The author of The Double Life of Bob Dylan complains a bit about other biographers and that Dylan researches are “obsessives” while Shakespeare researchers are “scholars”, is there a double standard? Maybe… but this is his 11th book on Dylan. Is that obsessive? Scholarly? Either way – this is a great biography of Dylan and also has a Tulsa, OK connection. If you’re not aware, Downtown Tulsa is going to be getting a Bob Dylan center to open next May. (Hopefully around when I am visiting so I can check it out!) This is because in 2016, the George Kaiser Foundation purchased the personal archive from Bob Dylan. It is this archive that the author went through in order to write this new biography, after realizing there was misinformation in previous biographies. Despite there being many books out there on Bob Dylan – this one has new information included and while it took me some time to get through, it certainly was very interesting and got me even more excited for the center in Tulsa to open.
I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.
About the Book
“So, you want to know more about Bob Dylan? Read Clinton Heylin’s new book. You’ll get all you need.” — Graham Nash, of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
The definitive biography of one contemporary culture’s most iconic and mysterious figures
In 2016 Bob Dylan sold his personal archive to the George Kaiser Foundation in Tulsa, Oklahoma, reportedly for $22 million. As the boxes started to arrive, the Foundation asked Clinton Heylin – author of the acclaimed Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades and ‘perhaps the world’s authority on all things Dylan’ (Rolling Stone) – to assess the material they had been given. What he found in Tulsa – as well as what he gleaned from other papers he had recently been given access to by Sony and the Dylan office – so changed his understanding of the artist, especially of his creative process, that he became convinced that a whole new biography was needed. It turns out that much of what previous biographers – Dylan himself included – have said is wrong.
With fresh and revealing information on every page A Restless, Hungry Feeling tells the story of Dylan’s meteoric rise to fame: his arrival in early 1961 in New York, where he is embraced by the folk scene; his elevation to spokesman of a generation whose protest songs provide the soundtrack for the burgeoning Civil Rights movement; his alleged betrayal when he ‘goes electric’ at Newport in 1965; his subsequent controversial world tour with a rock ’n’ roll band; and the recording of his three undisputed electric masterpieces: Bringing it All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde. At the peak of his fame in July 1966 he reportedly crashes his motorbike in Woodstock, upstate New York, and disappears from public view. When he re-emerges, he looks different, his voice sounds different, his songs are different.
Clinton Heylin’s meticulously researched, all-encompassing and consistently revelatory account of these fascinating early years is the closest we will ever get to a definitive life of an artist who has been the lodestar of popular culture for six decades.