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9780802138910

Down the Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan

Sounes, Howard

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9780802138910: Down the Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan stands out with Elvis Presley and The Beatles in a triumvirate of popular-music artists of unparalleled achievements, influence and public fascination. He changed popular music in the 1960s, and helped define that decade with songs 'Blowin' in the Wind' and 'Like a Rolling Stone'. Yet he resisted those who attempted to define him. An aratist of indomitable energy and single-mindedness, he went on to create new work - on albums such as BLOOD ON THE TRACKS and TIME OUT OF MIND - which rivals his past glory.

He has outlasted all his contemporaries, selling more than 56 million records over forty years. In 2001, the year of his sixtieth birthday, Bob Dylan is as relevant to a young audience as to those who grew up with his music.

DOWN THE HIGHWAY celebrates the grandeur of Dylan's artistic achievement and reveals the complete life story of the reclusive, mercurial and eccentric man who has been an enigma for so long. This major new biography is based on a mountain of research conducted over three years, including interviews with more than 250 people in Dylan's life - lovers, friends, relatives, former employees and music stars. Many interviewees are key people who have not spoken before. Author Howard Sounes has also had access to previously unseen documentary evidence. In this magnificent and authoritative account he takes the reader to the heart of Dylan's life and work.

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Down the Highway delves into the life of Bob Dylan, one of popular music's enduring legends. In the course of his 40-year career he has sold more than 56 million records, has performed countless live gigs, has long been regarded as the preeminent songwriter of his time and yet he is still an enigma. Despite dragging his increasingly raddled body through a gigging schedule that would exhaust a musician a third his age, he remains notoriously reclusive. And to be frank, no-one reading Down the Highway will know him that much better by the end. The Bob Dylan rockography business has been a hugely profitable industry over the years and Howard Sounes' book is a worthy addition. It quotes chapter and verse on all the important--and unimportant--details of Dylan's life from his early days as poet/folk troubadour through his switch to electric guitar, to drugs, films and superstardom. The research is exhaustive and much of it is new: Sounes has tried to chat to everyone who was even tangentally involved in Dylan's career and goes into depth about his secret marriage to backing singer Carolyn Dennis in 1986. But what the book amounts to is an extraordinary collection of facts about the singer, but only a vague sense of what makes him tick. Dylan has always been a man who has preferred to let his music and lyrics do the talking; either Dylan refused permission or demanded an exorbitant sum to reprint them, but the absence of any lyrics leaves a noticeable hole in the text for the less knowledgeable or fanatical reader. It will be less of a problem, though, for the diehard Dylan fans, and for them Sounes' biography will be a crucial must-have buy. For the rest of us, it will be a book too far. -- John Crace

Review:

Praise for "Down the Highway" "Sounes [has] produced [a] fascinating and finely written account of Dylan's life and times, while managing at the same time to provide interesting evaluations of his music and cultural contribution."--"The New Republic" "Sounes . . . pieces together testimony and circumstantial evidence into a fairly detailed account of Dylan's wreck. . . . It's the kind of thing Sounes does well, opening new angles on the enigmatic polyhedron that is Dylan."--"The Nation" "[Sounes] offers information that, in sheer quantity, supersedes prior accounts."--"The New York Times Book Review" "Sounes' book has the definite virtue of being the last one you'll ever need to read about Dylan."--"Salon" "With little sensationalism, the inscrutable and intensely private Dylan is dissected, measured, and categorized."--"Esquire" "[Sounes] has scoured court documents and interviewed friends, family, lovers, band members and anyone else who hads

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