Cover image for Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and American song
Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and American song
Smith, Larry David.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Praeger, [2002]

Physical Description:
xxiii, 263 pages ; 25 cm
Preface -- Introduction -- pt. 1. Bob Dylan -- ch. 1. The artist -- ch. 2. The impulse -- ch. 3. The oeuvre -- ch. 4. The exemplars -- pt. 2. Bruce Springsteen -- ch. 5. The artist -- ch. 6. The impulse -- ch. 7. The oeuvre -- ch. 8. The exemplars -- pt. 3. Hammond's folly, revisited -- ch. 9. The auteurs -- References -- Index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML400 .S657 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Exposing the depth of two major artists' philosophies, creative visions, stylistic tendencies, and contributions to their craft, this unprecedented comparative analysis synthesizes biographical material, critical interpretation, and selected exemplars of the writers' work. Smith reinterprets their work in a new and fascinating light, presenting Dylan as a songwriter of enigmatic wordplay and Springsteen as the melodramatic narrator of a specific community's life struggles.

Both songwriters have had unique responses to the celebrity singer/songwriter tradition begun by Woody Guthrie. Smith reveals the power of authorship and the creative drive necessary to negotiate an artistic vision through the complicated mechanisms of the world of commercial art. Both have discovered their own means of traveling this difficult terrain, and Smith probes their lives and work to reveal the myriad ways in which two distinct, equally significant artists have learned from and contributed to an ongoing and important American musical tradition.

Author Notes

Larry David Smith is an independent writer and lecturer specializing in narrative critiques of popular media

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Smith, a writer and lecturer, provides an overview and detailed analysis of the recorded songs of Dylan and Springsteen. The first half of the book covers Dylan's recordings over a 40-year period, as Smith weaves together biographical information, an inspection of scores of songs and their relevance to the musician's ever-changing creative life, and a more theoretical approach to Dylan's complex career. The second half does the same for Springsteen, whose somewhat shorter career reveals a more organized musical development. Although little of the information presented here is new, particularly in light of the numerous Dylan studies, Smith adds a new dimension in his conclusion by comparing and contrasting the two musicians' creative output: "How could two artists be more different? One [Dylan] catches a vibe, rides it, and walks away from it; the other stews over word choice, frames the results according to his master plan, and carefully manages the final product." Although he provides neither notes nor illustrations, the author includes a detailed bibliography. He misses, however, Todd Harvey's important The Formative Dylan (CH, Jun'02). ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Academic collections supporting study of music and pop culture at the upper-division undergraduate level and above; general collections. R. D. Cohen Indiana University Northwest

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xi
Introductionp. xiii
Part 1 Bok Dylanp. 1
Chapter 1 The artistp. 5
Chapter 2 The impulsep. 22
Chapter 3 The oeuvrep. 35
Chapter 4 The exemplarsp. 100
Part 2 Bruce Springsteenp. 121
Chapter 5 The artistp. 124
Chapter 6 The impulsep. 144
Chapter 7 The oeuvrep. 157
Chapter 8 The exemplarsp. 191
Part 3 Hammond's tolly, revisited
Chapter 9 The auteursp. 209
Referencesp. 244
Indexp. 259