My Avatar of Bob Dylan

My avatar of Bob Dylan.

It could have been a fairy tale but we are not living in a fantasy world.
In real world people are people, no Angel or Devil, a little bit of both.
The whole story will start in 61 when someone called Robert Zimmerman decided to become Bob Dylan hitting N.Y. Town on a cold winter day.
"Wintertime in New York town
The wind blowin’ snow around
Walk around with nowhere to go
Somebody could freeze right to the bone
I froze right to the bone
New York Times said it was the coldest winter in seventeen years
I didn’t feel so cold then".
20 years old Zimmerman didn't want to be Zimmerman anymore. Zimmerman sounds Yiddish (Yiddish is a Germanic language with about three million speakers, mainly Ashkenazic Jews, in the USA, Israel, Russia, Ukraine and many other countries. The name Yiddish is probably an abbreviated version of
ייִדיש־טײַטש (yidish-taytsh), which means "Jewish German".)
So Robert Zimmerman became Robert Dylan officially in 1962.
The 60's :
Troubled times, hopeful times, the times of all the 'possible'.
Before the 60's we had the 50's and the Beat Generation; the poets, the drop off and out, the civil disobedience, "Walden, or life in the wood".
Somehow I believe that Dylan (my Avatar) belongs to that period, or doesn't belong to any period at all.
Robert Dylan was born Zimmerman in 1941 May 24th from Betty Stone and Abe Zimmerman in Duluth, Minnesota ("
Where the winds hit heavy on the borderline").
That same year Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and throw the U.S.A. into World War II.
1945 the war is over. Hitler and his Nazis are crushed between the G.I.'s and the Russians. Defeated, at last, Hitler commits suicide.
The world should have been rejoicing but …
Americans and Russians troupes open the gates of
Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, Auschwitz-Birkenau and Majdanek. They discover with horror the terrible truth; those camps were camps of extermination. Since 1942 Hitler had declared the 'Final solution', the total annihilation of Jews, Gypsies and other non-Aryans elements.
The tole is heavy; 1/3 of the Jewish population and 1/2 of the Gypsy population "
In the ovens they fried".
Robert Zimmerman being born a Jew and raised as one with Grand-parents who had escape the Pogroms of Russia and Lithuania had necessarily been influence by that page of history.
The Shoa precipitated the creation of the State of Israel. Eretz Israel and Jerusalem had been in the heart of the Jews in diaspora around the world for 2000 years. Theodor Herzl opened the gates to the dream of 'the creation of a new state for the Jews' in the 19's century.
Without the Holocaust would it be still a dream? Who knows? But for sure European antisemitism, Hitler and his Nazis, the collaborators, the Jewish immigration quota imposed by the Americans in the States and by the British in Palestine, and the silence of so many are responsible for the reality of a Jewish state in the middle of an Islamic World. He's the "Neighborhood Bully".
Did young Robert felt the load of 2000 years of black history? Did he learn to walk in the shadows of 6 millions? Did he change his name to be just "A song and dance man"?
The back draft of the creation of Eretz Israel was to provoke antisemitism in the Arabic world, resulting in a massive immigration wave towards the Jewish Land.
The count is today 6 million Jews in Israel, 6 Millions in the States and 1 million in Diaspora.
The New continent is backing up the Old World.
At the time the world rebuilds itself …
In Hibbing young Robert listens to Blues and Rock and roll on radio, late at night.
He takes James Dean as a hero, rides a motorbike, organize 3 or 4 Rock bands he leads with an electric guitar. Not the son Abe was dreaming of, the relationship is conflictual.
Roberts evades in Minneapolis and St Paul after high school, not to study Academic subjects but to play guitar in Cafes. When he discovers Hank Williams, Jimmy Rogers and Woody Guthry(and only then) he will switch his electric guitar for an acoustic one.
His Hero is now Woody Guthry who is dying from Huntington Chorea in New York.
Robert will make the trip to visit and write a farewell song "A song to Woody"." Here’s to Cisco an’ Sonny an’ Leadbelly too
An’ to all the good people that traveled with you
Here’s to the hearts and the hands of the men
That come with the dust and are gone with the wind".
And a Star is born…
Strongly influence by Suzy Rotolo(an Artist and Leftist)Bob Dylan starts to write Poetry more than songs and at 20 years old sounds like an old man.(2000 years of Black History, the slavery in Egypt, the Pogroms, the 6 millions shadows?). His songs are full of comprehension, philosophy, morality.  The young generation of Baby boomers is in rebellion against their parents and find in Bob Dylan a Father, a Brother, a Guru, a Prophet. His songs express their deepest thoughts and worries. They need a leader.
But Bob Dylan is no Political Leader and no Prophet, he refuses to be a shepherd and conduct the flock. He is "A song and Dance Man".
A motorbike accident stops a rocketing career, recomposes the Man and starts the Legend.
Still today so many Fans worship the Dylan from the 60's, refusing to look at 50 years of career as a whole. It is like defining Pablo Picasso's career only through his blue period.


