Bob Dylan Releasing New Book, ‘The Philosophy of Modern Song’

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Express Newspapers/Getty Images)

Bob Dylan can truly do it all. In addition to racking up ten Grammy Awards and an Academy Award, the music legend is also a celebrated painter with eight books of art under his belt. Not to mention, he’s in both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

His accolades don’t stop with music, either. On top of his many musical awards, Dylan also holds a Nobel Prize in Literature. And later this year, Bob Dylan will release a collection of more than 60 essays in a book entitled The Philosophy of Modern Song.

In the announcement released by Simon & Schuster, fans were given an idea of what to expect from the music icon‘s new book. “He analyzes what he calls the trap of easy rhymes, breaks down how the addition of a single syllable can diminish a song, and even explains how bluegrass relates to heavy metal.”

“And while [the essays] are ostensibly about music, they are really meditations and reflections on the human condition. Running throughout the book are nearly 150 carefully curated photos as well as a series of dream-like riffs that, taken together, resemble an epic poem.”

The Philosophy of Modern Song marks Bob Dylan’s first book release since his 2004 memoir Chronicles, Volume One. Despite being over 80 years old, Dylan continues to tour and record, and his 39th studio album, Rough and Rowdy Ways, released on June 19, 2020.

Bob Dylan Couldn’t Call John Mellencamp With Book Ideas

Okay, so we’re not positive John Mellencamp would’ve refused his friend’s calls about book ideas. But we can say with a fair amount of certainty that Mellencamp wouldn’t have been happy. Mellencamp did have to tell Bob Dylan to stop calling him about song ideas, after all.

Bob [Dylan] used to call me up in the middle of the night and read his lyrics to me that he was working on for new records,” Mellencamp recalled. “And I finally told him, ‘Bob, would you quit calling me, because I’m not gonna say anything. I’m not a good sounding board because I like everything you do. I’m happy to hear this stuff, but I’m not that great of a sounding board.'”

Completely understandable. Who doesn’t love Bob Dylan? If the thought of Bob Dylan reading John Mellencamp his lyrics in the middle of the night isn’t adorable enough for you, don’t worry, there’s more.

“There [are] very few guys I ended up admiring, musically,” Mellencamp says. “Bob [Dylan] is definitely one of those guys. And I’m happy to say I have a good relationship with him.”