Bob Dylan offers rare glimpse into his Jewish identity in previously unpublished interview

Transcripts being auctioned next month explore the Blowing in the Wind singer's name change


Transcripts of an unpublished Bob Dylan interview from 1971 being auctioned online next month offer a rare glimpse into the musician’s relationship with his Jewish identity. 

Dozens of typed pages, some annotated in blue felt tip by the Blowing In The Wind singer himself, are now being sold by RR Auction, which is based in Boston. 

According to the auction house, the interview with Mr Dylan, 79, was carried out by late blues musician Tony Glover for Esquire Magazine. 

Also up for auction are four original cassette tapes from the interview, recorded over three sessions and spanning about 3.5 hours. 

"It's a remarkable piece of popular music history, in which Dylan revises his own narrative performing the act of self-transformation that came to characterize his career," said Bobby Livingston, executive vice president at the auction house. 

Mr Dylan, who converted to Christianity in the late 1970s, said he changed his last name from Zimmerman to create a “character". 

“I mean it wouldn't've worked if I'd changed the name to Bob Levy. Or Bob Neuwirth. Or Bob Doughnut. It wouldn't have worked.

“There had to be that something about it to carry it to that extra dimension, but I didn’t know at the time what I was doing,” he went on.

Later, when asked whether the name change was partly a response to antisemitism, he replied that it wasn’t, but said he was aware “a lot of people” were prejudiced. 

“My first 18 years, I encountered that,” he said. “A lot of people are under the impression that Jews are just money lenders and merchants.

“A lot of people think that all Jews are like that. Well they used to be cause that's all that was open to them. That's all they were allowed to do." 

Elsewhere in the interview, Mr Dylan also said that his hit Lady Lady Lady was written for Jewish pop icon Barbra Streisand.

Online bidding will start on 12 November through to 19 November.

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