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October 28, 2020 1:54 pm

Bob Dylan Discusses Jewish Identity in Lost Interviews Up for Auction

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Bob Dylan. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Lost-long interviews with legendary singer-songwriter Bob Dylan that are going up for auction in Boston share insights about the musician’s Jewish heritage and his decision to change his last name.

R.R. Auction has obtained transcripts of an unpublished 1971 interview Dylan did with the late American blues artist Tony Glover, who died last year, and letters the two friends exchanged.

The auction house is selling Glover’s collection of Dylan archives, which include 37 typed pages, some of which contain handwritten notes by Dylan.

Glover’s widow, Cynthia Nadler, put the documents up for auction, with online bidding slated to run from Nov. 12 through Nov. 19.

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Dylan was born Robert Zimmerman in Duluth, Minnesota, and in his conversations with Glover he explained his name change.

A March 22, 1971, chat between the two friends began with Dylan joking, “I mean it wouldn’t’ve worked if I’d changed the name to Bob Levy. Or Bob Neuwirth. Or Bob Doughnut.”

In handwritten notes, he talked more seriously about his Jewish identity, saying, “A lot of people are under the impression that Jews are just money lenders and merchants. A lot of people think that all Jews are like that. Well they used to be cause that’s all that was open to them. That’s all they were allowed to do.”

The interviews were intended to be used for an article Glover was writing for Esquire magazine, but Dylan became uninterested and the piece was never completed, The Associated Press reported, citing R.R. Auction.

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