The list of narrators for the audiobook version of Bob Dylan’s upcoming book has come to light, and it reads like a who’s who of Oscar contenders from the past few decades, along with the author himself doing some of the reading.
The lineup of voice talent reading chapters from “The Philosophy of Modern Song” aloud includes Jeff Bridges, Steve Buscemi, John Goodman, Oscar Isaac, Helen Mirren, Rita Moreno, Sissy Spacek, Alfre Woodard, Jeffrey Wright and Renée Zellweger.
This lineup of all-star Dylan surrogates has yet to be officially announced. It was first published by the U.K. magazine Uncut; Variety has confirmed the list.
“The Philosophy of Modern Song” is a collection of essays about 66 different songs Dylan considers great pieces of songwriting. It comes out Nov. 8 from Simon & Schuster.
Word of the audiobook readers follows the revelation last month of the 66 tunes Dylan is tackling in the forthcoming book. It will include his evaluations of classic songs written and/or recorded by greats like Jimmy Reed, Willie Nelson, Little Richard, Nina Simone, Elvis Costello and Townes Van Zandt, along with perhaps less expected picks like Cher’s “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves,” the Eagles’ “Witchy Woman” and Rosemary Clooney’s “Come On-a My House.”
The song list further includes four picks made popular by Elvis Presley, three famously recorded by Ray Charles and two from the Frank Sinatra catalog. The oldest song on Dylan’s list is Stephen Foster’s “Nelly Was a Lady,” written in 1849, and the most recent is the late Warren Zevon’s “Dirty Life and Times,” from that singer’s 2003 farewell album.
While prospective listeners await the chance to see which audiobook readers have been paired with which songs, it can make for a fun guessing game in the meantime. Will it be Rita Moreno who is heard channeling Dylan’s thoughts about the Clash’s “London Calling”? Will Helen Mirren apply an Oscar-worthy performance to a reading of why Dylan adores the Fugs’ “CIA Man”? Can we hope to get Jeffrey Wright on Cher? The answers will be blowin’ in some time in the next six weeks.