Sunday, August 10, 2014


This is something I never thought I'd say, but here goes:  Poor Bob Dylan.

Dylan came to fame as a song writer and performer in the early 1960s and has been turning out music and art and performing in tours ever since.

His albums have sold more than 100 million copies over the years.  His songs have influenced generations of listeners and performers.  He has a Facebook page with more than 6 million followers on which he posts notices of his appearances, and sometimes playlists, currently from Australia.  Last year he released a memoir, Chronicles: Volume I, that talks about events in his life that have been meaningful to him.  Its title suggests that at least one more volume is to come.

In the main, however, Dylan has guarded his personal privacy.  I am pretty sure that, if asked to talk about himself, he would refuse to do so and refer his legions of fans to his music, lyrics, art and writings.

(FWIW, I saw him once in the San Francisco Airport, striding through with his entourage.   I thought it was pretty cool, but I understood that it would not be a good idea to try to take a selfie with him.)

Still, everyone wants a piece of the guy.  Biographies are released at the rate of at least two each year.

The latest, soon to be released, is based on recorded recollections of Victor Maymudes, who first met Dylan in 1961 or 1962.  Maymudes was, over the years, a promoter and manager for Dylan, who counted him as a friend.  According to an article in Sunday's New York Times, the two parted ways several times, starting in the 1980s.  When Maymudes was broke and then after he was fired after an involvement with a teenage girl, Dylan brought him back into the fold.  The two argued and broke for good in 1997.

In 2000, Maymudes, again broke, made his recordings with the intent of publishing a book and then died soon afterward.  Now his son, Jake, who knew Dylan from childhood and broke with him in the 1990s over Dylan's reaction to a money-losing property development in Santa Monica, has taken up his father's recording in his own quest to capitalize on the association.

The last paragraph of the Times article quotes the new book's author:

           "He was always nice to me," Jake said of the man he grew up thinking of as his father's boss. 
            And except for the Merit cigarettes Jake bummed at age 15, "I never asked anything of him                   either."

Except a financial windfall from sharing private memories.

The book comes out next month.

And, of course, yet another Dylan biography is scheduled for release in October.

I say, leave Bob Dylan alone.

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