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Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited - 33 1/3 series

Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited - 33 1/3 series
Your Price: $12.95 CDN
Author: Mark Polizzotti
Publisher: Continuum
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 101
Pub. Date: 2008
ISBN-10: 0826417752
ISBN-13: 9780826417756

About the Book:

By turns obsessive, passionate, creative, and informed, the 33 1/3 series explores critically acclaimed and much-loved albums by famous recording artists.

Highway 61 Revisited resonates because of its enduring emotional appeal. Few songwriters before Bob Dylan or since have combined so effectively the intensely personal with the spectacularly universal. In "Like a Rolling Stone," his gleeful excoriation of Miss Lonely (Edie Sedgwick? Joan Baez? a composite "type"?) fuses with the evocation of a hip new zeitgeist to produce a veritable anthem. In "Ballad of a Thin Man," the younger generation's confusion is thrown back in the Establishment's face, even as Dylan vents his disgust with the critics who laboured to catalogue him. And in "Desolation Row," he reaches the zenith of his own brand of surrealist paranoia, that here attains the atmospheric intensity of a full-fledged nightmare. Between its many flourishes of gallows humour, this is one of the most immaculately frightful songs ever recorded, with its relentless imagery of communal executions, its parade of fallen giants and triumphant local losers, its epic length and even the mournful sweetness of Bloomfield's flamenco-inspired fills.

In this volume, Mark Polizzotti examines just what makes the songs on Highway 61 Revisited so affecting, how they work together as a suite, and how lyrics, melody, and arrangements combine to create an unusually potent mix. He blends musical and literary analysis of the songs themselves, biography (where appropriate) and recording information (where helpful). And he focuses on Bob Dylan's mythic presence in the mid-60s, when he emerged from his proletarian incarnation to become the American Rimbaud. The comparison has been made by others, including Dylan, and it illuminates much about his mid-sixties career, for in many respects Highway 61 is rock 'n' roll's answer to A Season in Hell.

What people say:

"As one of the greatest albums in the history of recorded music, a turning point that forever grafted the depth and integrity of folk music into the flourishing tree of rock and roll, Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited has long deserved the kind of focused treatment that Mark Polizzotti gives it with his examination for the always excellent 33 1/3 series … The sheer volume of annotated quotes and behind the scenes revelations that Polizzoti has dug up is mind numbing, but the material flows together well, and the studious nature of the examination is never less than enlightening. It's an essential read for anyone who wants to engage the mythology behind the man and the album." — Under the Radar

"Polizzotti's illuminating new analysis of Dylan's landmark 1965 album … speculates on the genesis of the songs, examines their lyrical content and, more prosaically, outlines the recording process. With considerable insight, he places the great album in the context of what was happening in Dylan's world in the mid-1960s. This might seem like an oft-ploughed furrow but, armed with a formidable intellect, Polizzotti makes some telling original observations. He writes with intelligence and flair. And his text has a depth which would fully engage you over several slow, careful reads." — Dylan Daily

"Polizzotti's key contribution is to return our attention to the music, to remind us that however much we scrutinize the lyrics, Dylan's musical contribution is just as important … [He] leads us into the studio, reviews the recording sessions, and analyzes the various takes. In doing so, he shows how a song develops musically — much like looking at early drafts of a novel. Studied in this way, our understanding of each song is enriched." — American Quarterly

About the Author:

Mark Polizzotti is Publisher and Editor in Chief at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in Boston, where he will oversee all aspects of the Museum's scholarly publishing program. He is the author of six books, and the translator of more than 30 books including works by Gustave Flaubert, Marguerite Duras, Jean Echenoz, and Maurice Roche.