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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 October, 2004, 16:57 GMT 17:57 UK
Bob Dylan in his own words
Bob Dylan, 1962
Dylan has written about the beginnings of his stardom

Legendary singer Bob Dylan has been revisiting the 1960s for the first time in print. Here are some extracts from his book, Chronicles Volume One.

On his arrival in Manhattan in winter 1961:

At last I was here, in New York City, a city like a web too intricate to understand and wasn't going to try.

I was there to find singers - the ones I'd heard on record, most of all to find Woody Guthrie. New York City, the city that would come to shape my destiny. Modern Gomorrah.

On his early live shows:

What really set me apart in these days was my repertoire. It was more formidable than the rest of the coffee-house players, my template being hard-core folk songs backed by incessantly loud strumming. I'd either drive people away or they'd come in closer to see what it was all about. There was no in-between.

On his growing creativity:

I began cramming my brain with all kinds of deep poems. It seemed like I'd been pulling an empty wagon for a long time and now I was beginning to fill it up and would have to pull harder. I felt like I was coming out of the back pasture. I was changing in other ways, too. Things that used to affect me, didn't affect me any more. I wasn't too concerned about other people, their motives.

Meeting her was like stepping into the tales of 1,0001 Arabian nights, she had a smile that could light up a street full of people
Dylan on girlfriend Suze Rotolo

On his ambitions:

In the world news, Picasso, at 79 years old, had just married his 35-year-old model. Wow. Picasso wasn't just loafing about on crowded sidewalks. Life hadn't flowed past him yet. Picasso had fractured the art world and cracked it wide open. He was revolutionary. I wanted to be like that.

On changing his name from Robert Allen Zimmerman to Bob Dylan:

What I was going to do as soon as I left home was just call myself Robert Allen. As far as I was concerned that was who I was - that's what my parents named me. It sounded like the name of a Scottish king and I liked it...

Then some time later, unexpectedly, I'd seen some poems by Dylan Thomas...People had always called me either Robert or Bobby, but Bobby Dylan sounded too skittish to me... The first time I was asked my name in the Twin Cities, I instinctively and automatically, without thinking, simply said, 'Bob Dylan'.

Bob Dylan, 2004
Now aged 63, Dylan's memoirs have been long awaited

On being labelled a protest singer:

Topical songs weren't protest songs. The term "protest singer" didn't exist any more than the term "singer-songwriter". You were a performer or you weren't, that was about it - a folksinger or not one...

On folk singer Joan Baez, later his partner:

There was no one like her... She seemed very mature, seductive, intense, magical... However illogical it seemed, something told me that she was my counterpart... some strange feeling told me that we would inevitably meet up...There was no one in her class.

On meeting his girlfriend Suze Rotolo:

Cupid's arrow had whistled by my ears before, but this time it hit me in the heart and the weight of it dragged me overboard... Meeting her was like stepping into the tales of 1,001 Arabian nights. She had a smile that could light up a street full of people... a Rodin sculpture come to life.

Dylan receives honorary degree
23 Jun 04 |  Scotland


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