Bob Dylan: The Essential Interviews

Bob Dylan--both the pop-culture myth and flesh-and-blood man--emerges as never before in this definitive collection of interviews with the Nobel Laureate.

Edited by Rolling Stone's Jonathan Cott, Bob Dylan: The Essential Interviews covers nearly 50 years of Dylan in dialogue with various journalists and publications. At the start, there is a 1962 interview with radio station WBAI in New York, and at the end a Rolling Stone interview in 2009. In between are memorable encounters with Kurt Loder, Sam Shepard, Jonathan Lethem, Nora Ephron and Cott himself. The materials range from transcripts of conversations to full-on feature stories.

Dylan proves to be consistently fascinating and mercurial. The interviews cover some well-known ground (Dylan's controversial conversion from folk to electric rock music), some myth busting (he emphatically denies taking his name from poet Dylan Thomas) and lesser-known territory (his experience with born-again Christianity and Judaism). Cumulatively, the interviews strip away some of the trappings of fame and reveal a gifted, multidimensional artist who is also painfully human in the way he grapples with identity and beliefs. It's hard not to see the seeds of his acclaimed 1997 album Time Out of Mind early on. "You must be vulnerable to be sensitive to reality," Dylan tells Cott in a 1978 interview. It's in the same interview that Dylan says the highest purpose of art is to inspire: "What else can you do for anyone but inspire them?" --Scott Neuffer, writer, poet, editor of trampset

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