With the imminent release in September of a 50-CD boxed set of Dylan’s entire official set of albums — for which Clinton Heylin has been commissioned to write the notes — what better time to argue the case for Dylan’s canon to be considered in the same breath as the Bard’s? Clinton Heylin’s talk will not only look at the similar ways in which Dylan and Shakspear (sic) revolutionized their respective performing media, but also at their concomitant disregard for artifactal presentations of that work.
Clinton Heylin, born 1960 in Manchester, has written extensively about popular music and the work of Bob Dylan. Heylin attended Manchester Grammar School. He read History at Bedford College, University of London, and obtained an M.A. in History at the University of Sussex.
Heylin is the author of a number of books on the life and work of Bob Dylan, combining interviews with discographical research. He has published a full-length biography, Dylan: Behind the Shades (1991), which was republished in a revised second edition: Bob Dylan: Behind The Shades ― Take Two (U.K. edition, 2000), Bob Dylan: Behind The Shades Revisited (U.S. edition, 2001).
Heylin published a detailed analysis of every song by Dylan in two volumes: Revolution In The Air: The Songs of Bob Dylan: Vol. 1: 1957-73 (2009), and Still On The Road: The Songs of Bob Dylan: Vol. 2: 1974-2008 (2010). These books analyze 610 songs written by Dylan, devoting a numbered section to each song. In 2011, to mark Dylan’s 70th birthday, Heylin published Behind the Shades: The 20th Anniversary Edition, which contained an extensive new section to cover Dylan’s work since 2000.
He has also written detailed biographies of Van Morrison and Sandy Denny.
Heylin has also published studies of Orson Welles, Despite The System: Orson Welles versus The Hollywood Studios (2005), and Shakespeare’s sonnets, So Long As Men Can Breathe (2009).
In 2012, Heylin published a book about the theme of mental illness in British rock music in the 1960s and 1970s, All The Madmen. The book featured chapters on the Dialectics of Liberation conference of 1967, Syd Barrett, the Pink Floyd album Dark Side Of The Moon, David Bowie’s theme of schizophrenia in his songs, The Who’s Quadrophenia album, and Nick Drake. The same year, Heylin also published E Street Shuffle: The Glory Days of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, a biography of Bruce Springsteen and an analysis of his achievements in the recording studio.