Two years previously the "Summer of Love" had buried the Hippy Man. The Woodstock Festival will mark the end of a period. Bob Dylan, by now living in Woodstock, will not participate.
He's turning his back to a movement he never felt part of. But to prove he's still an Artist and cares about playing live he will appear a the Island of White in the U.K.
In 1968 his father, Abraham, dies. As the oldest son of a Jewish family he has to recite the Kaddish.
Suddenly aware of his Judaity? He will visit Israel in 69, 70, and 71. In 1971 he wants to join a Kibbutz with his wife and children.
Israel is nothing like a Peace and Love country. On the opposite it is a new nation permanently at war. Between 67 and 73 it was only time to reload the guns.
Bob Dylan a pacifist? Not even then. How not to be a Zionist after the Shoa? How to believe in Peace and Love and tolerance, respect and humanity?
This community lives under Communist rules; "everybody does according to his possibilities, everybody receives according to his needs".
Dylan doesn't want to work but pay for his stay. Kibbutz Givat Haim turned down the demand.
Instead Bob Dylan takes his family to Mexico. He is hired for the sound track of a movie and will even be part of it. Pat Garrett and Billy the kid.
Movies had always been of interest for young Robert in Hibbing. His Grand-ma was owning a movie theater and he could get in for free. Now he is in one.
After 6 years of a semi-retreat (except some apparitions: in 68 a Tribute to Woody Guthrie, 69 the Island of White(one hour show), the Concert for Bangladesh 71 for his friend George Harrison) Bob Dylan hits the road again. "Before the flood" will be released as a live album.
Why then?
Could be that he was tired to play the country man with horses and chickens.
Could be that his relationship with Sara was turning sour.
Could be that he was restless and he missed the excitement of the road and the shouts from the public?(even the boos?).
Well! He never truly retired from creativity; the Basement Tapes, 3 Country albums and 2 so-so albums proved that his Muse was still alive.
The 74 Tour was a commercial success but Bob himself didn't like it. Too much pressure? The public still expected him to be the Dylan from the 60's? That will haunt him through his entire career; part of his public will always expect him to be the LEGEND, the 60's created.
In spring 74 he's seen in N.Y. He is taking painting lessons with Norman Raeben (son of Sholem Aleichem, Author of "Tevye the Milkman"). Raeben might be a painter but he is most of all a Philosopher. He has a certain idea of what an Artist should be and how he should look at the world; the use of memory, the inconsistency of time, the representation of things, the Alchemy of the Artist transforming reality into Beauty.
Bob Dylan is a sponge, he will swallow all but his wife Sara didn't follow the same path and the relationship is becoming complicated. Bob moves to his farm in Minnesota while Sara stays in Malibu. The separation is now physical. Pain, anger and bitterness are reflecting in his songs from "Blood on the tracks". 74, the year he starts dreaming of a "Circus Tour" while hanging out with his friends from the Village. But before, and always separated from Sara, he is seen visiting the Gypsies in Les Saintes Marie de la Mer, a small village in the south of France where the Gypsies, by thousands, gather for a pilgrimage. Their black Saint Sara is taken on a procession to the sea and baptisms are made on the spot.
"Roma (Gypsies) originated in the Punjab region of northern India as a nomadic people and entered Europe between the eighth and tenth centuries C.E. They were called "Gypsies" because Europeans mistakenly believed they came from Egypt. This minority is made up of distinct groups called "tribes" or "nations."

