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Revolution in the Air: The Songs of Bob Dylan 1957-1973 (Songs of Bob Dylan Vol 1) [Hardcover]

Clinton Heylin
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

23 April 2009 Songs of Bob Dylan Vol 1
Bob Dylan has always regarded himself as a songwriter: ‘I am my words,’ he wrote in 1964. Distilling a lifetime’s passion and study, leading Dylan author, Clinton Heylin charts the development and first moments of genius of this unique artist whose songs changed the world. From his first attempts at writing, Song to Bridget, in 1957, (apparently for Brigitte Bardot) Bob Dylan always aspired to poetry, yet his role as a writer rather than a performer of his own songs is often overlooked. In over fifty years of creativity he had penned some of the most iconic, and perfect, songs in popular history. Arriving in New York in 1961, the city had an enormous impact on the young artist and, as he established himself amongst the folk clubs and artists, he would produce songs that spoke for a whole generation: Blowing in the Wind, A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall, The Times They Are a Changin’, Like a Rolling Stone, and Forever Young. In Revolution in the Air Clinton Heylin recounts the story of each song as it is written, giving a full appreciation of the songs themselves as well as Dylan the emerging artist. Unlike any other book on Dylan, it charts his rise as a writer, where he gained his inspiration, the burst of energy which produced some of his most famous songs as well as the lesser known stories behind the more iconic verses. This is an essential book for anyone interested in Dylan and his place in literature. Informative, opinionated, packed with new insights and revelations, this is an instant classic. Praise for Clinton Heylin: “The only Dylanologist worth reading.” - The New York Times. “Arguably the world’s greatest rock biographer.” - The Irish Independent.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 498 pages
  • Publisher: Constable; First Edition edition (23 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184901051X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849010511
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 437,331 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"The only Dylanologist worth reading." - The New York Times.<br/><br/>"Arguably the world's greatest rock biographer." - The Irish Independent.<br/><br/>"The most exhaustive, balanced and intelligent account of Dylan's accomplishments that anybody is likely to provide." - Mick Brown, Daily Telegraph.<br/><br/>"This epic portrait could hardly be bettered." - The Independent.<br/><br/> "Beg, steal, borrow ... a compelling history of Dylan s mercurial songwriting" - Mojo, 5 star review.<br/><br/> "Valuable resource" - Observer.<br/><br/> "Already has the critics singing its praises" - The Herald.<br/><br/> "Another epic work from Heylin" - Ham & High.<br/><br/> "Terrifically interesting for Dylan nuts" - Sunday Herald. <br/><br/>"Manna for completists" - Metro<br /><br />"A gripping new book by Dylan scholar Clinton Heylin so is so far in the deep end that its borderline insane . . [yet] has been devoured with a ravenous, insatiable appetite, and I have even made notes in the margin."- Mark Ellen, Word.<br /><br />"A magnum opus that anyone curious about, fascinated by, and devoted to His Master's Voice will want to read and ponder." --Jonathan Cott, author, Dylan, and editor, Bob Dylan: The Essential Interviews

`A gripping new book by Dylan scholar Clinton Heylin so is so far in the deep end that its borderline insane . . [yet] has been devoured with a ravenous, insatiable appetite, and I have even made notes in the margin.' --Mark Ellen, Word

"A magnum opus that anyone curious about, fascinated by, and devoted to His Master's Voice will want to read and ponder." --Jonathan Cott, author, Dylan, and editor, Bob Dylan: The Essential Interviews


`A gripping new book by Dylan scholar Clinton Heylin so is so far in the deep end that its borderline insane . . [yet] has been devoured with a ravenous, insatiable appetite, and I have even made notes in the margin.' Mark Ellen, Word

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best Dylan book .... 2 Jun 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am going to give this book only three stars because I felt quite bored by the author's relentless self-promotion. I find arrogance difficult to take and, having read a whole stack of Dylan books where the authors are rather more interested in Bob than themselves, I find this one rather irritating. The issue of scholarship is significant: Heylin has spent a lot of time in the Colombia vaults and probably reads their system better than most, but his arrangement of the songs chronologically is very much a matter of opinion, informed as that opinion might be. That, effectively, is his one trick, and it is insufficient to carry this book since his critical skills are not of the same order. It becomes tedious that Heylin ends each section with a little twist that he presumably finds witty; I don't, at least after a few of them. He also seems to have much more respect for himself than for Dylan and, with an ego the size of his own should be more forgiving of both Bob's ego AND his libido. I also am much irritated by Heylin's lack of respect for other authors, I have met Michael Gray and find him an interesting, insightful and pleasant man. I am SURE that Gray would not speak of Heylin in the way that Heylin does of Gray and everyone else. In my opinion, the best thing to inform anyone wanting to find out more about Dylan is to read another book, so long as it is intelligently written. Heylin doesn't agree with this, thinking most other writers inferior to himself, and it is to his detriment. In a few word, I will state with certainty; Song and Dance Man 3 is MUCH better than this book, though much more demanding intellectually to read. I would like to test Heylin's knowledge of American roots music; I suspect it would NOT be great, and certainly would not match Gray's.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ain't Clinton Heylin Great! 25 May 2009
Ain't Clinton Heylin Great' would have been a good alternative title for this book. Once one wades through the self-congratulatory, ego-driven 'Seems Like an Intro' the book is actually not to bad. Heylin obviously thinks very highly of himself and very little of any one else who has ever written about Dylan. He also fancies himself as something of a wit, unfortunately, Oscar Wilde he is not.

