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Chronicles: Volume One

For other uses, see Chronicles (disambiguation).
Chronicles, Volume One
File:Bob Dylan Chronicles, Volume 1.jpg
Hardcover jacket
Author Bob Dylan
Country United States
Language English
Subject Bob Dylan
Genre Autobiography
Publisher Simon & Schuster
Publication date
October 5, 2004
Media type Print (hardback & paperback)
Pages 304 pp (first edition, hardcover)
ISBN ISBN 0-7432-2815-4 (first edition, hardcover)
OCLC 56634799
782.42164/092 B 22
LC Class ML420.D98 A3 2004

Chronicles, Volume One is the first part of Bob Dylan's planned 3-volume memoir. Published on October 5, 2004, by Simon & Schuster, the 304-page volume covers selected points from Dylan's long career. The book spent 19 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list for hardcover nonfiction books.[1] Chronicles, Volume One was one of five finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award in the Biography/Autobiography category for the 2004 publishing year. The abridged audio version of the book is read by actor Sean Penn. The unabridged version is read by Nick Landrum.

Defying expectations,[2] Dylan wrote three chapters about the year between his arrival in New York City in 1961 and recording his first album, focusing on a brief period of relative obscurity, while virtually ignoring the mid-1960s when his fame was at its height. He also devoted chapters to two lesser-known albums, New Morning (1970) and Oh Mercy (1989), which contained insights into his collaborations with poet Archibald MacLeish and producer Daniel Lanois. In the New Morning chapter, Dylan expresses distaste for the "spokesman of a generation" label bestowed upon him, and evinces disgust with his more fanatical followers. At the end of the book, Dylan describes with great passion the moment when he listened to the Brecht/Weill song "Pirate Jenny", and the moment when he first heard Robert Johnson’s recordings. In these passages, Dylan suggested that the process ignited his own songwriting.

In an interview conducted by Jonathan Lethem, published in Rolling Stone,[3] Dylan said he was very moved by the book's reception. "Most people who write about music, they have no idea what it feels like to play it. But with the book I wrote, I thought, ‘The people who are writing reviews of this book, man, they know what the hell they’re talking about.’ It spoils you … they know more about it than me. The reviews of this book, some of ’em almost made me cry—in a good way. I’d never felt that from a music critic ever."

Simon & Schuster have said that Dylan was expected to have begun working on Chronicles Vol. 2 while on a break from the Never Ending Tour in May 2008.[4] According to the book A Simple Twist of Fate, the sequel may feature a section detailing the making of Blood on the Tracks.[5] In August 2010, a source close to Dylan told Rolling Stone that there were no current plans to publish Chronicles Vol. 2: "I hope there’s another one. That’s all I can say. If it was planned I’d tell you."[6] In September 2012, Dylan told Rolling Stone that he is working on Volume 2.[7]

Although reception to the memoir was generally positive, some observers have argued that Chronicles: Volume One appropriates phrases, anecdotes, and descriptions from numerous authors.[8]


  1. Barton, Laura (2005-09-26). "All you can eat - Arts". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2008-04-01. 
  2. Maslin, Janet (2004-10-05). "So You Thought You Knew Dylan? Hah!". The New York Times. p. 2. Retrieved 2008-09-07. 
  3. "The Modern Times of Bob Dylan: A Legend Comes to Grips With His Iconic Status : RS 1008". 2006-09-07. Retrieved 2008-04-01. 
  4. "News". Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  5. Boudreau, Mark (2008-06-12). "Cover Story Interview – Bob Dylan’s "Blood on the Tracks", with photography by Paul Till". The Rock and Roll Report. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  6. Rolling Stone article: "Dylan's New 'Bootleg' to Feature Unearthed Live Show."
  7. Guardian article: "Bob Dylan working on Chronicles sequel."
  8. Francescani, Chris (18 May 2014). "Bob Dylan’s ‘Da Vinci Code’ Revealed". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 20 May 2014. 

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