Dylan and Cohen: Poets of Rock and Roll

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Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen are widely acknowledged as the great pop poets of the 1960s, transforming the popular song into a medium for questioning the personal, social and political norms of their times. They emerge at a time when the music industry was moulding and packaging the revolutionary sound of black music into something bland, homogenous and fit for mass consumption, when populist politics had come to the fore with a serious division emerging between the values of young and old. For many disorientated and disillusioned members of this generation, Dylan and Cohen were able to articulate what they were feeling and could not express: Dylan the anti-establishment anger, Cohen the angst and despondency. Dylan and Cohen is a fascinating political, psychological and artistic profile of two iconic writers and performers. With reference to both biographical details and lyrics, David Boucher explores their similarities and differences, tracing the development of religious, political and social themes in their work and the ways in which those ideas engaged a new audience. He also looks at their poetic influences, using aesthetic ideas from Lorca, Collingwood and others to delve more deeply than previous commentators into the phases of their writing and to reveal their enduring influence on poetry and song, and the relationship between the two. A must-read for all serious fans of either Dylan or Cohen, this book will also engage anyone interested in 1960s America or more generally in the relationship between music, identity and politics.