Saturday, October 15, 2022

Musician Authors: Bob Dylan


purchase [ The Philosophy of Modern Song ]

If you use Amazon as your guide to the number of books Bob Dylan has written, you'll end up with a number a little north of 50. If you rely on Quora for your research, the answer is two. Two that he has actually penned himself. However, that Quora entry/tally - apparently a little out of date - doesn't include <The Philosophy of Modern Song>, so make that three (3). Those three being Tarantula, Chronicles Volume One and The Philosophy of Modern Song.

That said, there is no dispute that he received the Nobel prize for literature. There was, however, a bit of a kerfuffle associated with his acceptance, both because he initially balked and equally because there was debate about whether his product was worthy of a "literature" award (incidentally, also bestowed previously for poetic output).

There aren't many who belittle Dylan's thought-provoking lyrics, so ... let's let that argument pass: he *is* an author (and as I noted a week ago, that in and of itself, should count for this theme.)

The Philosophy of Modern Song, Bob Dylan's most recent written work after his Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016, looks interesting. I confess that all I have so far been able to read are the snippets that NYT published the other day. That said, the few pages the NYT shared make me want to read more. More, because I have been feeling that a lot of my coverage of topics for SMM could really do with more background research. More, because it reads well. More because it is relevant to someone  invested in music.

NYT tells us the book is 65 essays about songs, and the article offers up 2 excerpts: the text for Sinatra's Strangers in the Night and Townshend's My Generation. They're both short - about 2 pages each. But they are piercing in their own way. Kind of like you'd expect from a Dylan lyric -  except more conversational and less cryptic/poetic.

and, from 

"Ballad in Plain D", from Bob Dylan's fourth album, Another Side of Bob Dylan (1964) is the only song he ever publicly admitted he wished he hadn't written. "Oh yeah, that one! I look back and say, "I must have been a real schmuck to write that," he said in 1985.