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Wednesday, December 7, 2022

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Love letters from Bob Dylan: soon the whole world will listen to me

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A bundle of love letters written by young Bob Dylan fetched $670,000 at an auction in Boston. According to the music magazine “Rolling Stone”, the letters, written between 1957 and 1959, give a deep insight into the emotional and mental world of a then completely unknown teenager from the small town of Hibbing in the US state of Minnesota.

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The later Nobel Prize winner addressed it to his classmate Barbara Ann Hewitt, whom he had met in high school. Hewitt’s daughter found the 42 letters after her mother’s death two years ago.

It must have been a great childhood love, maybe just a crush. When he was already a rock star, Dylan Hewitt, according to his daughter, called to California in the late 1960s. But she declined and instead married another man from Hibbing.

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The letters are interesting as a source because Dylan shared little about his youth. He sent poems to his beloved and invited them to a concert by Buddy Holly. He still called himself Bob Zimmermann, but asked his pen-pal what she thought about adopting a stage name like “Little Willie” or “Elston”.

“I always wanted to be a guitarist and singer. Since I was ten, eleven or twelve, that’s the only thing that interested me,” Dylan later claimed. A cousin had taught him to play the piano, but he soon switched to the guitar.

In a letter, Dylan announces that he will be the lead singer of a band called the Satintones. He also writes about one day selling millions of records and singing to crowds of screaming girls on the TV music show American Bandstand. It happened almost exactly the same way.

The letters were bought from Livraria Lello, a more than 100-year-old bookstore in the Portuguese port city of Porto. She wants to make the handwritten epistle, with a total of 150 pages, accessible to Dylan fans and scientists.

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Source: Tagesspiegel

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