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Rock 100: Bob Dylan

Lenny Kaye, David Dalton, Cooper Square Books (reissue), 1999

"I SEE THINGS OTHER PEOPLE DON'T," Dylan once said about himself. "I dissolve myself into situations where I am invisible." Dylan's progress has been a serial enigma, his oscillating personality making him the most elusive presence in rock. Each successive phase of his career has given rise not only to a radically different type of music, but what amounts to a new Dylan, as if he consisted of an overlay of images each transparent through the next, fused and connected to each other only by his own mysterious and dynamic current: the earnest singer of dustbowl ballads and protest hymns in work clothes; the flashing rock star with shades, aureole of hair, amphetamines and seething irony; the bearded patriarch, teller of mystic tales; contented country gentleman, and starcrossed troubador of the seventies.

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