However, beyond Heylin's obvious shortcomings as a writer the book is enjoyable and where he fails as a writer Heylin does seem to be a half decent researcher. The reasonably informed and educated reader will doubtless see through the tabloid standard assumptions that populate almost every page and enjoy the history and origins of the songs.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book - Just Ask The Author 13 May 2009
Echoing the other reviews of this book on here, this is a fantastic piece of work by one of the foremost Dylan experts and despite being chopped into individual songs it still manages to read like a cohesive whole. Even the most serious Dylan fans will find something new here and I for one can't wait for the next volume which will cover his less acclaimed but in many ways more interesting work.

Unfortunately however the author, rather than let the books obvious merits speak for themselves appears to find it necessary to tell us how good he is, frequently, and less forgivably how poor pretty much every other Dylan scholar throughout history has been. This monumental arrogance is pretty tedious at times and can become wearing but it shouldn't detract from what is a significant work. Heylin may be as he so often points out, the best there is when it comes to writing about Dylan but my God you wouldn't want to have him round for dinner.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back to the Albums 5 Feb 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Bootleg series has been a superb listening experience.

This magnificent book puts all those out-takes and live versions in a concise historical context.

I totally disagree with some other reviews which make off-kilter character comments about the author. He does have strong opinions but the book would be sterile without them. There are numerous quotes from Dylan himself. Often Dylan is complaining of writers trying to analyse or decode his songs. Heylin largely tries to avoid Lit-Crit style writing but concentrates on verifiable details.

I have been a Dylan fan for 33 years and learnt a huge amount from this splendid book. The highest praise is that it makes you listen to the great songs again and again - in the many different versions available.

I bought this on Kindle. It was that good that I will have to buy the real deal now as well as it is an invaluable work of reference.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nobody Sings Dylan Like Heylin 30 Mar 2009
Clinton Heylin is the world's foremost Bob Dylan chronicler, researcher, biographer and author. But don't take my word for it - ask Mr. Heylin yourself. Actually you don't need to ask him; he'll tell you on his own or certainly strongly imply it. After reading dozens and dozens of Dylan books over the years, and being completely burned out on reading about Bob, Heylin is the only author that I will certainly read when he comes out with a new Dylan book. That being said I was concerned that Heylin's seemingly increasing arrogance and ego would mar this new book. Most people didn't think much of Clinton's recent book on The Beatles' Sergeant Pepper, which revealed more of the author's tastes than anything else. Happily he has reined things in here and produced an incredible book for enjoyment, information and even research. The first of a 2 volume series Heylin has taken on the task of discussing every single known Dylan-written song in the order they were written. This includes unofficial and even unheard songs. This volume covers 1957 - 1973. He discusses everything from Dylan's and others comments at the genesis of each song, early performance, influences and anything you can think of. It is a fascinating book. What sets Heylin apart from most other Dylanologists is his attention to detail and the truth, as well as his own dogged research. Instead of regurgitating popular opinions on Bob he takes nothing for granted. Heylin did not write this book because this is his latest project. It is my impression that he wrote this be read as THE definitive commentary on Bob Dylan songs 100 years from now. I believe that he has succeeded.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars joke
cause i enjoyed it but it could all be a joke, maybe Dylan was just messing around having a laugh, but maybe not
Published 9 months ago by R. Codner
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique
There are loads of Bob books, but nothing else gives the depth basic of information like Mr Heylin's book (apart from volume 2 of course!) . Read more
Published 10 months ago by Keni
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential book for any serious Dylan fan
This book contains all the stories behind the songs that I thrive on. It gives the reader an insight to hundreds of songs by Dylan, with no relevant details spared. Read more
Published 16 months ago by K. Thomson
5.0 out of 5 stars A great piece of work
This is a superb and thorough document, tracing and accounting for all Dylan's songs, released and unreleased, in the period under study. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Terry Wilson
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not exactly what I wanted...
This is a very thorough book, it tells you exactly what the circumstances were under which Dylan wrote all of his songs up until 1973. Read more
Published on 10 Dec 2010 by rosiescott88
4.0 out of 5 stars Music in the cafes at night and...
One of the better recent books that's joined the others on my sagging and straining "Bob Dylan" shelf. Read more
Published on 27 May 2009 by Bob The Bobcat
4.0 out of 5 stars Anatomy of a genius
The previous reviewer has it right; the author is quite intrusive (puts 'boom boom' after a feeble pun, for example) but his heart seems to be in the right place. Read more
Published on 25 April 2009 by Dr. Peter G. Upton
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