Time Out of Mind: The Lives of Bob Dylan


The second volume in Ian Bell's magisterial two-part biography of the ever-evolving and enigmatic Bob Dylan
By the middle of the 1970s, Bob Dylan’s position as the pre-eminent artist of his generation was assured. The 1975 album Blood on the Tracks seemed to prove, finally, that an uncertain age had found its poet.
Then Dylan faltered. His instincts, formerly unerring, deserted him. in the 1980s, what had once appeared unthinkable came to pass:...

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Time Out of Mind: The Lives of Bob Dylan

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The second volume in Ian Bell's magisterial two-part biography of the ever-evolving and enigmatic Bob Dylan
By the middle of the 1970s, Bob Dylan’s position as the pre-eminent artist of his generation was assured. The 1975 album Blood on the Tracks seemed to prove, finally, that an uncertain age had found its poet.
Then Dylan faltered. His instincts, formerly unerring, deserted him. in the 1980s, what had once appeared unthinkable came to pass: the “voice of a generation” began to sound irrelevant, a tale told to grandchildren.Yet in the autumn of 1997, something remarkable happened. Having failed to release a single new song in seven long years, Dylan put out the equivalent of two albums in a single package. In the concluding volume of his groundbreaking study, Ian Bell explores the unparalleled second act in a quintessentially American career. It is a tale of redemption, of an act of creative will against the odds, and of a writer who refused to fade away.Time Out of Mind is the story of the latest, perhaps the last, of the many Bob Dylans.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This final volume of Bell's two-part biography of Dylan picks up in 1975 with the release of his classic album Blood on the Tracks. Bell uses the divorce that inspired the record as a jumping off point into an exploration of why Dylan "is what he is." What Bell discovers is a man and artist who is constantly reinvents himself and his music. While the author meticulously records Dylan's religious awakening in the late 1970s and his poorly received albums of the '80s (including, as Bell notes, the "piece of crap" he would choose to call Knocked Out Loaded), his rebirth in the late '90s, and his metamorphosis into a "living historical project," Dylan keeps on moving just out of reach. However, by following Dylan's 25-year "unending pilgrimage" of worldwide touring, Bell has penned a fluid biography of a man and musician whose ongoing personal narrative is as intricate and unique as his epic songs. (Oct.)
Reader's Digest

Recommended. A huge treat for fans and a superb introduction for anybody else who's ever wondered what all the fuss is about.

Geoff Dyer - The New York Times Book Review
“I had been gripped by Bell’s first volume, Once Upon a Time, covering the years up to and including “Blood on the Tracks,” the second volume, [and] Time Out of Mind, has the special ‘this is where I came in’ attraction of history one has actually experienced. Bell walks an exemplary line between apostles who insist the young folkie was ablaze with genius from the moment he got to New York and the more skeptical likes for whom he was just another talented hustler on the make.”
Kirkus Reviews
The second volume of the Scottish journalist's massive life of the astonishing performer and songwriter who, though now 73, continues to puzzle, amaze and perturb in equal measure.Few celebrities in any era have held the limelight for so long as Dylan—or endured the indignities of the endless Google searches for the antecedents of his lyrics. Recognizing he has a virtually impossible task, Bell (Once Upon a Time: The Lives of Bob Dylan, 2013, etc.) chooses his focuses carefully. He writes in great detail about Dylan's music, his touring (not all of it—that would be impossible), his evolving multiple selves and his ability to do just about exactly what he wants to all the time. This means that he has been able to make movies (usually bad), have exhibits of his artwork, play anywhere he wants to with whomever he wants (from the Grateful Dead to Paul Simon), say what he wants, have a satellite radio show (which the author praises), fail to show up for awards, sell underwear and present enough contradictory faces to the world to make Janus blush. The author is hard on just about all of Dylan's critics (Greil Marcus, for example), except, of course, himself and novelist Jonathan Lethem, whose Rolling Stone interview with Dylan the author quotes favorably. Bell assails those who accuse Dylan of plagiarism, arguing several times that Dylan may borrow, but he also has to craft it all into art. (He does back off on a set of paintings that Dylan patently copied.) Bell writes little about Dylan's love life and children, saying nothing at all, for example, about son Jakob's double Grammys in 1997. The author excels at rumination, which he does on nearly every page. Bell often succeeds in freezing time, permitting us glimpses of one of the multiple Dylans creating art in one of his multiverses.
Associated Press Staff
“A compelling, focused examination of the latter half of the elusive singer-songwriter's life and career. For Dylan's many obsessive fans, who have been offered a wealth of analyses of this singular artist over the years, Bell delivers the goods. Chapters are heavy with engrossing and sometimes surprising details of Dylan's most potent works and cringe-worthy missteps during this time, all told in the Scottish journalist's sharp-sighted, biting style. Doggedly researched, full of insight and descriptions that wonderfully reveal aspects of this luminary of American music.”
“As both devotee and skeptic, Bell takes nothing about Dylan's life at face value. A thorough account of every step Dylan made toward his eventual comeback. Any Dylan fan looking for something with a bit more bite than the typical breathless celebrity hagiographies will appreciate Time Out of Mind.”
Booklist (starred review)
“Award-winning Bell continues his thoughtful, insightful biography of the enigmatic Mr. Dylan. There is much here to savor. A must for Dylan fans.”
The Spectator
“Ambitious. Bell handles Dylan brilliantly.”
Mail On Sunday
The Financial Times
“Forget F. Scott Fitzgerald’s dictum about there being no second acts in American lives. Time Out Of Mind, part two of Ian Bell’s magisterial biography of Bob Dylan, gives us a third and a fourth and sundry other acts in an ongoing drama. This is the best biography that rock has had.”
The Guardian
“By eschewing scurrilous gossip for a more scholarly consideration of Dylan's place in American culture, Bell has produced an essential addition to the huge body of critical analysis that already exists around this unique individual.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781605986289
  • Publisher: Pegasus
  • Publication date: 10/15/2014
  • Pages: 574
  • Sales rank: 173,192
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 1.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Ian Bell is a past holder of the George Orwell Prize for Political Journalism and the award-winning author of Dreams of Exile, a biography of Robert Louis Stevenson. He is a columnist with the Herald and the Sunday Herald in Edinburgh.

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