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Dylan talks, Zappa shouts

The legend of Bob Dylan can survive and even thrive on a work of self-exposure, but the mystery of Frank Zappa is that anyone should bother to enquire

By Erik Tarloff   January 2005

“Garbo talks!” was the two-word advertising slogan for the Swedish star’s first sound picture, Anna Christie (1930). One has a similar reaction to Chronicles: Volume One: “Dylan talks!”

It isn’t that he has never spoken before; over the years, he has given plenty of interviews. But he has always taken pains to manufacture an elusive identity for himself, usually answering questions in a maddeningly gnomic manner and frequently lying outright. A dedicated practitioner of that dreadful 1960s phenomenon, the put-on, he kept himself hidden behind a variety of joker’s masks, always poised to waltz away from responsibility for any word…

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