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Positively 4th Street: The Lives and Times of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez Farina, and Richard Farinaby David Hajdu
Synopses & Reviews
Tenth Anniversary EditionThe story of how four young bohemians on the make - Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Mimi Baez, and Richard Farina - converged in Greenwich Village, fell into love, and invented a sound and a style that are one of the most lasting legacies of the 1960s
When Bob Dylan, age twenty-five, wrecked his motorcycle on the side of a road near Woodstock in 1966 and dropped out of the public eye, he was recognized as a genius, a youth idol, and the authentic voice of the counterculture: and Greenwich Village, where he first made his mark as a protest singer with an acid wit and a barbwire throat, was unquestionably the center of youth culture.
So embedded are Dylan and the Village in the legend of the Sixties--one of the most powerful legends we have these days--that it is easy to forget how it all came about. In Positively Fourth Street, David Hajdu, whose 1995 biography of jazz composer Billy Strayhorn was the best and most popular music book in many seasons, tells the story of the emergence of folk music from cult practice to popular and enduring art form as the story of a colorful foursome: not only Dylan but his part-time lover Joan Baez - the first voice of the new generation; her sister Mimi - beautiful, haunted, and an artist in her own right; and her husband Richard Farina, a comic novelist (Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me) who invented the worldliwise bohemian persona that Dylan adopted--some say stole--and made as his own.
The story begins in the plain Baez split-level house in a Boston suburb, moves to the Cambridge folk scene, Cornell University (where Farina ran with Thomas Pynchon), and the University of Minnesota (where Robert Zimmerman christened himself Bob Dylan and swapped his electric guitar for an acoustic and a harmonica rack) before the four protagonists converge in New York.
Based on extensive new interviews and full of surprising revelations, Positively Fourth Street is that rare book with a new story to tell about the 1960s. It is, in a sense, a book about the Sixties before they were the Sixties--about how the decade and all that it is now associated with it were created in a fit of collective inspiration, with an energy and creativity that David Hajdu captures on the page as if for the first time.
Book News Annotation:
In Hajdu's biography of an art form, in the early 1960s the lives of sisters Joan and Mimi Baez intersected with those of Bob Dylan and the novelist Richard Farina; in the coffeehouses of Greenwich Village, the four charismatic artists and activists drew in a generation as they helped turn folk music from a quaint tradition into the soundtrack of their era. Hajdu, who is also a biographer of jazzman Billy Strayhorn, conducted several hundred new interviews to build his account of the quartet's complex relationships and rise to pop stardom. In a sad footnote, Mimi (who married Richard Farina at age 17) died of cancer in July 2001, not long after Hajdu's book was published.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
"Positively 4th Street" is the story of how four young bohemians on the make--Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Mimi Baez, and Richard Farina--converged in Greenwich Village, fell in love, and invented a sound and style that is one of the most lasting legacies of the 1960s. of photos.
When twenty-five-year-old Bob Dylan wrecked his motorcycle near Woodstock in 1966 and dropped out of the public eye, he was already recognized as a genius, a youth idol with an acid wit and a barbwire throat; and Greenwich Village, where he first made his mark, was unquestionably the center of youth culture.
In Positively 4th Street, David Hajdu recounts the emergence of folk music from cult practice to popular and enduring art form as the story of a colorful foursome: not only Dylan but also his part-time lover Joan Baez — the first voice of the new generation; her sister Mimi — beautiful, haunted, and an artist in her own right; and Mimi's husband, Richard Fariña, a comic novelist (Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me) who invented the worldly-wise bohemian persona that Dylan adopted — some say stole — and made his own.
A national bestseller in hardcover, acclaimed as "one of the best books about music in America" (Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post), Positively 4th Street is that rare book with a new story to tell about the 1960s — about how the decade and all that it is now associated with were created in a fit of collective inspiration, with an energy and creativity that David Hajdu has captured on the page as if for the first time.
About the Author
David Hajdu's first book, Lush Life, won the ASCAP/Deems Taylor Award, was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award, and is being adapted for a feature film. Hajdu lives in New York City and writes for The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, and The New York Review of Books.
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Arts and Entertainment » Music » Genres and Styles » Folk » American Folk