a biographer.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


Yep, I'm in the Heylin crowd as well, even if I don't agree with him on his takes, I appreciate his opinions and his writing style. Never dull.



Same here, despite the times I want to strangle him. I also like that he doesn't cut the later years short like so many biographies do. It's been a long time since I read Shelton's, I should give it another try but at this point I've seen Dylan's biographical details rehashed so many times I just don't have much interest in slogging through them again.


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PostPosted: Tue September 1st, 2015, 13:07 GMT 
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Clinton heylin was thrilling to read. I voted for him.
The first dylan-book that I read was that of robert shelton. For a while that was my Bible when I was 14 or 15.


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PostPosted: Tue September 1st, 2015, 13:16 GMT 
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I also approve of Heylin's biographical stuff on Dylan (other artists, not so much). He may make the odd error and be overly opinionated, but he goes for the truth and does a lot of digging instead of repeating myths and passing off lazy writing as biography.

If I were to recommend reading about Dylan for total newbies, I would suggest reading (in order):

1) Scaduto's 1971 Dylan bio -- this runs out of steam about halfway through, but it's still the patriarch of all Dylan studies and does have excellent info on Dylan's early years.

2) Heylin's Behind The Shades (2011 or whatever edition)

3) Paul Williams's Performing Artist series (I've read 1 and 2, but not 3 as I'm not overly interested in later Dylan... but I'm sure it's good)

4) Ian Bell's two recent bios (Once Upon a Time and Time Out of Mind). These are really good and supremely informed (also up to date), with two minor issues: (1) his writing style can be irritating, with endless rhetorical questions at the end of paragraphs and (overly?) indulgent dips into contemporary news events, and (2) I feel reading his books like he's an academic commenting on other people's heavy-lifting and groundwork. It's like he didn't really do the work himself, he's just benefiting from other people's. I feel like Scaduto and Heylin did most of the research.


I would not recommend Shelton's stuff on Dylan because Shelton (a) falls for myths Dylan sells him, and (b) has basically nothing about Dylan after the 60s. A bit too much hagiography, too (but apparently some people like that).


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PostPosted: Wed September 2nd, 2015, 01:09 GMT 
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Not really a Biographer of Dylan, but my favorite writing regarding Dylan is Larry Ratso Sloman's On the Road with Bob Dylan.


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PostPosted: Wed September 2nd, 2015, 01:13 GMT 
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Callahan wrote:
Not really a Biographer of Dylan, but my favorite writing regarding Dylan is Larry Ratso Sloman's On the Road with Bob Dylan.


:D


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PostPosted: Mon September 21st, 2015, 18:59 GMT 

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Sounes for me, love Down the Highway. I also love Behind the Shades but just enjoy reading Down the Highway more (Often skim through it on the toilet)


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PostPosted: Tue September 22nd, 2015, 19:12 GMT 
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Hungryhoss wrote:
Bob Dylan is my favourite biographer of Bob Dylan.


Mine too


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PostPosted: Tue September 22nd, 2015, 19:25 GMT 
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I'd like to see the first female writer tackle Bob. Patti Smith comes to mind.


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PostPosted: Tue September 22nd, 2015, 19:55 GMT 

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Hungryhoss wrote:
Bob Dylan is my favourite biographer of Bob Dylan.

I don't know, he's played pretty fast and loose with the details of Bob Dylan's life.


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