John Harris

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Music and political journalist John Harris joins us just before Bob Dylan’s 80th birthday to celebrate the man with “the wink and the nod and the little impish skip” as well as the man who gives us “the solace of emptiness”. Mr Harris is not afraid to go against the grain: “”Love And Theft” is as good as Highway 61 or Blood On The Tracks”. As for John Wesley Harding, he happily quotes a friend who told him, “we wanted a big meal and he gave us a salad. It’s good for you - but a bit chewy.” The highlight of the episode might be John’s invitation - via pal Cerys Matthews - to meet Dylan backstage after his concert at the O2: “my internal monologue was going crazy. Brain fog was settling in. I was running out of breath.” (we won’t spoil the ending here).

From making a Dylan-inspired harmonica rack out of a coat hanger at age 10 to reviewing the entire 1966 Live Recordings box set for MOJO magazine years later (“I’m still recovering”), John has heard every permutation of Bob on Dylan’s way to the Big 8-0. Was it worth it? “I like the way he sounds now. I want him to sound like that”.

John Harris has been a music journalist for Sounds, Melody Maker and the NME. He was Features Editor at Q and Editor of Select magazine, before returning to the life of a freelance writer. Since then, he has written about music for Q, MOJO and Rolling Stone, and contributed articles on a variety of subjects to the UK newspapers The Independent, The Times and The Observer. He now writes about politics, music and culture for The Guardian. He was also a regular panellist on BBC2’s Newsnight Review. His first book, The Last Party: Britpop, Blair And The Spectacularly Demise Of English Rock was published in 2003. His second, a primer for disillusioned Labour voters, So Now Who Do We Vote For?, appeared in 2005. The Dark Side Of The Moon: The Making of The Pink Floyd Masterpiece was published in 2006. And Hail! Hail! Rock’n'Roll, a compendium, was released in 2009.

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Recorded 2nd March 2021

This show is part of Pantheon Podcasts

61 episodes