Michael Gray on Bob Dylan’s Greatest Rejected Album Tracks

Wednesday 21st April
Michael Gray on Bob Dylan’s Greatest Rejected Album Tracks
[+10% booking fee]
Doors open 8pm / On-stage 8.30pm
Seated 14+ show : under 18s’ must be accompanied by an adult


Michael Gray is a critic, writer, public speaker & broadcaster recognised as a world authority on the work of Bob Dylan, and as an expert on rock’n’roll history. He also has a special interest in pre-war blues, and in travel. Born on August 25th, 1946, he grew up on Merseyside, England, went to the Cavern, and graduated from the University of York with a BA in History & English in 1967, having interviewed (as a student journalist) the distinguished British historian A.J.P. Taylor and the distinguished American guitarist Jimi Hendrix.

His pioneering study Song & Dance Man: The Art of Bob Dylan, published in the UK in 1972, was the first full-length critical study of Dylan’s work. US and Japanese hardback editions, and a UK paperback, were published in 1973. A second, updated edition was published in 1981 in the UK and 1982 in North America. The massive third edition Song & Dance Man III  – including a 112-page study of Dylan’s use of the blues – was published in December 1999 in the UK and early in 2000 in the US. A seventh reprint was issued in 2008, and the book remained in print until late 2010.

1985 he published Mother! The Story of Frank Zappa, updated editions of which came out 1986, 1992, 1993, 1994, 2003 and 2007. A collection of pieces on Dylan, All Across The Telegraph: A Bob Dylan Handbook, co-edited by Michael with Dylan fanzine editor John Bauldie, was published in 1987 and 1988, and in 1996 he co-authored The Elvis Atlas: A Journey Through Elvis Presley’s America, published in hardback in New York by Henry Holt. A new edition of The Elvis Atlas was published in 2011, and in the same year Michael wrote the sleevenotes for the Sony-Legacy album Bob Dylan In Concert: Brandeis University 1963.

Michael’s vast Bob Dylan Encyclopedia, published by Continuum in New York & London in 2006 (paperback 2008) won the International Association of Music Libraries’ C.B. Oldman Prize for the year’s outstanding work of reference and research. Hand Me My Travelin’ Shoes: In Seach of Blind Willie McTell, published by Bloomsbury UK in 2007 & 2008 and by Chicago Review Press in the US in 2009, was shortlisted for the 2008 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Biography and was awarded an ARSC Certificate of Merit in 2010 for a work of exceptional quality. In 2016 he wrote the Introduction to “Professing Dylan”, a collection of essays by academics who have taught classes on Dylan to students, published by PhillipsMemphis, US.

Since 2010 he has delivered talks at universities in Alabama, Arkansas, California – including Stanford – Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Orleans, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Sydney & Halifax Nova Scotia and Texas, and at colleges in Indiana, Kentucky & Maryland. In Europe in the last eight years he has given guest lectures at the universities of Bristol, Cardiff, Liverpool, Liverpool Edge Hill, Munich, Vienna, York, Oslo and Southern Denmark, at Goldsmiths College London and at the Einstein Forum in Potsdam, Germany.

His work has been published in Rolling Stone, The Times, Literary Review, Independent, Guardian, Observer, Sunday Times, Weekend Telegraph, Independent on Sunday, Sunday Telegraph, Melody Maker, Uncut and more. This work has included many travel features, which, along with his own love of travelling, have taken him to places as different as Libya, Guyana, Syria, Finland, Mississippi, the Sudan, Egypt, Mauritius and Scotland. He once spent three months in Kenya and another three in Newfoundland. He has travelled by Ferrari through Central America and by balloon over Yorkshire. He is also a Guardian obituarist for major figures in rock’n’roll and tennis.

In January 2015 the University of York conferred on him the degree of D.Litt. – Doctor of Letters in English and Related Literature – for his published study Song & Dance Man III: The Art of Bob Dylan. (In the UK, as in several other countries, a D.Litt. is a higher doctorate awarded only for “substantial and original contributions to the advancement of learning”.)

Michael lives in South-West France with his wife (the food writer Sarah Beattie) and a rescued Griffon Nivernais dog called Mavis.


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