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The Philosophy of Modern Song

The Philosophy of Modern Song

by Bob Dylan
The Philosophy of Modern Song
The Philosophy of Modern Song

The Philosophy of Modern Song

by Bob Dylan

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Notes From Your Bookseller

This is a masterclass on songcraft thoughtfully curated by one of the greatest living songwriters today. With sixty essays that break down songs from his favorite artists, Dylan explores why certain songs are so memorable, making connections across musical genres. With his unique prose and style, Dylan offers as much insight on music as he does reflections on the human condition.

The Philosophy of Modern Song is Bob Dylan’s first book of new writing since 2004’s Chronicles: Volume One—and since winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016.

Dylan, who began working on the book in 2010, offers his extraordinary insight into the nature of popular music. He writes over sixty essays focusing on songs by other artists, spanning from Stephen Foster to Elvis Costello, and in between ranging from Hank Williams to Nina Simone. He analyzes what he calls the trap of easy rhymes, breaks down how the addition of a single syllable can diminish a song, and even explains how bluegrass relates to heavy metal. These essays are written in Dylan’s unique prose. They are mysterious and mercurial, poignant and profound, and often laugh-out-loud funny. And while they are ostensibly about music, they are really meditations and reflections on the human condition. Running throughout the book are nearly 150 carefully curated photos as well as a series of dream-like riffs that, taken together, resemble an epic poem and add to the work’s transcendence.

In 2020, with the release of his outstanding album Rough and Rowdy Ways, Dylan became the first artist to have an album hit the Billboard Top 40 in each decade since the 1960s. The Philosophy of Modern Song contains much of what he has learned about his craft in all those years, and like everything that Dylan does, it is a momentous artistic achievement.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781451648706
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 11/01/2022
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 1,711
Product dimensions: 7.30(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Bob Dylan has released thirty-nine studio albums, which collectively have sold over 125 million copies around the world. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature and has been awarded the French Legion of Honor, a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor. His memoir, Chronicles: Volume One, spent a year on the New York Times bestseller list.

Date of Birth:

May 24, 1941

Place of Birth:

Duluth, MN

Table of Contents

Detroit City 1

Pump It Up 7

Without a Song 11

Take me from this Garden of Evil 15

There Stands the Glass 21

Willy the Wandering Gypsy and Me 25

Tutti Frutti 29

Money Honey 33

My Generation 41

Jesse James 45

Poor Little Fool 49

Pancho and Lefty 55

The Pretender 61

Mack the Knife 65

Whiffenpoof Song 69

You Don't Know Me 71

Ball of Confusion 75

Poison Love 81

Beyond the Sea 85

On the Road Again 91

If You Don't Know me by Now 95

The Little White Cloud that Cried 99

El Paso 105

Nelly was a Lady 113

Cheaper to Keep Her 117

I Got a Woman 123

Cia Man 127

On the Street Where You Live 131

Truckin' 137

Ruby, Are You Mad? 141

Old Violin 147

Volare 153

London Calling 159

Your Cheatin' Heart 163

Blue Bayou 169

Midnight Rider 173

Blue Suede Shoes 177

My Prayer 183

Dirty Life and Times 191

Doesn't Hurt Anymore 195

Key to the Highway 201

Everybody Cryin' Mercy 205

War 211

Big River 217

Feel So Good 219

Blue Moon 225

Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves 231

Keep My Skillet Good and Greasy 237

It's all in the Game 243

A Certain Girl 247

I've Always been Crazy 249

Witchy Woman 253

Big Boss Man 259

Long Tall Sally 263

Old and Only in the Way 265

Black Magic Woman 269

By the Time I Get to Phoenix 277

Come on-a My House 279

Don't take Your Guns to Town 285

Come Rain or Come Shine 289

Don't Let me be Misunderstood 293

Strangers in the Night 301

Viva Las Vegas 305

Saturday Night at the Movies 313

Waist Deep in the Big Muddy 319

Where or When 327

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