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NLS Minibibliographies

Bob Dylan

November 2016


Bob Dylan was an unexpected choice for the Nobel Prize in Literature 2016, but the award is the capstone in a career of unprecedented honors. In addition to an array of show business awards, Dylan has received a special Pulitzer Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Renowned as a singer and songwriter since the early 1960s, Dylan has sold more than 43 million recordings. His career began as part of the folk music revival, but his repertoire includes a variety of genres, among them protest songs, blues, country, rock, and gospel while accompanying himself on keyboards and the guitar—in both acoustic and electric styles. Dylan is not usually regarded as a literary figure; however, the Nobel Academy chose to recognize him “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”

This minibibliography lists works about Dylan in his own words: his memoir Chronicles and a collection of his lyrics, as well as two anthologies of interviews in which he is featured. Biographies and works by music critics and historians and memoirs by his contemporaries are also listed. 

Both braille and audio titles can be downloaded from the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) website or requested from your local library. Contact your local library to register for BARD. Registered users may also download audio titles on iOS and Android devices using the BARD Mobile app. Braille titles may be downloaded on an iOS device linked by Bluetooth to a refreshable braille display.

By Bob Dylan

by Bob Dylan

First of a three-volume memoir by music legend Bob Dylan. Describes his intellectual development, folk songs and blues he listened to in the 1960s, and the growth of his artistic conscience. Recalls early days in Greenwich Village, transient loves, lasting friendships, and experiences in New Orleans and Woodstock. Bestseller. 2004.

BR 15792

DB 59429

Lyrics, 1962-2001
by Bob Dylan

Compilation of song lyrics from twenty-eight albums by the influential and sometimes cryptic singer-songwriter. Ranges from his first album, Bob Dylan (1962), through 2001’s Love and Theft, with some additional material. 2004.

BR 15916

DB 60150


Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades : A Biography
by Clinton Heylin

In a biography based largely on interviews, Heylin looks at the singer-songwriter's first fifty years, and examines the relationship between Dylan's life and his work. Heylin recounts Dylan's Minnesota childhood, as Robert Allen Zimmerman, his New York years writing protest songs, his 1966 motorcycle accident, his conversion to Christianity, and his use of changing musical styles. 1991.

BR 09734

by Dennis McDougal

Award-winning entertainment journalist deconstructs the life of the iconic folk singer who—despite a dark period in his career—he believes is “the undisputed poet laureate of our time.” He interviewed the musician's family, friends, handlers, and fans about the man born Robert Zimmerman in 1941 northern Minnesota. Strong language. 2014.

DB 79354

On the Road with Bob Dylan
by Larry Sloman

Journalist chronicles his travels with Bob Dylan's 1975 Rolling Thunder Revue. Offers behind-the-scenes glimpses of Dylan, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Robbie Robertson, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Allen Ginsberg, and others, along with anecdotes of Sloman's efforts to be accepted. Revised, with a 2002 introduction by Kinky Friedman. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 1978.

DB 77606

Bob Dylan in America
by Sean Wilentz

Traces the jagged arc of Dylan's career while placing the mercurial artist's music in its wider historical and artistic contexts. Discusses his innovations and influences on his work. Analyzes Dylan's art, distinguishing it from his carefully crafted and continually changing public image. Some strong language. 2010.

DB 72429


The Rolling Stone Interviews
by Joe Levy

Excerpts of interviews spanning four decades of Rolling Stone magazine. Features John Lennon on the Beatles breakup, George Lucas on Star Wars, and discussions with Bono, Kurt Cobain, Ray Charles, Ozzy Osbourne, Eminem, Joni Mitchell, and other musicians, directors, writers, politicians, and pop-culture icons. Strong language. 2007.

DB 67012

And They All Sang: Adventures of an Eclectic Disc Jockey
by Studs Terkel

Pulitzer Prize-winning author offers more than forty interviews of musicians from his post-World War II Chicago radio talk show The Wax Museum. Includes the insights of Marian Anderson, Ravi Shankar, Aaron Copland, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Mahalia Jackson, Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and others. 2005.

BR 16318

Music History

The Soundtrack of My Life
by Clive Davis

Autobiography of Grammy Award-winning music producer Davis (born 1932), who took a job with Columbia Records in 1960 and launched Arista Records in 1974. Highlights the dozens of musicians he worked with, including Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Whitney Houston, Alicia Keys, Rod Stewart, and the Grateful Dead. Bestseller. 2012.

DB 76383

Romancing the Folk: Public Memory & American Roots Music
by Benjamin Filene

Traces the history of the preservation, collection, and production of American roots music. Describes pioneering efforts of John Lomax to record the songs of black men in southern prisons in 1933 and the influences of folk music artists such as Lead Belly, Muddy Waters, and Bob Dylan. 2000.

DB 55093

Positively 4th Street: The Lives and Times of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez Farina, and Richard Farina
by David Hajdu

Based on hundreds of interviews, Hajdu’s work scrutinizes the interpersonal relationships of Joan and Mimi Baez, Bob Dylan, and Richard Farina and shows how the four emerged from the Greenwich Village coffeehouse folk music scene to become influential pop singers of the 1960s. Some strong language. Bestseller. 2001.

DB 52658

Corn Flakes with John Lennon
by Robert Hilburn

Los Angeles Times critic reveals behind-the-scenes anecdotes from his decades of covering music. Mixes details from encounters with Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, U2, and others with analysis of their cultural impact. Introduction by Bono. Some strong language. 2009.

DB 70477

The Dylanologists
by David Kinney

Investigates the world of Bob Dylan aficionados. Examines his own obsession with the singer and how it eventually led him to other fans. Discusses various tributes created to analyze Dylan and his work, including fan zines, blogs, bootlegs of concerts, and more. 2014.

DB 79409

Flowers in the Dustbin: The Rise of Rock and Roll, 1947–1977
by Jim Miller

A chronicle of the major turning points in rock history—from Wynonie Harris’s record Good Rockin’ Tonight in December 1947 to the death of Elvis Presley in August 1977. Discusses the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and many others. 1999.

DB 50791

Listen to This
by Alex Ross

Music critic offers a selection of his articles from the New Yorker. Surveys the musical landscape—classical and pop—and portrays the composers, conductors, string quartets, and rock bands responsible for shaping it, including Bob Dylan, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, and Johannes Brahms. 2010.

DB 73755

The Mayor of MacDougal Street
by Dave Van Ronk

Autobiography of musician Dave Van Ronk (1936-2002), who became a fixture in the Greenwich Village folk and jazz music milieu in the 1950s and 1960s. Reminisces about the nightclub scene, Washington Square hootenannies, leftist politics, and Van Ronk’s contemporaries, including the young Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell. Strong language. 2005.

DB 74520

Dylan Goes Electric!
by Elijah Wald

An account of Bob Dylan's electric performance at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival. The author places the show in the broader context of the changes occurring in folk music at the time. He also details the festival through interviews with attendees and other performers. Some strong language. 2015.

DB 83177

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Posted on 2016-11-30