Monday, June 17, 2024

Bob Dylan Collection of Essays on Modern Songs: Who He Will Include or Exclude Could Be An Issue


Bob Dylan has something to say about his favorite songs.

He’s publishing a collection of around 60 essays reviewing them, from songwriters like Nina Simone, Elvis Costello, Australian rockabilly singer Alis Lesley, Eddie Cochran, Stephen Foster, and probably Little Richard.

Dylan’s favorite song writers include Peter Seeger, Hank Williams, Woody Guthrie, and George Harrison, so most of them are probably included. I would guess John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, and Paul Simon, as well.

Simon & Schuster will publish “The Philosophy of Modern Song” in November. It’s Dylan’s first book in 18 years. Apparently that’s when “Chronicles, Vol 1.” came out. It feels like yesterday.

An audiobook will be available, with Dylan reading some portions and “a mix of other voices” doing the narration on others.

According a press release, the book will constitute “a master class on the art and craft of songwriting,” as Dylan “analyzes what he calls the trap of easy rhymes, breaks down how the addition of a single syllable can diminish a song, and even explains how bluegrass relates to heavy metal.” The announcement further declares that while the essays “are ostensibly about music, they are really meditations and reflections on the human condition.”

I’m betting now that a lot of top songwriters will be hoping Dylan has included them in the book, and the ones who don’t appear will feel slighted. This should be interesting. Knowing Dylan, he’ll leave out someone like Carole King but include Metallica’s “Enter the Sandman.” Just watch.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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