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"A hundred-mile-an-hour clip": Bob Dylan and the Beats

Michael Goldberg, 'Kerouac on Record' (Bloomsbury), March 2018

Editor's note: The just-published Kerouac On Record includes many essays about the influence of Jack Kerouac on musicians, including the Grateful Dead, Patti Smith, Tom Waits and Bob Dylan. Former Rolling Stone Senior Writer, Addicted To Noise founder and novelist Michael Goldberg has contributed an essay on how the Beats, and in particular Kerouac, impacted Dylan. In his nearly 12,000-word piece, Goldberg establishes that Dylan was into poetry before he formed his first band, was extremely well-read as a teenager, and at one point wanted City Lights to publish his poems. Dylan's innovative approach to song lyrics came from that interest in poetry, and in particular, in the mid-'60s, Dylan's songs were influenced by the writing of Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and Kerouac. In this excerpt, Goldberg focuses on how Kerouac's 1965 novel Desolation Angels was a specific influence on the songs that appeared on Highway 61 Revisited, including Dylan's masterpiece 'Desolation Row'.




Total word count of piece: 1400