Typed transcript of Bob Dylan's interview with Tony Glover on March 22, 1971, 37 pages, 8.5 x 11, extensively annotated in blue felt tip by Dylan: on 36 pages, Dylan strikes through passages and pens new thoughts as he revises his own story. The upper right corner is annotated in felt tip by Tony Glover, "BD, D - Corrected, 1st Correction." Also includes an original, uncorrected copy of the transcript.
Among the numerous topics discussed here are critical assessments of his craft—about which he writes, "My work is a moving thing"—early musical influences while growing up in Hibbing, his identity, meeting Woody Guthrie in 1961, the recording of his first albums with producer John Hammond, writing 'Blowing in the Wind' and 'A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall,' coverage in the media, the Ali-Frazier fight, walking on the moon, drugs, 'going electric' at Newport in 1965, his motorcycle accident, and his influence on popular music.
After playfully reflecting on changing his name from Robert Zimmerman to Bob Dylan—"I mean it wouldn't've worked if I'd changed the name to Bob Levy. Or Bob Neuwirth. Or Bob Doughnut. It wouldn't of worked"—he discusses his Jewish identity in a handwritten passage, striking through some more controversial remarks and writing: "A lot of people are under the impression that Jews are just money lenders and merchants. A lot of people think that all Jews are like that. Well they used to be cause that's all that was open to them. That's all they were allowed to do."
Commenting about his role as a so-called 'leader,' Dylan strikes through several lines and modifies the narrative: "I've always sang in front of people—that role of 'leader' has been thrust on me and the Be[a]tles & Stones by the mass media—who've done it for manipulation of other people...they told all those people I was a leader—those people never heard it from me." He goes on to strike through even more text on the subject, writing "It's not real" in the margin.
Dylan's sense of humor comes through in several of his corrections: explaining the difficulty of finding your own community in America's cultural 'melting pot,' he lists various nationalities that have to get along, and adds in the margin: "English, even Swiss, Japaneze, & French and people from Brooklyn." Asked if it bothers him that there'll soon be hot dog stands on the moon, Dylan says it bothers him that they're spending so much money on it, then writes: "and I don't like hot dogs."
Talking about 'going electric' at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, Dylan modifies the transcript to read: "Yeah, it was a strange night. So I went back on solo and sang Mr. Tambourine Man and Baby Blue—because that's what the crowd wanted to hear. They were just like little babies, they wanted to hear that, and thats all they wanted to hear—so I went and sang it for them. It was the easy thing to do—I just thought 'oh forget it, do it and get out of there.'" Among the noteworthy deletions in this passage is a denigrating remark about the crowd: "At that time I just knew they were a bunch of fucks."
Returning to the subject of influence, the public, and the media, Dylan reflects: "Things had tooken me for a loop—people were coming to the door all the time, they thought I was a Hindu or a sage with an answer to their problems." In fine condition.
When compared to the original transcript accompanying this lot, the way in which Dylan aimed to shape his narrative becomes clearer: in many cases, the deletions are more telling than the additions. Struck through are passages about critics and the media, drug use amongst children, and various other quips and comments. A remarkable piece of popular music history, in which Dylan revises his own narrative—performing the act of self-transformation that came to characterize his career.
From the Tony Glover Collection.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.