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Chronicles: Volume One by Bob Dylan

Chronicles: Volume One (2004)

by Bob Dylan

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,319501,638 (3.91)52
Recently added byDieterBoehm, JLKP, vgalgano, alo1224, neddysbooks, Buecherey, lucyh, private library, cercamon, tomeades
Legacy LibrariesJuice Leskinen
  1. 10
    Kafka Was the Rage: A Greenwich Village Memoir by Anatole Broyard (bertilak)
  2. 10
    Bob Dylan: The Illustrated Record by Alan Rinzler (gust)
  3. 10
    A Freewheelin' Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties by Suze Rotolo (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Dylan's girlfriend's memoirs of life in the Village in the early 1960s
  4. 00
    Who I Am by Pete Townshend (br77rino)
    br77rino: Both of these autobiographies are surprisingly honest, and great reads. Dylan's especially breaks away from a lot of the conventional (i.e., media-concocted) descriptions of these guys.
  5. 00
    Het verhaal van De Nieuwe Snaar by Kris De Smet (gust)

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» See also 52 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
I just listened to this book (read by Sean Penn). Some of the stories were interesting. When Dylan first moved to New York he knew and did some hanging out with lots of musicians including PeeWee Herman - interesting. The book made be feel like I should go out and buy folk music. He kind of jumped around in this book. It was ok but I just wasn't that interested.
  taurus27 | Dec 29, 2016 |
Whether or not all of the facts are correct is irrelevant; this book was a good read and it was interesting to see how Zimmy set down his own legendary past in narrative form. ( )
  englishm | Nov 23, 2016 |
Reading this made me ridiculously happy, especially the first and last chapters. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
Is there really ever going to be a 'volume 2', or is this just another "Dylanism"? ( )
  DVDWalsh | Jan 18, 2016 |
Well, my mistake, but this was an abridged version. I can imagine what was left out, but one never knows!

I found the editorial choice to have the story told as a circle an unusual one. I might not have found it quite as disconcerting had I been reading a print version.

Their were few calendar notes to orient the reader/listener to what music was happening when. Although he has been married at least twice, one would not know this from the book. Or, perhaps, the time line only covered one marriage. It may be none of my business, but hey, he brought it up!

He left out his "born again" experience, though again, it may not have corresponded to the time period covered.

Sean Penn was an inspired choice for the narrator. His voice is not Dylan's, but it has the right quality. ( )
  kaulsu | Oct 12, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bob Dylanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bindervoet, ErikTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carrera, AlessandroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Henkes, Robbert-JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Lou Levy, top man of Leeds Music Publishing company, took me up in a taxi to the Pythian Temple on West 70th Street to show me the pocket sized recording studio where Bill Haley and His Comets had recorded "Rock Around the Clock"—then down to Jack Dempsey's restaurant on 58th and Broadway, where we sat down in a red leather upholstered booth facing the front window.
He asked me about my family. I told him about my grandma on my mom's side who lived with us. She was filled with nobility and goodness, told me once that happiness isn't on the road to anything. That happiness is the road. Had also instructed me to be kind because everyone you'll ever meet is fighting a hard battle.
As far as I knew, I didn't belong to anybody then or now. I had a wife and children whom I loved more than anything else in the world. I was trying to provide for them, keep out of trouble, but the big bugs in the press kept promoting me as the mouthpiece, spokesman, or even conscience of a generation. That was funny. All I'd ever done was sing songs that were dead straight and expressed powerful new realities. I had very little in common with and knew even less about a generation that I was supposed to be the voice of.
     …Once in the midsummer madness I was riding in a car with Robbie Robertson, the guitar player in what was later to be called The Band. I felt like I might as well have been living in another part of the solar system.
     He says to me, "Where do you think you're gonna take it?"
     I said, "Take what?"
     "You know, the whole music scene."
     The whole music scene! The car window was rolled down about an inch. I rolled it down the rest of the way, felt a gust of wind blow into my face and waited for what he said to die away—it was like dealing with a conspiracy. No place was far enough away. I don't know what everybody else was fantasizing about, but what I was fantasizing about was a nine-to-five existence, a house on a tree-lined block with a white picket fence, pink roses in the backyard.
     "You a prayin' man, huh? What do you pray for? You pray for the world?"
     (Dylan) I never thought about praying for the world. I said, "I pray that I can be a kinder person."
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0743244583, Paperback)

One would not anticipate a conventional memoir from Bob Dylan--indeed, one would not have foreseen an autobiography at all from the pen of the notoriously private legend. What Chronicles: Volume 1 delivers is an odd but ultimately illuminating memoir that is as impulsive, eccentric, and inspired as Dylan's greatest music.

Eschewing chronology and skipping over most of the "highlights" that his many biographers have assigned him, Dylan drifts and rambles through his tale, amplifying a series of major and minor epiphanies. If you're interested in a behind-the-scenes look at his encounters with the Beatles, look elsewhere. Dylan describes the sensation of hearing the group's "Do You Want to Know a Secret" on the radio, but devotes far more ink to a Louisiana shopkeeper named Sun Pie, who tells him, "I think all the good in the world might already been done" and sells him a World's Greatest Grandpa bumper sticker. Dylan certainly sticks to his own agenda--a newspaper article about journeymen heavyweights Jerry Quarry and Jimmy Ellis and soul singer Joe Tex's appearance on The Tonight Show inspire heartfelt musings, and yet the 1963 assassination of John Kennedy prompts nary a word from the era's greatest protest singer.

For all the small revelations (it turns out he's been a big fan of Barry Goldwater, Mickey Rourke, and Ice-T), there are eye-opening disclosures, including his confession that a large portion of his recorded output was designed to alienate his audience and free him from the burden of being a "the voice of a generation."

Off the beaten path as it is, Chronicles is nevertheless an astonishing achievement. As revelatory in its own way as Blonde on Blonde or Highway 61 Revisited, it provides ephemeral insights into the mind one of the most significant artistic voices of the 20th century while creating a completely new set of mysteries. --Steven Stolder

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:46 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

"Chronicles: Volume One is Bob Dylan's book exploring critical junctures in his life and career. Through Dylan's eyes and open mind, we see Greenwich Village, circa 1961, when he first arrives in Manhattan. Dylan's New York is a magical city of possibilities - smoky, nightlong parties; literary awakenings; transient loves and unbreakable friendships. Elegiac observations are punctuated by jabs of memories, penetrating and tough. With the book's side trips to New Orleans, Woodstock, Minnesota and points west, Chronicles: Volume One is an intimate and personal recollection of extraordinary times."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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