Once Upon a Time: The Lives of Bob Dylan

Open Road Media
Free sample

The first volume in this “knotty, beguiling, contrary” account of the American music legend “could be the most vital Dylan biography yet” (The Guardian).

Half a century ago, a youth appeared from the American hinterland and began a cultural revolution. The world is still coming to terms with what Bob Dylan accomplished in his artistic explosion upon popular culture.
In Once Upon A Time, award-winning author Ian Bell draws together the tangled strands of the many lives of Bob Dylan in all their contradictory brilliance. For the first time, the laureate of modern America is set in his entire context: musical, historical, literary, political, and personal.
Full of new insights into the legendary singer, his songs, his life, and his era, the artist who invented himself in order to reinvent America is discovered anew. Once Upon A Time is a lively investigation of a mysterious personality that has splintered and reformed, time after time, in a country forever trying to understand itself. Now that mystery is explained. 
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About the author

Born in Edinburgh, Ian Bell is a winner of the George Orwell Prize for political journalism. He is the author of Dreams of Exile, a biography of Robert Louis Stevenson, and is currently a columnist with the London Sunday Herald.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Open Road Media
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Published on
Oct 1, 2013
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Pages
592
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ISBN
9781480447509
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Entertainment & Performing Arts
Biography & Autobiography / Music
Music / Individual Composer & Musician
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Acclaimed music writer Robert Hilburn’s “epic” and “definitive” (Rolling Stone) biography of music icon Paul Simon, written with Simon’s full participation—but without his editorial control—that “reminds us how titanic this musician is” (The Washington Post).

For more than fifty years, Paul Simon has spoken to us in songs about alienation, doubt, resilience, and empathy in ways that have established him as one of the most beloved artists in American pop music history. Songs like “The Sound of Silence,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “Still Crazy After All These Years,” and “Graceland” have moved beyond the sales charts and into our cultural consciousness. But Simon is a deeply private person who has said he will not write an autobiography or talk to biographers. Finally, however, he has opened up for Robert Hilburn—for more than one hundred hours of interviews—in this “brilliant and entertaining portrait of Simon that will likely be the definitive biography” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).

Over the course of three years, Hilburn conducted in-depth interviews with scores of Paul Simon’s friends, family, colleagues, and others—including ex-wives Carrie Fisher and Peggy Harper, who spoke for the first time—and even penetrated the inner circle of Simon’s long-reclusive muse, Kathy Chitty. The result is a deeply human account of the challenges and sacrifices of a life in music at the highest level. In the process, Hilburn documents Simon’s search for artistry and his constant struggle to protect that artistry against distractions—fame, marriage, divorce, drugs, record company interference, rejection, and insecurity—that have derailed so many great pop figures.

“As engaging as a lively American tune” (People), Paul Simon is a “straight-shooting tour de force…that does thorough justice to this American prophet and pop star” (USA TODAY, four out of four stars). “Read it if you like Simon; read it if you want to discover how talent unfolds itself” (Stephen King).
A revealing and intimate biography about Janis Joplin, the Queen of Classic Rock, written by her younger sister.

Janis Joplin blazed across the sixties music scene, electrifying audiences with her staggering voice and the way she seemed to pour her very soul into her music. By the time her life and artistry were cut tragically short by a heroin overdose, Joplin had become the stuff of rock–and–roll legend.

Through the eyes of her family and closest friends , we see Janis as a young girl, already rebelling against injustice, racism, and hypocrisy in society. We follow Janis as she discovers her amazing talents in the Beat hangouts of Venice and North Beach–singing in coffeehouses, shooting speed to enhance her creativity, challenging the norms of straight society. Janis truly came into her own in the fantastic, psychedelic, acid–soaked world of Haight–Asbury. At the height of her fame, Janis's life is a whirlwind of public adoration and hard living. Laura Joplin shows us not only the public Janice who could drink Jim Morrison under the table and bean him with a bottle of booze when he got fresh; she shows us the private Janis, struggling to perfect her art, searching for the balance between love and stardom, battling to overcome her alcohol addiction and heroin use in a world where substance abuse was nearly universal.

At the heart of Love, Janis is an astonishing series of letters by Janis herself that have never been previously published. In them she conveys as no one else could the wild ride from awkward small–town teenager to rock–and–roll queen. Love, Janis is the new life of Janis Joplin we have been waiting for–a celebration of the sixties' joyous experimentation and creativity, and a loving, compassionate examination of one of that era's greatest talents.

<b>No Direction Home</b> took 20 years to complete and has received widespread critical acclaim. Robert Shelton met Bob Dylan when the young singer arrived in New York; he became Dylan's friend, champion, and critic, and his book has been hailed as the <i>definitive</i> unauthorised biography of this moody, passionate genius and his world. Of more than a thousand books published about Bob Dylan, <i>it is the only one that has been written with Dylan's active cooperation</i>.<br/><br/>Shelton witnessed Dylan’s crowning moment at Newport in 1963. He was in the audience for the celebrated Philharmonic Hall concert on Halloween 1964. He was in the Newport crowd when Dylan alienated the folk fraternity with his electric guitar. Dylan gave Sheldon access to his parents, Abe and Beatty Zimmerman – whom no other journalist has ever interviewed in depth; his brother, David; childhood friends from Hibbing; fellow students and friends from Minneapolis; and Suze Rotolo, the muse immortalised on the cover of <i>The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan</i>.<br/><br/>Adorned with rare and revealing images from throughout Dylan’s whirlwind first decade of music, this a unique and honest insight into a man, who, as his sixth decade of music approaches, is ever harder to separate from the myths he has woven.<br/><br/><i>“I can’t be hurt, man, if the book is honest. No kidding, I can’t be hurt. I want you to write an honest book, Bob, I don’t want you to write a bullshit book. Hey, I’m trusting you. The only reason that I am here with you now is that I know that you are the man... I’ll do it with you.”</i> <b>Bob Dylan to Robert Shelton</b>
"Fiction is to grown men what play is to the child," Robert Louis Stevenson once said in a statement that perfectly captures the magic of his own fiction. Immensely popular during is brief life--he died in 1894 at the age of forty-four--he has never lacked for readers since. In the century that followed his death, many biographies have been written, each with its own R.L.S.: the sickly, dreaming child; the Bohemian dandy outraging Victorian Edinburgh; the romantic wanderer leading his donkey through the wilds of the Cevennes; the frail genius doomed to die young. For some, he is the man of action avid for experience, filled with wanderlust; for others, the writer of stories beloved by children and familiar from innumerable film ad television dramas. Still others know him as the essayist whose skills matched William Hazlitt's and the novelist to whom even Henry James deffered. All of these are R.L.S., but none is the full Stevenson.

Now, in this new and acclaimed biography, Ian Bell attempts to see Stevenson whole, to trace the line of descent form the son of Calvinist engineers to the man who ended his days as Tusitala among the Samoan islanders. Understanding that for Stevenson geography mattered, Bell sets out to discover the complete man through the places he lived and the people he lived among as well as through the books that poured from him during his all-too-short literary life. As such, Dreams of Exile is both literary biogrpahy and travel narrative. It follows Stevenson's development as an artist and as a man by following his often chaotic progress from continent to continent, in good health and in bad, in poverty and in wealth. Along the way, it reveals his often tortured relations with his family, his robust sexuality, and the mystery of his stormy marriage to a woman many years his senior.

But perhaps Bell's most important contribution is to rescue R.L.S. from the many conflicting and often romanticized images that have continued to surround him, and in the process to make a telling case for Stevenson's genius as a writer.

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