Like a Rolling Stone: Bob Dylan at the Crossroads

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Like a Rolling Stone is the definitive biography of the greatest pop single ever made. Recorded in Columbia's Studio A in New York on 16 June 1965, "Like A Rolling Stone" was instantly of its time-and so strong it has escaped time altogether. Greil Marcus recreates the brilliantly competitive pop world of 1965, and the energy, the anger, the thrill and the horror that Bob Dylan turned into a revolutionary six-minute single. Forty years later the song remains the signal accomplishment of modern music. It drew to ...
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2005 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Glued binding. Paper over boards. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General/trade. hardcover, with new dust jacket, new covers (sharp ... corners, bright spine titles), clean unmarked pages, binding tight as new and unread (clean page edge)....Post Office Delivery Confirmation provided by e-mail to enable you to track your package. Book is shipped in a padded envelope and packaged in bubble wrap. Read more Show Less

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New Ships From Canada. New in new dust jacket. Glued binding. Paper over boards. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General/trade. From Publishers Weekly: Marcus's engaging ... exegesis on the musical and cultural ramifications of Dylan's 1965 six-and-half-minute hit is not just a study of a popular song and a historic era, but an examination of the heroic status of the American visionary artist. Recorded when American popular music was "'"like a running election, "'" Dylan's "'"music of transformations"'" induced a conflicted, confused America to look at its social disasters of racism, drug abuse and Vietnam, Marcus says, while simultaneously permitting it to strip away its illusions and hope for a better future. Ostensibly about a rich young socialite's fall from grace, the song's lyrics are open to many interpretations, which may have helped make it such a phenomenon. Marcus displays a comprehensive knowledge of American popular and political history, tracing the song's roots back to Robert. Read more Show Less

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2005 Hard cover First edition. Illustrated. New in new dust jacket. Glued binding. Paper over boards. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General/trade. From Publishers Weekly: ... Marcus's engaging exegesis on the musical and cultural ramifications of Dylan's 1965 six-and-half-minute hit is not just a study of a popular song and a historic era, but an examination of the heroic status of the American visionary artist. Recorded when American popular music was "like a running election, " Dylan's "music of transformations" induced a conflicted, confused America to look at its social disasters of racism, drug abuse and Vietnam, Marcus says, while simultaneously permitting it to strip away its illusions and hope for a better future. Ostensibly about a rich young socialite's fall from grace, the song's lyrics are open to many interpretations, which may have helped make it such a phenomenon. Marcus displays a comprehensive knowledge of American popular and political history, tracing the song's roots back to Robert Joh Read more Show Less

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Like a Rolling Stone: Bob Dylan at the Crossroads

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Overview

Like a Rolling Stone is the definitive biography of the greatest pop single ever made. Recorded in Columbia's Studio A in New York on 16 June 1965, "Like A Rolling Stone" was instantly of its time-and so strong it has escaped time altogether. Greil Marcus recreates the brilliantly competitive pop world of 1965, and the energy, the anger, the thrill and the horror that Bob Dylan turned into a revolutionary six-minute single. Forty years later the song remains the signal accomplishment of modern music. It drew to itself disparate traditions of American music and speech; it redrew the map of the country itself; it left behind a world that was not the same. The whole adventure is here.
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Editorial Reviews

