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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 October, 2004, 08:58 GMT 09:58 UK
Dylan's anger over fan intrusions
Bob Dylan, Newport Folk Festival 2002
Dylan writes of his disquiet at being labelled the voice of a generation
Singer Bob Dylan has revealed in his memoirs his anger at fans' invasion of his family's privacy at the height of his fame in the 1960s.

In his book Chronicles, published on Tuesday, Dylan writes that he "wanted to set fire" to groups who made their way to his home in Woodstock, New York.

Dylan also says how seeing singer Joan Baez on TV made him "high", but gives no details of their relationship.

The book provides Dylan's first lengthy account of his time as a rock icon.

Although it offers a rare first-hand insight into the reclusive singer's life, many fans may be disappointed with its lack of explosive insights.

Bob Dylan, 1965

There is no assessment of his switch from acoustic folk to an electric rock sound - one of the most fabled events in the history of rock.

And his near-fatal motorbike crash in 1966 gets only a cursory mention: "I had been in a motorcycle accident and I'd been hurt, but I recovered," he writes.

The 293-page book - the first part of a planned three- volume set - is unlike most autobiographies in structure.

It is not indexed, and instead of a chronology it offers snatches of a life filled with anecdotes about popular figures, from the boxer Joe Dempsey to U2 singer Bono.

Joan Baez, 1960s
I couldn't stop looking at her, didn't want to blink
Dylan on Joan Baez
Split into five chapters, it deals with his early adult days in Minnesota and New York City, and the making of two later albums, New Morning and Oh Mercy.

Talking about New York's Greenwich Village folk scene of the early 1960s, he writes: "America was changing. I had a feeling of destiny and I was riding the changes.

"It wasn't that I was anti-popular culture or anything and I had no ambitions to stir things up. I just thought of mainstream culture as lame... and a big trick."

He recalls being awarded an honorary degree by Princeton University and being introduced to the student body as "the disturbed conscience of Young America".

"It was like a jolt," he writes. "The disturbed conscience of Young America. There it was again. I couldn't believe it. Tricked once more... I was so mad I wanted to bite myself."

Bob Dylan, 1962
Dylan has written about the beginnings of his stardom
Recalling how hordes of fans would make the pilgrimage to his family home in Woodstock, he writes: "Roadmaps to our homestead must have been posted in all 50 states for gangs of drop-outs and druggies. I wanted to set fire to these people."

Seeing Joan Baez - later to become his partner - perform on a CBS TV broadcast before they had met, he says: "I couldn't stop looking at her, didn't want to blink.

"She was wicked looking - shiny black hair that hung down over the curve of slender hips, drooping lashes, partly raised. The sight of her made me high."

And of his first encounter with the music of his musical hero, US folk singer Woody Guthrie, he says: "It made me want to gasp. It was like the land parted.

"It was like the record player itself had just picked me up and flung me across the room."

But his most tender words are saved for his girlfriend Suze Rotolo, who is pictured arm-in-arm with him on the cover of his 1963 album The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan:

"Right from the start I couldn't take my eyes off her. She was the most erotic thing I'd ever seen.

"She was fair-skinned and golden-haired, full-blood Italian. The air was suddenly filled with banana leaves. We started talking and my head started to spin."

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