The Philosophy Of Modern Song | Hardback | By Bob Dylan

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Code 9781398519411

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Product Information
  • The Philosophy of Modern Song
  • Pages: 352
  • Format: Hardback
  • Author: Bob Dylan
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 01 November 2022
  • Category: Arts and Entertainment, Music
  • Size: 23.2 x 18.7cm
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The Philosophy of Modern Song by Bob Dylan


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.


The acidity, acuity and cynicism in [Dylan’s] writing is to be expected (indeed, welcomed). It is the love, enthusiasm, whimsicality and lightly worn wisdom that delight too. That, and the sheer depth and breadth of his dogged scholarship and restless inquisitiveness’ ? Sunday Times

‘Discursive, unpredictable, but always illuminating. Characteristically Dylan, in fact… It is not just the breadth of Dylan’s musical knowledge on display here, but the depth of his listening. He has an unerring ability to pinpoint what sets a song – or a singer, or a group – apart’ ? Observer

‘Its lavishly and wittily illustrated 350 pages are an excuse for the great man to write with joyful zest, piercing profundity and flamboyant imagination about whatever crosses his mind, offering startlingly and frequently laugh-out-loud riffs on art and life… This book is lightning in a bottle’ ? Daily Telegraph

About the Author

Born Robert Allen Zimmerman in 1941, Bob Dylan is without question one of the most influential figures in the history of popular music. He not only revolutionised popular music by incorporating poetry in his folk and rock compositions, he also helped create a more inclusive and progressive consciousness in American culture.


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