Los Angeles Times
"No less than Dylan's song, Marcus' book is a performance."
April 10, 2005
Orlando Sentinel
"Marcus approaches his topic with enthusiasm and enough breezy style to make it fan-friendly."
April 24, 2005
San Francisco Chronicle
'Like a Rolling Stone' is Marcus at his companionable best,"
April 22, 2005
The New York Sun
"Worth the time of any reader fascinated... by popular culture."
April 12, 2005
Boston Globe
"Marcus has contributed something of his own blood."
April 17, 2005
Washington Post Book World
"Marcus displays a gift for couching the musical culture in its political era."
April 6, 2005
Associated Press
"Marcus is able to tell the familiar story in such a lively and light way that even the old sounds new again."
April 6, 2005
Alan Light
[Marcus'] description of the pure sonics of ''Like a Rolling Stone'' — a sound so complete and perfectly realized that it ''never plays the same way twice'' — forces you to approach a 40-year-old song with new ears.
— The New York Times
The Age July 31 2005
"The fun is in keeping up with Marcus' runaway trains...The song stands alone. So does the book."
Gambit Weekly July 19
"...an impressionistic history, with less concern for the chronological... events... than critical consideration of the elements of the song..."
Contra Costa Times 7/10/05
"[Marcus'] ability to... describe the combined meaning and effect of a song is what makes his book worth reading..."
Time Out New York 8/4/05
"Greil Marcus's unique command of both literary and musical references makes him unquestionably the best of Dylan's legion of critics."
Publishers Weekly
Marcus's engaging exegesis on the musical and cultural ramifications of Dylan's 1965 six-and-half-minute hit is not just a study of a popular song and a historic era, but an examination of the heroic status of the American visionary artist. Recorded when American popular music was "like a running election," Dylan's "music of transformations" induced a conflicted, confused America to look at its social disasters of racism, drug abuse and Vietnam, Marcus says, while simultaneously permitting it to strip away its illusions and hope for a better future. Ostensibly about a rich young socialite's fall from grace, the song's lyrics are open to many interpretations, which may have helped make it such a phenomenon. Marcus displays a comprehensive knowledge of American popular and political history, tracing the song's roots back to Robert Johnson and Hank Williams and spotting its influence on such disparate artists as Frank Zappa, the Village People and various contestants on American Idol. Part scholarly discourse and part beatnik rambling, the book is chockfull of lively metaphors and includes 20 pages of studio outtake banter. Marcus successfully convinces readers that (in the words of hit songwriter Gerry Goffin), "Dylan managed to do something that not one of us was able to do: put poetry in rock n' roll and just stand up there like a mensch and sing it." Agent, Wendy Weil. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Veteran rock critic and cultural historian takes on Dylan's rock 'n' roll legacy. Marcus last held forth on Bob Dylan in his 1997 work, Invisible Republic (later retitled The Old, Weird America), which put Dylan's 1967 "Basement Tapes" recordings with The Band under the microscope. Here, he tackles Dylan's explosion into rock consciousness and mass culture with the release of the six-minute single "Like a Rolling Stone" in the summer of 1965. It's a cornerstone record in the Dylan canon: it was his highest-charting hit, reaching number two (kept from the top slot by, who else, the Beatles), and providing a staggering demonstration of his imagination and artistic ambition. Marcus calls the song "an event" and relates it to the cultural, social and political ferment of the time. He has always had a rare talent for making exciting and unexpected connections, and he does so here, pulling such diverse artists as R&B singer Clyde McPhatter, reggae stars the Wailers and the punk band the Replacements, among many others, into the mix. (Some digressions, like one about England's Pet Shop Boys, are less convincing.) His retelling of Dylan's move from folk musician to electric prophet is compelling. During the singer's stormy world tour of 1966, Marcus says, "Like a Rolling Stone" was thrown into the faces of outraged audiences like a curse, and indeed the present book's strongest suit is its recounting the thrill of that moment when Dylan's vision and sense of risk came together in one (and only one) perfect take of a song that summed up his time. Unfortunately, as in Invisible Republic, the volume is also weighed down by Marcus's overcooked and contorted attempts to get inside the music. When hegrapples with Highway 61 Revisited, the album that featured "Like a Rolling Stone," things grind to a numbing halt. On the history and reverberations of the music, however, Marcus is near the top of the game. How does it feel? Pretty good, most of the time.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781586482541
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs
  • Publication date: 3/28/2005
  • Pages: 283
  • Product dimensions: 5.68 (w) x 8.54 (h) x 1.12 (d)

Meet the Author

Greil Marcus

Greil Marcus is the author of Mystery Train, Lipstick Traces, Dead Elvis, In the Fascist Bathroom, The Dustbin of History, The Old, Weird America and Double Trouble. He has written for numerous publications, among them the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Threepenny Review, Artforum, Esquire, the Los Angeles Times, Salon, and Granta. In 2000 and 2002 he taught at Berkeley and Princeton, and he currently lectures in the U.S. and Europe. He lives in Berkeley, California.

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Table of Contents

Prologue 1
Part 1
The Day Kennedy Was Shot 13
Top 40 Nation 35
The Man in the Phone Booth 47
Part 2
San Jose Idol 69
Once Upon a Time 87
In the Air 93
Part 3
On the Air 135
Three Stages 153
Democracy in America 165
Swinging London 177
One More Time 185
Epilogue 203
Works Cited 227
Acknowledgments 265
Index 269
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Customer Reviews

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