Hard Rain: A Dylan Commentary by Tim Riley

By Tim Riley

Ranging over 30 years of Bob Dylan recordings, motion pictures, and concert events, this up-to-date variation encompasses a new epilogue that examines his thirtieth anniversary social gathering and his 1998 Grammy Award comeback.

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Literary Awards
Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction Nominee for Longlist (2010)

Extra resources for Hard Rain: A Dylan Commentary

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The oral history format has the great advantage of eliminating The Rock Writer. The Rock Writer writing about punk generally has one aim: to arrogate intellectual ownership of something he or she knows absolutely nothing about. That bullet is dodged here. The stories that follow are the real thing. Jack and Silke painstakingly sought out and interviewed countless people over the course of two years of nearly full-time effort. Their incredible gift, both in terms of a unique skill and in terms of what they are passing on to us, is that they found people who have a lot to say but haven’t said it yet in quite the way they do now.

They went on, and they performed as if there were 1,000 people. Right away, we looked at each other, and we loved them. Merle Kessler: Duck’s Breath Mystery Theater opened for them. Nobody was paying attention. There was a drag queen on Quaaludes during the break, who stumbled around trying to get backstage. Except there wasn’t a backstage, just a curtain covering a brick wall. But she kept trying different places, with a big smile on her face. Moving the curtain aside, walking into the wall. Joey introduced one song: “After seeing Duck’s Breath Mystery Theater .

I cut my hair really badly and I lied to my mom, said I got glue on it from a poster. She took me to Macy’s and I met one of my first hairdressers. For some reason, I said I want to look like Liberace. I got it dyed silver, a little bouffant, I don’t know. Tim Tonooka: In the summer of 1976 I ended up in Berkeley. Me and my friends would hang out on Telegraph and listen to portable radios. One of my friends was a crazy guy on SSI who’d pour glue in a paper bag and huff the fumes. He really got into the Ramones—ironic, considering their songs about sniffing glue.

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