A great summer read too!
Talkin' New York 3. Talkin Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre Blues 4. Man on the Street 5. Hard Times in New York 7. Ballad for a Friend 9. Poor Boy Blues 10. Standing on the Highway 11. Talkin John Birch Society Blues 13. Bob Dylan's Blues 24. Tomorrow is a Long Time 25. Aint Gonna Grieve 26. Long Ago Far Away 27. Long Time Gone 28. A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall 29. Hero Blues 43. Bob Dylan's Dream 48. Bob Dylans New Orleans Rag 53. Who Killed Davey Moore? Talkin' World War III Blues 58. North Country Blues 61. Troubled and I Dont Know Why 62. Mr. Tambourine Man 72. It Ain't Me Babe 76. Mama You Been on my Mind 78. Black Crow Blues 80. Farewell Angelina 89. Love is Just a Four Letter Word 1965 90. Subterranean Homesick Blues 91. Outlaw Blues 93. It's All Over Now, Baby Blue 96. Bob Dylan's l l5th Dream 97. Tombstone Blues 103. Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues 109. Ballad of a Thin Man 111. I Wanna be your Lover 114. Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again 123. Just Like a Woman 125. Most Likely You Go Your Way and I'll Go Mine 127. Don't Ya Tell Henry 144. You Ain't Goin' Nowhere 151. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight 175. Wanted Man 1970 185. Living the Blues 186. New Morning 194. Knockin' on Heaven's Door 206. On a Night Like This 213. Tangled Up in Blue 218. Call Letter Blues 222. You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go 225. Abandoned Love 232. Seven Days 1978 242. No Time to Think 246. True Love Tends to Forget 248. Coming From the Heart 250. Slow Train 254. Ye Shall be Changed 258. Trouble in Mind 259. Aint No Man Righteous 261. Gonna Change My Way of Thinking 262. Aint Gonna Go to Hell for Anybody 275. Shot of Love 282. Watered-Down Love 290. When the Night Comes Falling from the Sky 317. Never Gonna be the Same Again 318. Had a Dream About you baby 325. God Knows 333. Most of the Time 339. Most of the Time 339. TV Talkin' Song 340. Man in a Long Black Coat 1990 343. She's my Baby 351. Dirt Road Blues 357. Red River Shore 365. Make you Feel my Love 369. Till I Fell in Love with You 370. Love Sick 1999 371. Lonesome Day Blues 376. Someday Baby 391. Workingmans Blues # 2 392. The Levees Gonna Break 395. My Wifes Home Town 401.
This is my original review of the first edition of Behind the Shades, which is the best Dylan bio by far. The new version is almost twice as big as this original edition, so this book is now OBSOLETE. *** By the time this bio was published Clinton Heylin had probably offended every hard-core Dylan fan in both hemispheres with his disgraceful sneering heavyhanded blatantly rude putdowns of any comment or theory which didn't agree completely with his own perfectly worked-out interpretations based on the most thorough possible research. Given the above, I award 4 stars to this bio, and its updated version. Four stars because finally Dylan gets a bio which acknowledges that there was life after the 1960s and not only life, significant, brilliant work too (interspersed with disastrous mistakes like Renaldo and Clara, Empire Burlesque, the released version of Infidels, the drunk appearance on Live Aid, and so on).
This is all too much, set lists stacked like cases of tinned peaches, page-long screeds against the effrontery of other biographers: oh, the audacity -- one images an empurpled Heylin clenching his fists at the shelves of Dylan Studies. I don't care about his cavorting or his Jesus Time.
It is the third edition of Heylin's book first published twenty years ago, hence the twentieth anniversary edition subtitle.
This is Heylin's 700-page rock-critic review of Dylan's work, rather than the insightful life history of an artist I wanted it to be. I also wanted to see Dylan as a man off the stage and found that perspective missing, however small it might be in his make-up.
It's a massively researched book - obsessive almost - and like all well researched books on major cultural figures ends up pulling in a lot of history of the times and settings as well.
Clinton Heylin, a thorough and well-versed Dylanologist, capable of bringing Bob to book while praising the high points (and some more surprising unsung moments too) is a pugnacious and rather mean-spirited biographer, more intent on attacking his peers than enthralling his readership. When I read the first edition of Behind The Shades it was a shock for me to realise that Dylan had been making those 1980s albums with a straight face, believing that they were good work. This edition ends with Dylan having just unleashed his Christmas album in 2009, a rather postmodern turn that got everyone chuckling and going off to give it a single spin. Since then we've had the rather humdrum Tempest (2012), the surprising - astonishing, even - Bootleg Series revival of Self Portrait (2013) and also the stretching to breaking point completism of The Basement Tapes (2014), then the again rather-bizarre standard-crooning album Shadows in the Night, wherein Bob channels Ol' Blue Eyes. Dylan, still rolling on the gasoline fumes from the new take on Self Portrait (which miraculously neutralises one of the more unsightly pimples on the face of his career) and the general goodwill his new albums seem to get for the gravitas of his deepening voice and his tasteful arrangements, is again coasting and unsure where he can take his new stuff.
Looking at the thickness of it, I really don't know how all of those pages are filled and am damn sure about 300 of them are totally unnecessary, unless you are as obsessed with Dylan as Heylin is, yet don't seem to get the personal side of Dylan's work - again, much as Heylin doesn't seem to.
I enjoy reading biographies of my perceived hero's but I'm frequently disenchanted to discover that behind their fame (or "shades" as in Dylan's case) stands an average human being just like the rest of us with their foibles, problems and self doubt.