Greil Marcus weaves individual moods and moments into a brilliant history of their changing times.
The book begins in Berkeley in 1968, and ends with a piece on Dylan’s show at the University of Minnesota on election night 2008. In between are moments of euphoric discovery: from Marcus’ sleeve notes for the 1967 Basement Tapes to his exploration of Dylan’s reimagining of the American experience in 1997’s Time Out of Mind. And rejection; Marcus’s Rolling Stone piece on Dylan’s album Self Portrait – often referred to as the most famous record review ever written – began with ‘What is this shit?’ and led to his departure from the magazine for five years. Marcus follows not only recordings but performances. books, movies, and all manner of highways and byways in which Bob Dylan has made himself felt in our culture.
Together, the dozens of pieces collected here comprise a portrait of how, throughout his career, Bob Dylan has drawn upon and reinvented the landscape of American song, its myths and choruses, heroes and villains. They are the result of more than forty years’ engagement between an unparalleled artist and a uniquely acute listener.
Length: 512 pages