Pain, Music and Destiny: Bob Dylan

Monday, January 02, 2012

Some might joke that his vocal chords are indeed much older, but celebrated folk legend Bob Dylan turned 70-years-old last year. Recently audio has surfaced from 1966, in which the singer speaks to a good friend during a flight from Nebraska to Colorado about struggling with addiction and contemplating suicide. It's the latest in a long narrative about a truly singular singer whose mysteries are still being revealed. We take a listen to some of the audio in question, and music that made Dylan a force of musical nature.

Produced by:

Jay Cowit and Posey Gruener

Comments [4]

oh mercy from Asbury Park

This is such a strange piece. I've always enjoyed John Hockenberry but this piece is exactly why Dylan became so elusive- and to some- seemingly cryptic.
The most glaring error here- if I understood correctly is playing the clip about suicide and then saying a man in his 30's- but the clip was from 1966- which would have made him 25. There are other subjective opinions in the piece stated as facts and the clips taken out of context change meanings. Playing a 22 year old sitting in a car exhausted from people tearing away at him for months to claim that he isn't very nice is disingenuous. There are many video clips where he is being generous and those who know him say he is surprisingly sweet and somewhat shy. As for the remark about the deal he made- it is silly (and uncalled for) to bring the devil into it if you know anything about Bob Dylan or have actually heard his lyrics much at all.

I don't find Bob Dylan all that mysterious. If you read what he says- and has said right from the beginning he is pretty clear- which doesn't mean he hasn't contradicted himself or outright lied now and then- but so what? We grow, we change- who hasn't changed their ideas, opinions and the way they look at and experience life over the years? (One would hope) As far as lies go- Dylan was inventing himself... or perhaps growing into himself- how he experienced who he was from the inside. He was trying to develop a show-business persona in the late 50's and early '60's when it still wasn't all that unusual for Stars to have made up their pasts- or rather studios and publicity agents carefully constructed a past for them designed for the public. He was designing his.

Bob Dylan is a very private person. He holds on to his personal life and treats it with care- something to be admired in this insane world of celebrity driven culture. His personal life is private- his, not outs- but everything else is right out there. Read the "essential interviews" book by Cott and it is clear there is a basic consistency in what he says he is doing. Yes, there are contradictions- but this is the trajectory of a whole life, decades of interviews. One would hope he has changed.
Perhaps he speaks in a language that seems foreign to some but he is right out there front and center. As his character says to Jeff Bridges in Masked and Anonymous- "I've always been out."

Jan. 04 2012 02:26 PM
Elroy Huckelberry from Paris, France

They now say Shakespear didn t write all his stuff. That he was an imposter.
There are always going to be those that doubt. We can critisize Dylan for a ton of things.
Bad voice, what he says being invalide, left wing politics, that he stole stuff from others, etc etc...
But in the end we should be grateful that such a force, such a person is here now
between us and still doing it. The effort of doing, what he is still doing is imence.
And what he has given us without rest is incredable. Thank you Bob Dylan for all you have
given us.

Jan. 04 2012 01:10 AM
stephenb from Telluride, CO

The liner notes for The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan were as candid as anything regarding his artistic aspiration:

"I don't carry myself yet the way that Big Joe Williams, Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly and Lightnin'Hopkins have carried themselves. I hope to be able to do it someday."

Jan. 02 2012 11:38 AM
Ed from Larchmont

The greatest singer. Is there anyone else?

Jan. 02 2012 06:07 AM

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