Like a Rolling Stone by Greil Marcus

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Greil Marcus saw Bob Dylan for the first time in a New Jersey field in 1963. He didn't know the name of the scruffy singer who had a bit part in a Joan Baez concert, but he knew his performance was unique. So began a dedicated and enduring relationship between America's finest critic of popular music— "simply peerless," in Nick Hornby's words, "not only as a rock writer but as a cultural historian"— and Bob Dylan. In Like A Rolling Stone Marcus locates Dylan's six-minute masterwork in its richest, fullest context, capturing the heady atmosphere of the recording studio in 1965 as musicians and technicians clustered around the mercurial genius from Minnesota, the young Bob Dylan at the height of his powers.

But Marcus shows how, far from being a song only of 1965, "Like a Rolling Stone" is rooted in faraway American places and times, drawing on timeless cultural impulses that make the song as challenging, disruptive, and restless today as it ever was, capable of reinvention by artists as disparate as the comedian Richard Belzer and the Italian hip-hop duo Articolo 31. "Like a Rolling Stone" never loses its essential quality, which is directly to challenge the listener: it remains a call to arms and a demand for a better world. Forty years later it is still revolutionary as will and idea, as an attack and an embrace. How Does it Feel? In this unique, burningly intense book, Marcus tells you, and much more besides.


About Greil Marcus

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Greil Marcus is the author of Mystery Train, Lipstick Traces, Dead Elvis, In the Fascist Bathroom, The Dustbin of History, The Old, Weird America and Double Trouble. He has written for numerous publications, among them the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Threepenny Review, Artforum, Esquire, the Los Angeles Times, Salon, and Granta. In 2000 and 2002 he taught at Berkeley and Princeton, and he currently lectures in the U.S. and Europe. He lives in Berkeley, California.
Published April 4, 2006 by PublicAffairs. 306 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Arts & Photography, Humor & Entertainment, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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During the singer’s stormy world tour of 1966, Marcus says, “Like a Rolling Stone” was thrown into the faces of outraged audiences like a curse, and indeed the present book’s strongest suit is its recounting the thrill of that moment when Dylan’s vision and sense of risk came together in one (and...

Apr 01 2005 | Read Full Review of Like a Rolling Stone

The Guardian

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Like a Rolling Stone by Greil Marcus Public Affairs £10, pp256 Greil Marcus is the undisputed doyen of American music criticism, the first person to consider the American pop song as an arbiter of myth, and to confer on certain songwriters the kind of gravitas more usually accorded novelists and ...

Apr 10 2005 | Read Full Review of Like a Rolling Stone

The Guardian

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Like a Rolling Stone: Bob Dylan at the Crossroads by Greil Marcus 256pp, Faber, £12.99 On the eve of its 40th birthday, "Like a Rolling Stone", Bob Dylan's splendidly splenetic six-minute rock'n'roll hit, sounds fresher than any number of more recent chart successes.

May 28 2005 | Read Full Review of Like a Rolling Stone

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