Bob Dylan’s Complete Lyrics: The Must-Have Book for Dylan Fans

Dylan lyricsIf you’re a Bob Dylan fan, you certainly appreciate the poetry of his lyrics. In hundreds of songs, Dylan has told tales in his own unique way. There have been collections of his lyrics in the past, but a massive new book, due out in a few weeks, will collect all the lyrics to his songs, including some never released, in an annotated edition. This book, the size of LP covers, will feature Dylan’s lyrics, album covers, notes and annotations to the many hundreds of Dylan songs.(Amazon.com, Amazon UK)

A book like this seems like an end-of-career milestone. Is Dylan planning to hang up the guitar and end his never-ending tour? Perhaps. But if you like Bob Dylan, you will want to have this book. And you’d better act quickly; there are only 3,500 copies of this book being printed, so I have a feeling it will be sold out fast. (While not specifically a limited edition – it’s not numbered – the publisher has said that there was a limit to the number of copies they’re printing; it’s not clear if there will be reprints. I read that there are 500 copies for the UK, and it’s interesting that the UK edition has a different ISBN.)

There’s also a $5,000 edition, which is probably sold out by now: only 50 copies, signed by Bob.

6 thoughts on “Bob Dylan’s Complete Lyrics: The Must-Have Book for Dylan Fans

  1. “If you’re a Bob Dylan fan, you certainly appreciate the poetry of his lyrics.”

    To head straight to the semantics, this is an old debate, and one which has been pretty firmly settled against the use of “poetry” in this context.

    I love Bob Dylan’s music. (Well, mainly his “early, funny ones”, to steal a quote; my interest slackens after the mid-70’s.) I own many, many of his albums. I can sing many of his songs in my head in their entirety.

    But his lyrics are not “poetry”. They are “lyrics” set to music. Poetry is words originally meant to be standing alone.

    (One can certainly use a different, slightly more obscure definition of the word, to refer to Dylan songs as “poetry”. And I’d be fully on board with that usage. I indeed appreciate the poetry of his songs. But the word doesn’t really work at any level just for “lyrics”, no matter how poetry-like the lyrics may seem.)

    In short, music lyrics are music lyrics and poetry is poetry, and never the twain shall meet.

    —–

    “But if you like Bob Dylan, you will want to have this book.”

    Meh. Again, I love Bob Dylan, and in a pre-internet age where lyrics were very hard to come by, I’d have been at least somewhat interested in a normally-priced book of this sort. But today? Where lyrics are avaiable with a few keystrokes? I wouldn’t be interested in this book today at $19.95, let alone in this kind of edition meant strictly as collector’s memorabilia.

  2. “If you’re a Bob Dylan fan, you certainly appreciate the poetry of his lyrics.”

    To head straight to the semantics, this is an old debate, and one which has been pretty firmly settled against the use of “poetry” in this context.

    I love Bob Dylan’s music. (Well, mainly his “early, funny ones”, to steal a quote; my interest slackens after the mid-70’s.) I own many, many of his albums. I can sing many of his songs in my head in their entirety.

    But his lyrics are not “poetry”. They are “lyrics” set to music. Poetry is words originally meant to be standing alone.

    (One can certainly use a different, slightly more obscure definition of the word, to refer to Dylan songs as “poetry”. And I’d be fully on board with that usage. I indeed appreciate the poetry of his songs. But the word doesn’t really work at any level just for “lyrics”, no matter how poetry-like the lyrics may seem.)

    In short, music lyrics are music lyrics and poetry is poetry, and never the twain shall meet.

    —–

    “But if you like Bob Dylan, you will want to have this book.”

    Meh. Again, I love Bob Dylan, and in a pre-internet age where lyrics were very hard to come by, I’d have been at least somewhat interested in a normally-priced book of this sort. But today? Where lyrics are avaiable with a few keystrokes? I wouldn’t be interested in this book today at $19.95, let alone in this kind of edition meant strictly as collector’s memorabilia.

  3. A bit related (it’s another book, and a lot more aggressively priced), I’d heard an interview on Tom Ashbrook’s ‘OnPoint’ with author Jacob Maymudes about his book on the life and music of Bob Dylan, “Another Side of Bob Dylan.”

    It’s about his father’s relationship with the artist (sidekick, protector, tour manager, chauffeur and chess-playing companion) which spanned decades.

    The New York Times’ review of it, “A Dylan Insider’s Back Pages” is here: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/10/books/a-dylan-insiders-back-pages.html

    Rolling Stone’s is here: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/6-things-we-learned-from-the-new-bob-dylan-tell-all-20140909

  4. A bit related (it’s another book, and a lot more aggressively priced), I’d heard an interview on Tom Ashbrook’s ‘OnPoint’ with author Jacob Maymudes about his book on the life and music of Bob Dylan, “Another Side of Bob Dylan.”

    It’s about his father’s relationship with the artist (sidekick, protector, tour manager, chauffeur and chess-playing companion) which spanned decades.

    The New York Times’ review of it, “A Dylan Insider’s Back Pages” is here: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/10/books/a-dylan-insiders-back-pages.html

    Rolling Stone’s is here: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/6-things-we-learned-from-the-new-bob-dylan-tell-all-20140909

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