Professor Danny Karlin - inaugural lecture

Winterstoke Professor of English Professor Danny Karlin
Department of English
This lecture took place on Thursday 7 March 2013

Bob Dylan Signs for Columbia Records

When Bob Dylan comes on stage, he is introduced by a pre-recorded announcement naming him as a 'Columbia Recording Artist'. All his albums have been issued under the Columbia label, dating back to the first, 'Bob Dylan', in 1962. The fact that Dylan signed for Columbia, rather than a specialized folk music label, is significant in itself. But there is a larger issue to do with the value he attached to being recorded at all.

Arguably the roots of Dylan's own songwriting lie not in the 'live' performances he witnessed, but in the records he obsessively listened to.

His art was made possible by a great technological innovation, as important as the invention of printing. This lecture explores what it means to think of Dylan as a 'recording artist'.