ראש הטופס
Holocaust Encyclopedia
תחתית הטופס
TwottTwo mmmm Two main figures among the Roma or Gypsies are Django Reinhardt and Manitas de Plata. Bob Dylan met Django in 75 and it is said he was not impressed. Maybe he was more attracted by the girl in the song "one more cup of coffee" She knows how to throw the blade.
Back to N.Y., back to the Village he bumped into Jack Levy, a song and play writer. They collaborated on the songs for Desire, except "One more cup of coffee" and "Sara". "Sara" is a strong and public move to reconquer his wife Sara.
That song is the only one, for what I know, where Dylan is giving the real name of the woman and describing personal events. This is the only song that should not be covered by anyone, including Dylan, as it didn't achieve its purpose in the long term.
He succeeded for a short reconciliation during the first leg of the "Rolling thunder review". She will appear in the movie "Renaldo and Clara"(mainly as a whore!!).
The second leg of the Review is chaotic, his demons coming back to haunt him (alcohol, drugs, women…). Sara will finally file up for a divorce in 77. They fight for the custody of their 5 children, with no chance for Bob to win. He will succeed in asking for the children to live in L.A. and to have a right for visits on holidays.
The mansion in Point Zume, Malibu will remain his home while Sara and the children go live in Beverly Hills.
Sara had won million of dollars and half of the royalties on the songs written since their marriage in November 65 until the divorce 77. Dylan's layers are still fighting against Albert Grossman's layers (until 86).
Bob Dylan cash money is shrinking. The movie , "Renaldo and Clara" had a coast of 2 million dollars and was a …flop. It was a commercial disaster but artistically successful in Europe by a public of connoisseur but not in the States. It is not a Hollywood movie!
Bob moves to his farm in Minnesota(decidedly his refuge) with his children (for a temporary custody?) and a girlfriend.
In August 77, Elvis Presley dies. Bob is devastated. He said : "I didn't speak to anyone for a week".
77 The black number, the dark year! What to do?
Hit the road: be on the move, play music, perform for a public …it is what he knows to do the best.
Bob Dylan is an ARTIST and an ARTIST he will stay! The Artist in him will dominate over the husband, the father, the friend.
-Is he performing for money?
Maybe or maybe not. He's not exactly poor. The money from the royalties is still piling up. He can sell any of his private property for cash. He can live a simple life.
-Is he performing for the Love of his public?|
Maybe or maybe not. He knows better than that. "Love is a four-letter word". The public might like his music and lyrics, his songs, but him? They don't know him, the Man. How can you love someone you don't know? I am describing, here, MY Avatar of Bob Dylan and each one of his Fans has an Avatar, an Image, an Illusion, a Dream, a Perception, a Projection (of frustrations and desires). No one knows who is Bob Dylan, not even … Bob Dylan.
He is performing because that's what he likes to do. So, let him be free to perform what HE wants to do. You like it or not, this is not HIS problem.

78 Budokan Japan.

It is the beginning of a long Tour with a short break for the recording of "Street legal"(legally in the street?), an album parallel to "Blood on the tracks" full of anger, bitterness, pain over a definite separation.
For my Avatar, 78 is the most drastic turning point in his career and personal life.
It is more important than 65 when he picked up an electric guitar at the Newport festival. Robert Zimmerman, in Hibbing, was a Rebel and a Rock star at heart. The folk time was an anomaly. Did Dylan realize it when he met the Beatles? They grow up with the same musicians from Blues and Rock but they had been electric since the beginning.
"Bringing it all back home". The Blues and the Rock back home?

Earl's Court , London 78.

