Skip to content

The Times They Are A-Changin’ – fifty years on

The Guardian, 22 February, 2014 Fifty years ago this month, the 22 year old Bob Dylan released his third album, The Times They Are A-Changin, the acme and as it turned out the end of his “protest” period. Dylan renounced this genre so quickly, and took his fans on such a giddy journey afterwards, that… Read more

Book review: A Freewheelin’ Time

Review of A Freewheelin’ Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Vilage in the Sixties by Suze Rotolo The Independent 24 October, 2008 Suze Rotolo has waited a long time to tell her side of the Bob Dylan story. “My instinct was to protect my privacy, and consequently his.” Despite her reticence, over the decades she’s become… Read more

Dylan’s rightful place

A slightly edited version of the piece below was published in The Guardian, 8 September 2007 For readers’ comments see Comment is Free He used to tease critics by claiming he was only “a song and dance man”, but whether he likes it or not, Bob Dylan has entered the canon. To mark next month’s National Poetry… Read more

Intimately encyclopedic

Book Review: The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia by Michael Gray (Continuum) The Guardian Review, 19 August Dylan’s work merits encyclopedic treatment not only because of its intrinsic richness and cultural import, but also because of its multi-sided, history-fraught nature. He crosses many boundaries. His sources are bewilderingly multiple. His evolution is complex, marked by political, aesthetic… Read more

Tangled up in blue-chips

Dylan’s deal with Starbucks is no surprise The Guardian, 30 June “One more cup of coffee before I go / To the valley below…” Will Starbucks customers be dwelling on death’s incoming darkness as they sip their mocha frappacinos and listen to Bob Dylan? Clearly, the corporation is confident that its appeal can withstand even… Read more

A great song deserves a better book

The Guardian, 28 May Review of Like a Rolling Stone: Bob Dylan at the Crossroads by Greil Marcus On the eve of its 40th birthday, “Like a Rolling Stone”, Bob Dylan’s splendidly splenetic six-minute rock’n’roll hit, sounds fresher than any number of more recent chart successes. Tantalisingly mysterious yet brutally plain spoken, mean-spirited and deeply… Read more

Maximum Bob

The Guardian, 16 October Mike Marqusee reviews Chronicles: Volume One by Bob Dylan “I went though it from cover to cover like a hurricane. Totally focussed on every word, and the book sang out to me like the radio.” Thus Bob Dylan, forty five years after the event, recalls a formative moment in modern popular… Read more

Don’t think twice, it’s all right

The Guardian, 8 April Forty years ago, his motto was “Money doesn’t talk, it swears …” Today, it’s “stretch-lined demi-bra with lace”. After four decades in showbusiness, Bob Dylan has made his debut in a television commercial – promoting a new line of lingerie. The advert, screening this week in the US, intercuts close-ups of… Read more

To live outside the law

Red Pepper, November, 2003 Forty years ago, on 26 October 1963, Bob Dylan premiered ‘The Times They are A-Changin’’, his generational anthem, to a sold-out house at New York’s Carnegie Hall. The song is founded on a conviction that the movement for social change is unstoppable, that history will conform to morality. In its second… Read more

Chimes of Freedom: TLS review

Review of Chimes of Freedom and Christopher Ricks’ Dylan’s Visions of Sin By Mark Ford, Times Literary Supplement, 30 October, 2003 “The only thing I can compare him with is blotting paper”, the Irish singer Liam Clancy once remarked of the scruffy, mumbling, chain-smoking nineteen-year-old folkie who arrived on the Greenwich Village coffee-house scene in… Read more