Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades Revisited

In 1991 Clinton Heylin published what was considered the most definitive biography of Bob Dylan available. In 2001 he completely revised and reworked this hugely acclaimed book, adding new sections, substantially reworking text, and bringing the story up-to-date with Dylan's explosive career in 2000.

Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades Revisited follows the story of Dylan from his humble beginnings in Minnesota to his arrival in New York in 1961, his subsequent rise in the folk pantheon of Greenwich Village in the early '60s, and his cataclysmic folk-rock metamorphosis at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965. In the succeeding eighteen months, Dylan released Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde, and embarked on the legendary 1966 World Tour that culminated with an unforgettable concert at the Royal Albert Hall. Heylin details it all, along with the true story of Dylan's motorcycle accident, his remarkable reemergence in the mid-'70s, the only exacting account of his controversial conversion to born-again Christianity, the Neverending Tour, and yet another incredible Dylan resurgence with his 1997 Grammy Album of the Year Award-winning Time Out of Mind.

Deemed by The New Yorker as "the most readable and reliable" of all Dylan biographies, this book will give fans what they have always wanted -- a chance to get to know the man behind the shades.

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By Paul (Nottingham, England, The United Kingdom) · ★★★★☆ · May 24, 2011

1. Song to Woody
2. Talkin' New York
3. Talkin’ Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre Blues
4. Man on the Street
5. Sally Gal
6. Hard Times in New York
7. I Was Young when I Left Home

8. Ballad for a Friend
9. Poor Boy Blues
10. Standing on the Highway
11. Ramblin’ Gamblin Willie
12. Talkin’ John Birch Soci... ...more
By Paul (Nottingham, England, The United Kingdom) · ★★★★☆ · April 25, 2011
This is my original review of the first edition of Behind the Shades, which is the best Dylan bio by far. Clinton Heylin updated it in 2001 and has now done so again, in 2011. The new version is almost twice as big as this original edition, so this book is now OBSOLETE. Please get the new edition... ...more
By Tom · ★★★☆☆ · December 19, 2014
After this tome I'm up to here with Bob Dylan. I can hear his music twenty four hours a day on ( and sometimes do) or swim through the sludge that is much of this biography. It's all the same: too much. Heylin has found it necessary to give us practically every playlist from every... ...more
By Rodney (Aurora, CO) · ★★★☆☆ · October 07, 2013
If you are looking for the heart of Bob Dylan, this book is not going to help you get there. This book is not a typical bio, nor is it a rundown of the stories and meanings behind the Man's songs.
What it is is a thoroughly researched chronological record, in narrative form, of Dylan's studio sess... ...more
By Steve (Oshawa, Ontario, Canada) · ★★★★★ · May 30, 2011
Bob Dylan at 70 years old has spawned a whole series of textual tributes, including new editions of old books. This is the best of the lot. It is the third edition of Heylin's book first published twenty years ago, hence the twentieth anniversary edition subtitle. There are 60,000 additional word... ...more
By Steven (Hoboken, NJ) · ★★★★★ · February 19, 2013
The one Bob Dylan bio to read if you're only reading one. Alone among the other authors who have chronicled the life of this seminal musician, Heylin takes advantage of the huge mass of bootleg recordings surrounding Dylan's officially sanctioned album catalog. This gives him an advantage in char... ...more
By Andrew (The United States) · ★★★★☆ · December 11, 2012
It was interesting at times to learn about Bob Dylan's life but I came away from the book concluding that his songs are a LOT more interesting than his life. The strange trajectory that catapulted Dylan to fame was of interest & the story of his conversion of Christianity quite moving to me.... ...more
By Mat · ★★★★☆ · April 13, 2012
This is the most exhaustive biography on Dylan to date.
Before reading this book, I read Down the Highway by Sounes and Chimes of Freedom (now updated in a second edition called Wicked Messenger by Mike Marquesee) and both books were great but this book is really for the avid Bob Dylan fan (like... ...more
By James (Charleston, SC) · ★★★★★ · April 23, 2008
This is a well-written and thoroughly researched book that is fascinating reading for any Dylan fan. Heylin is a fan from way back and concentrates the biography on Dylan's performance art and studio process. Unlike most other biographies, this one doesn't stop at 1966 or 1974. It is the best sou... ...more
By Andrewh (The United Kingdom) · ★★★☆☆ · October 31, 2012
Heylin is a Dylanologist of some renown, having written several books on His Bobness and even started up a Dylan journal, so I had my hagiography-detectors switched to 'on' when I picked this up in a charity shop. Anywho, it is very thorough, and the charting of Dylan's life and music is straight... ...more