No, He Probably Wasn't Addicted to Heroin



Once something hits the Internet, bloggers tend to pick it up and run with it without really giving it much of a second thought. I try to be a little pickier. I try to find stuff that has a point (and, yes, I do fail to get the really, really good stuff that I would like, but I refuse to stop trying). This is one of those items that hits the web and reproduces itself for no good reason. Good luck getting through to people on this sort of thing:

It’s been revealed that Bob Dylan had to battle his way through a heroin addiction back in the early ’60s after an unheard interview with the singer was found.
Dylan’s friend, Robert Shelton, was interviewing the singer on his private plane back in March 1966 when the conversation about his heroin addiction was brought up. Here’s what the singer had to say:
“I kicked a heroin habit in New York City. I got very, very strung out for a while, I mean really, very strung out. And I kicked the habit. I had about a $25-a-day habit and I kicked it.”


Nothing has been "revealed" here. Someone is trying to profit from what's on those tapes because they have seen a resurgence in Dylan as a touring and performing musician. The vast majority of people in this country do not understand Dylan as an artist. They think they know him based on his cultural status as the protest singer of record for the 1960s. Long after Dylan stopped writing those kinds of songs, he was touring the country and making music that had nothing to do with what he was famous for. In short, he evolved as an artist despite the perceptions held by the public. 


And, it doesn't help matters to try to point out that it was all a sham in those early days. Dylan was a fantastic storyteller. The problem is, those tapes aren't worth anything when it comes to actual reliable biographic material. They have value in that you get to hear what Bob Dylan was making up on that particular day. 


Many of those "interviews" turned out to have been discredited and debunked by people who followed up and did basic fact checking against what Dylan said. See below for a great sampling of "lazy blogging" when it comes to this subject. Why do people think they have a "gotcha" story here? Anyone with the ability to check the facts would know that Dylan's interviews from that era are worthless in terms of establishing some valid timeline or chronology of his life.


Rolling Stone also adds:


In newly released audio from a March 1966 interview, Bob Dylan claims he kicked a heroin habit after moving to New York City. "I got very, very strung out for a while," he says in excerpts released by the BBC. "I kicked the habit. I had a $25 a day habit and I kicked it." He was speaking to New York Times writer Robert Shelton on a plane from Lincoln, Nebraska to Denver while on his legendary 1966 electric tour.
This may sound like a huge revelation, but Dylan has been telling journalists wild lies about his past since the earliest days of his career. He was particularly prone to fabricating stories in the mid-Sixties. In another 1966 interview with Shelton, Dylan claimed to have worked as a prostitute when he first arrived in New York. "Sometimes we would make one hundred a night, really, from four in the afternoon until three or four in the morning," he said. "Cats would pick us up and chicks would pick us up. And we would do anything you wanted, as long as it was paid...I almost got killed...I didn't come down to the Village until two months later. Nobody knew that I had been hustling uptown."

Everyone is selling something. Are you buying?
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