My first encounter with my Avatar of Bob Dylan. Will the Man fit my Image? Will he be at the level of my expectations? Will he fulfill my desires?
Earl's Court is huge, huge, huge! I manage to have a balcony seat, far, far, far away!
I am lost in a crowd of anonymous.  I didn't find great pleasure in it.
Let's try Paris.
"I try my luck in Paris and buy a ticket. Surprise! Seats are not numbered in the Pavilions. First in, first seated. I, who have nothing else to do, I’m at the doors at 2:00 p.m. for a concert at 9:00 p.m. The doors open, I run to the front- it’s a ritual, you must run and push everyone - whoa! Right in front of the microphone, three yards, I can even see his blue-eyes!
One word: MAGIC! It’s MAGIC.
With his Pierrot makeup (from the rolling Thunder Review) his “philharmonic orchestra” it is a dream.
The music is sophisticated, more sophisticated than on his records. But what impresses me most is the performer. It’s the sincerity that goes through. This guy is naked on stage, releasing all its guts without shame or complex, as a guy who is free on stage in front of the audience.
So I decide to buy all the tickets, one for each night. I’m in the front for six concerts. I’m pretty loud and screaming “Bobby!” when it’s time for the show, he will never be late, I’m his clock. He eventually sees me and looks at me and smiles.
Of course I do some attempts to see him behind, at the “stage door”. It’s full of big guys who play hard with the big dogs; a brave fan will be bitten. It’s too much for me. I give up. I’m glad to see the bus arriving and leaving when He and his band are coming and leaving. No limousine, just a regular bus (no tinted windows).
When I'm in the line I can see a curtain moving and Bob looking at the Fans. I always waved the V sign.
At the end of the fourth concert I met a girl with a strong English accent. She asks if Dylan left already.
”Yes” I reply and I naively ask;”Do you know his hotel?”.
She gives me the address. (I will find out later that it’s not so easy to know).
After the 5th show…
I was there in front of this super-luxurious hotel to play hide and seek between the arcades. Fifteen minutes pass and the bus arrives. There is nobody else but me on the sidewalk. Bob comes out of the car and I approach, as soon stopped by two “gorillas”.
I Call “Bobby?” . He recognizes me and told his guards;”it’s alright”.
He shakes my hand and gently asks if I would be there on Saturday. It was the next and final concert.
”Of course” I reply.
And I simply leave.
I never thought about doing anything else.
At this time the sky fell on my head. All the nonsense I read about this man fell to the deepest abysses. He’s paranoid, aggressive, vicious, he’s egotist, a viper’s tongue, blah blah blah .... He was alone and lost as a solo empty musician after a concert.
This approach was certainly the second turning point in my life. I could have become nihilistic to death, junky, tramp, or even kill myself. But hope it was He who gave it to me.
Obviously, this last show was The Show. I arrive on site at 2:00 p.m. I sneak in and under the benches. I also see, the sweat on my forehead, passing by me, first the cleaners, second, the security guards with their dogs searching for I don’t know what. And if the dogs smell me? I promised Bob to be there tonight. I’m lucky, or the dogs lack of flair. I attend the rehearsal. Sacrilege of sacrileges: Bob hates it. And then I missed the signal he gave me when they arrived. A girl told me that from the bus he pulled the curtain and greeted someone in the queue. Who else but me???
I leave my hiding place and rush to the forefront. I wait patiently when I see the manager approaches me”Bob says hello, what is your name, will you go to Blackbushe?
I say shocked;” I do not know”.
The Picnic. I saw the poster when I was in England. A super-outdoor concert with Dylan as the Star and then Eric Clapton, Joan Amartrading, Graham Parker and the Rumors.... I did not think about returning to England. And, yes, at Bob’s request, I will return.
The concert tonight is great. Bob looks at me (illusion?). And to satisfy my libido, I feel that this concert is for ME. He’s happy tonight, I can tell. He enjoys himself.
But suddenly, at the end, some fans throw their lighters on stage.
One hits him in the chest and everything capsized; his smile disappears, his look turns black. He is angry. Does he think that this move was voluntary? He is so fragile. I disrupt the crowd and rush to the hotel. This time there is about thirty fans waiting, parked right at the door. I start walking down and when Bob gets out the bus the guards are too busy with other fans.
In any case they have received an instruction from the Boss because they do not stop me when I put my hand on his shoulder and whisper
 “I’m sorry Bob.”
He looks at me and murmurs “it’s OK.”
Of course it was about the incident, he understood but he keeps his dark look.
I left a little sorry. Will he leave Paris on a bad feeling?
{Excerpt from my Blog;}.
I will meet Bob Dylan many times more over the years but this was the first impression that captured my mind and my heart.
I now feel privileged as seeing Bob personally had been more and more difficult with the Never ending Tour gathering more and more followers. I feel privileged but not unique and not necessarily remembered. Bob had met a lot more Fans (mainly girls) over his 50 years of career and if he is ONE for me I am none for him. Let's keep it that way. His good friend Howard Alk once told me;"A Fan will never be a friend". So it is!
In Paris Bob was in pain, he had pain killer shots before the shows. His back was badly hurting him (since the motorcycle accident?). The rumors say he was drinking a lot. He had on stage 3 Gospel girl; Helena Spring, Jo Ann Harris, Carolyn Dennis (hired for the "street legal" album). His former girlfriend is Helena and he now has a crush on Carolyn (he will marry her in 1986 to divorce in 92). So, his love affairs might be complicated. Two of his musicians; Steve Soles and David Mansfield joined previously the Vineyard Fellowship, a new Christian Church in California.
There is definitively an air of Christianity on stage and back stage.
The 78 Tour hits the U.S.A. The critics are harsh;
the press described the look and sound of the show as a 'Las Vegas Tour'. Bob must have been disappointed.
They play San Diego and a Fan throws a cross on stage that bob will pick up;
Towards the end of the show someone out in the crowd ... knew I wasn't feeling too well. I think they could see that. And they threw a silver cross on the stage. Now usually I don't pick things up in front of the stage ... But I looked down at that cross. I said, 'I gotta pick that up.' So I picked up the cross and I put it in my pocket ... And I brought it backstage and I brought it with me to the next town, which was out in Arizona ... I was feeling even worse than I'd felt when I was in San Diego. I said, 'Well, I need something tonight.' I didn't know what it was. I was used to all kinds of things. I said, 'I need something tonight that I didn't have before.' And I looked in my pocket and I had this cross." Bob Dylan.
He met in California with actress Marie Alice Artes, member of the Vineyard Fellowship, and she will take him to the Church where he'll find Jesus.
That is the most drastic move he did in his entire career and life.
Three 'gospel' albums push a lot of Fans of the …slow train coming; the old hippies (who believe Jerry Garcia is the Messiah!) the Folkies (who believe in Love stories) the Rockers (who believe in broken Love stories) the Jews (Who put bob Dylan in the category of Jewish white Artist)… This time it had been hard to capture a new audience. Bob Dylan will 'pay' for his integrity through the 80's. Adele will even declare;
"I actually think I've saved Dylan" with the cover of "Make you feel my Love". Sic!
She has the voice of a nightingale and the brain too.

