CLINTON HEYLIN, Revolution in the Air - The Songs of Bob Dylan 1957-1973
Just received this in the mail (purchased from Amazon -- I had been promised a review copy as far back as February, but "Nothing Was Delivered"):
Clinton Heylin, "Revolution in the Air: The Songs of Bob Dylan 1957-1973" Constable & Robinson, 2009
My first impression:
Pompously advertised, but "researched"/documented in the (by now usual) sloppy (but highly pretentious) Heylin way, not crediting all sources consulted and wording blatant "lifting" from other people's research in such a way that it appears as "original" Heylin research (which, in a lot of instances, it is NOT).
Whereas Todd Harvey (The Formative Dylan), Michael Gray (The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia) or Derek Barker (The Songs He Didn't Write: Bob Dylan Under the Influence) duly and in a scholarly way credit their sources (for example, this website bobdylanroots.com) Heylin just uses them without proper credits (his arrogant "reason" for this uncredited misappropriation=theft of intellectual property and obvious lack of scholarly ethics is made explicitly clear farther below).
I have found several instances throughout the book where Heylin seems to have (rather obviously in some cases) "consulted" my aforementioned website - without even mentioning it (nor my name) ONE time throughout the book.
Heylin, in his inimitable condescending way (which we have grown accustomed to from his previous books) makes it clear what he thinks of "peons" like myself (and why he does not credit them - a blatant lack of scholarly ethics, thus rendering his book basically useless for any scholarly research and exposing it as what it is -- basically a piece of somewhat "sensationalist" publisher-hyped "tabloid" Dylan "journalism"):
"Needless to say, the Internet has also provided endless opportunities for the unpublishable, self-appointed "expert" to pontificate on the man and his art, but I have felt little inclination to fuel their self-importance, with a citation here." (p. 451)
As condescending (or outright arrogant) Heylin is in (several) statements like these throughout the book whenever other people's research/work is concerned, he obviously has no scruples whatsoever to exploit the websites of these "unpublishable" peons (in his eyes) rather extensively, presenting their findings in a way that suggests that these are his own without crediting his sources appropriately, to a point bordering on plagiarism. Or how else can his outright refusal to credit sources that he (Heylin) just considers "below par" (see above quote), while at the same time using and exploiting them at will, be interpreted?
In all of Dylan research (which is MOSTLY done by devoted amateurs), I have NEVER encountered such an arrogant position - "I'm Clinton Heylin, Master Dylan Expert" (paraphrased), and, therefore, "I do not need to credit my sources appropriately" (paraphrased), as this would only "fuel their self-importance, with a citation here" (quoted verbatim) - Heylin uses numerous examples of my own research (like the connection between "To Ramona" and Waylon Jennings' "Anita (You're Dreaming)" -- something which I found out (and can prove beyond any doubt from my unchanged and originally dated original files, uploaded to my website on a certain date and unchanged ever since), without properly crediting me (by making his own "Master Dylan Expert rules" quoted above).
An especially blatant example of uncredited PLAGIARISM (sanctioned and deemed rightful by Master Dylan Expert Clinton Heylin's own rules as laid down on p. 451) can be found on p. 136:
"Judy Collins, in a 1996 email regarding the two songs, confirms that... 'there are old themes, world themes, centuries old dramas that get worked out in the creative process..., etc.'"
Heylin words it in such a way that it sounds as if HE had done the research himself (contacted Judy Collins, etc.), whereas he just "lifted" this straight from my website and quotes from a PRIVATE email I received from Judy Collins) without due credit and despite me asserting copyright!
I can prove beyond any doubt that I (Manfred Helfert) was the recipient of this email (parts of which also got quoted - in print and with proper attribution - as far back as 2001 in Wiener Zeitung, Vienna, Austria in a German language article by Gerald Jatzek, AFTER I had been contacted by Mr. Jatzek asking permission to do this!).
Nothing of that kind here - Heylin just "takes" and presents it without proper attribution to his source (myself), even making it sound as if it had been his own "research".
I expect any further editions of "Revolution in the Air" to include proper attribution of at least this direct uncredited quote to my name (Manfred Helfert) and/or my website (bobdylanroots.com) and demanded that much from the publisher.
Obviously, my review of this book, in view of the blatant "misappropriation" of my original research of 13 years ago (and probably that of numerous others), cannot be very favorable - especially since the book is pretentious but plainly "boring", maybe marginally less than Tim Dunn's The Bob Dylan Copyright Files 1962-2007....
There is hardly anything in it that could be classified as an "exciting" new finding -- most, if not all of it (and the aforementioned example makes it all too clear) seems to be but a "rehash" of information to be found elsewhere if one only takes the time.
A thoroughly unnecessary book, in my opinion.