New Bob Dylan book ‘The Philosophy of Modern Song’ will impart lessons in songwriting

Bob Dylan sings into a microphone and plays guitar onstage.
Musician Bob Dylan performs with the Band at the Forum in Inglewood in 1974.
(Jeff Robbins / Associated Press)

Legendary singer-songwriter, Pulitzer Prize recipient and Nobel Prize laureate Bob Dylan is gearing up to release his first book in nearly two decades.

Publishing giant Simon & Schuster announced Tuesday that Dylan’s “The Philosophy of Modern Song” will hit shelves Nov. 8. The announcement comes six years after the “Like a Rolling Stone” artist was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature for his songwriting and nearly 18 years after his last book, “Chronicles: Volume 1,” became a bestseller.

“The publication of Bob Dylan’s kaleidoscopically brilliant work will be an international celebration of songs by one of the greatest artists of our time,” said Jonathan Karp, president of Simon & Schuster.

The Philosophy of Modern Song could only have been written by Bob Dylan. His voice is unique, and his work conveys his deep appreciation and understanding of songs, the people who bring those songs to life, and what songs mean to all of us.”


A black-and-white image of a person with a guitar flanked by two other people, overlaid by red text.
Bob Dylan’s “The Philosophy of Modern Song” is due in November.
(Simon & Schuster)

Billed by the imprint as “a master class on the art and craft of songwriting,” the Grammy hall-of-famer‘s new project will contain more than 60 essays analyzing songs by other renowned musicians, including Stephen Foster, Elvis Costello, Hank Williams and Nina Simone. The folk icon will also provide expert commentary on various creative techniques and musical genres, from bluegrass to heavy metal. To complement Dylan’s prose, the book will also feature nearly 150 photos.

Dylan’s latest effort is set to arrive a couple of years after his 39th studio album, “Rough and Rowdy Ways.” That record made the beloved entertainer the first to chart at least one album per decade in the Billboard Top 40 from the 1960s to the 2020s.

On his first album of original material in eight years, Bob Dylan sings of betrayal, dismemberment and rock ‘n’ roll.