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Revolution in the Air: The Songs of Bob Dylan 1957-1973 (Songs of Bob Dylan Vol 1) Hardcover – 23 Apr 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 498 pages
  • Publisher: Constable; First Edition edition (23 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184901051X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849010511
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 4.4 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 748,967 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

A must of every Dylan scholar, but fascinating for dipping into, too (Q Magazine)

Beg, steal, borrow ... a compelling history of Dylan's mercurial songwriting (Mojo, 5-star review)

Better than any biography could ever be, and a crucial Dylan book. (Jonathan Lethem, author of The Fortress of Solitude)

A gripping new book by Dylan scholar Clinton Heylin 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, (editor) Word)

True to form, Heylin digs deep - way deep - into the songs, mixing cold hard facts with illuminating anecdotes. (Mark Smith, managing editor, Acoustic Guitar)

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 of 'Dylan', and editor, 'Bob Dylan: The Essential Interviews')

Valuable resource (Observer)

Terrifically interesting for Dylan nuts (Sunday Herald)

Manna for completists (Metro)

Another epic work from Heylin (Ham & High)

Heylin's strengths are the depth of his expertise, based on half a lifetime of heavy-duty research, and a lively, literate writing style...an essential purchase...volume two is eagerly awaited. (The Dylan Daily (website))

Exhaustively researched ... thrilling ... briskly entertaining (Time Out 'Book of the Week' 4 star review)

Review

`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
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good to dip into and cause you to rehear some older albums you may not have listened too for a while.

Opinions are of course opinions but they seem to accord well to my tastes.

The other handiness is that in getting an ordered history of the songs you can - nowadays - go back and digitally reassemble albums - for example chopping the last three songs from JWH and moving to NS and adding 'This Wheels on Fire'/'Tears of Rage'/'I shall be released' - which would make an already great album near perfect and improve a weak one imo.
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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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Format: Paperback
There's no denying that this is a very impressive book, documenting Bob Dylan's first 300 songs in the order of which they were written, from 1957-1973. Unfortunately, I found the massive ego and high self-importance from the author Clinton Heylin to be very off-putting, and his bitchiness about other 'Dylanologists' was particularly petty and unnecessary.

However, like I said, this is an impressive study, documenting every song Dylan penned from high school efforts through to the tracks that appeared on the 'Planet Waves' album. Incredibly well-research, and very informative, it provides some interesting information about the background and writing progress of many timeless songs, some very famous, others very obscure, and some which haven't even been unreleased.

A very useful book for avid fans. Personally, I found myself dipping in and out, 'Revolution in the Air' is certainly not a book that I could read cover-to-cover, but it did make me reach for my Bob Dylan albums, as well as go and purchase more of them.
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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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Format: Hardcover
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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