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Lost Bob Dylan Interviews Share Musician’s Concerns of Anti-Semitism

Dylan had a lot to say about his Jewish identity including changing his name because he was concerned about anti-Semitism.
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October 27, 2020
Bob Dylan plays a Fender Jazz bass with the harmonica around his neck while recording his album ‘Bringing It All Back Home’ on January 13-15, 1965 in Columbia’s Studio A in New York City, New York. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Transcripts and notes from a long-lost interview with singer-songwriter Bob Dylan have found their way to a Boston auction house.

Globally recognized auction site RR Auction is set to auction off Dylan memorabilia as part of its “Marvels of Modern Music” auction, including 37 rare notes written by the legendary performer to his close colleague, the late American blues artist Tony Glover.

The writings reveal stories about the 1965 Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island, Dylan’s thoughts on folk musician Woody Guthrie and Dylan’s Judaism.

Born Robert Zimmerman on May 24, 1941 in Duluth, Minn. to Jewish parents, Dylan had a lot to say about his Jewish identity including changing his name because he was concerned about anti-Semitism.

Dylan had a lot to say about his Jewish identity including changing his name because he was concerned about anti-Semitism.

“I mean it wouldn’t have worked if I’d changed the name to Bob Levy. Or Bob Neuwirth. Or Bob Doughnut,” the multi-award-winning artist told Glover during the interview on March 22, 1971.

Throughout his multi-decade career writing American folk rock and blues, Dylan has received numerous accolades, including an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2001 for his song “Things Have Changed,” from the movie “Wonder Boys,” three Golden Globe awards, four Grammys, five Grammy Hall of Fame awards, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation and the 2016 Nobel Prize for literature, making him the first musician to receive the award.

According to RR Auction, Glover was set to use the interview to write a piece on Dylan for Esquire magazine in 1971 but was never published.

According to the Associated Press,  Glover’s widow Cynthia Nadler arranged the archival material for the “Marvels of Modern Music” auction. Online bidding starts Nov. 12 and runs through Nov. 19.

To learn more about the auction, visit RR Auction’s website.

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