Bob Dylan Highway 61 Revisited, Paperback

Bob Dylan Highway 61 Revisited Paperback

Part of the 33 1/3 series

2 out of 5 (1 rating)


"Highway 61 Revisited" resonates because of its enduring emotional appeal.

Few songwriters before Dylan or since have combined so effectively the intensely personal with the spectacularly universal.

In "Like a Rolling Stone", his gleeful excoriation of Miss Lonely (Edie Sedgwick?

Joan Baez? A composite "type"?) fuses with the evocation of a hip new zeitgeist to produce a veritable anthem.

In "Ballad of a Thin Man", the younger generation's confusion is thrown back in the establishment's face, even as Dylan vents his disgust with the critics who laboured to catalogue him. And in "Desolation Row", he reaches the zenith of his own brand of surrealist paranoia, that here attains the atmospheric intensity of a full-fledged nightmare.

Between its many flourishes of gallows humour, this is one of the most immaculately frightful songs ever recorded, with its relentless imagery of communal executions, its parade of fallen giants and triumphant local losers, its epic length and even the mournful sweetness of Bloomfield's flamenco-inspired fills. In this book, Mark Polizzotti examines just what makes the songs on "Highway 61 Revisited" so affecting, how they work together as a suite, and how lyrics, melody, and arrangements combine to create an unusually potent mix.

He blends musical and literary analysis of the songs themselves, biography (where appropriate) and recording information (where helpful). And he focuses on Dylan's mythic presence in the mid-60s, when he emerged from his proletarian incarnation to become the American Rimbaud.

The comparison has been made by others, including Dylan, and it illuminates much about his mid-sixties career, for in many respects "Highway 61" is rock 'n' roll's answer to "A Season in Hell".


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Rock & Pop music
  • ISBN: 9780826417756



Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops


Showing 1 - 1 of 1 reviews.

Review by

While this is the best of the 33 1/3 books about famous musicians and one of their distinguishing albums it is still a bore. The are a few highlights of trivia about Dylan but otherwise a lot of guessing. Honestly, how many times can you play semantic mind farts about what your interpretation is over the lyrics, album cover, and the artist's mood. 168 pages that would have been better reduced to 16 at best.

Also by Mark Polizzotti   |  View all