1979. This is the year of the redemption.

'Slow train coming" is out and a new Tour will start in San Francisco. The 'Gospel' Tour will have 3 legs. November/December 79, January/February 80, April/May 80 with in between the recording of "Saved". I noticed that Helena Spring was replaced by Carolyn Dennis then Carolyn by Klydie King who will remain an important member of the Band until 1982 on stage and in studios for the recording of "Shot of love" and "Infidels".
I will be in San Francisco for the 14 shows opening the tour at the Warfield Theater.
I will meet Bob every day before the sound check in the lobby of his Hotel; the York Hotel.{my Blog;}.
1982. The reflection year? Nothing much happened. Supposedly a record with Klydie King. Some recording with Allen Ginsberg.

1983 Bob is seen at the Western Wall in Jerusalem for the Bar Mitzvah of his son Jesse. Bob is wearing the Teffilin. He will join later some Lubavitch group.
-Disappointed by the Christians?
-Sacked by the Vineyard Fellowship? (There was a money contract).
-Not ready to sacrifice his entire Family and Friends?
-Misunderstood and 'crucified' by the Fans?
-Empty from Bible inspiration?
He is now on the side of the "Neighborhood bully".

That Phoenix burnt himself to ashes. A new Phoenix will hatch from the ashes, its wings a bit clipped.
84, 85, 86, 87.
He will tour with different partners and groups. Bob Dylan doesn't sell as a single performer. Bob Dylan has to be seen so he will be. He participates to different Charity Shows (Jack Fate!!).
-We are the world
-the Band Aid
-The Farm Aid
-The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration (92).
He is Billy Parker in "Hearts of fire". Not the best movie ever but Bob Dylan is in it and the Fans will certainly watch it (and make amend about their defection?).
Smart moves. That will launch the "Never ending Tour". That will not help his personal life as he will divorce Carolyn Dennis in 1992.
At this time I don't know about another marriage. Women are still in his songs, for good or for bad.
"Together through life" was a nice promise but "Tempest" is disastrous at a spiritual point of view...
The Muse is now dead or dormant. Sinatra is the new Idol. The guitar is gone, the piano omnipresent. The Ghost of bob Dylan is captured by photographs here and there; hooded, solemn, waiting for …


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