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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

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Like a Rolling Stone dead in the water

“How does it feel?” sings Bob Dylan in his 1965 chart topping single, “Like A Rolling Stone,” from the groundbreaking album, Highway 61 Revisited. ?Like A Rolling Stone? was voted best song of all time by Rolling Stone magazine in 2004. The song has become famous over the years for its caustic lyrics and venomous delivery.

All Greil Marcus, music historian and author of The Manchurian Candidate, asks readers in his new book, Like A Rolling Stone: Bob Dylan at The Crossroads, is to swallow his own heap of indigestible garbage. This comes in stark contrast to what Dylan wants the listener to do in his song. Marcus? words are dull and inadequate while the songs themselves keep the listener coming back for more.

Biased or not, I believe that Dylan?s words are a joy to swallow. However Marcus? depiction of Dylan is a misinterpretation of what Dylan intended, and leaves the reader pleading for the end.

Marcus seems to go through 100 pages of his novel writing run-on sentences and sentence fragments which are disjointed and verbose. The book starts out with admirable intentions, on the first day of recording sessions in the studio, but slowly the book veers from its intended path.

Like A Rolling Stone takes the reader on a journey that the reader didn’t pay for and never intended to embark on. Instead of sticking with details of the song and being objective, Marcus gives a presentation of the cultural landscape of the 1960s and Sam Cooke, a soul singer made famous by his song “A Change Is Gonna Come.” Marcus is a writer of insignificant blabber. He twists the song?s intended message and uses it as a channel to support his own erroneous points.

As a Bob Dylan fan, I had very high expectations for the book. While the comic on the inside cover jacket peaked my interest, I was let down by what its pages held. As I read I seemed to have no sense of where the author was going with the novel or what he was trying to communicate to his readers.

Like A Rolling Stone does have its high points. For instance the author includes the legendary 1966 concert in which a fan shouts “Judas!” to Dylan, referring to the musician?s abrupt change from working class folk hero to electric Carnaby Street mod. The epilogue is also intriguing as it goes over each take of the song during the recording sessions.

This book is not worth the $25 I paid for it. If you are looking for a good Dylan read, I would recommend Chronicles or Tarantula, both written by Dylan himself. Any of these books mentioned can be purchased at your local Borders or Barnes and Noble bookstores. Like A Rolling Stone: Bob Dylan at The Crossroads can also be purchased online at www.amazon.com.

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