Ann Powers

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Ann Powers, writer and lead music critic for America’s National Public Radio, joins us from her East Nashville home to discuss gender, sexuality and “the body” in Bob Dylan’s work. Sparked off by an emotional encounter involving Joni Mitchell, Ann compares Mitchell’s work with Dylan’s and discusses other groundbreaking female artists like Roberta Flack, Kate Bush, Madonna, Megan Thee Stallion, Candi Staton, Chaka Khan and Sarah Silverman.

With Ann, we contemplate Dylan’s early years as a “baggy elephant”, discover what Prince, Bob and Game Of Thrones have in common, explore the Jewish art in Dylan’s work and learn why Lay Lady Lay is the beginning of the genre of soft porn/soft rock “instructional songs about sex”. Ann cheerfully admits that her Bob Dylan theories are often “a provocation and a tease”. Join us for a particularly provocative discussion of “the parrot that talks”.

Ann Powers is one of America’s leading music writers. She began her career at San Francisco Weekly, and has held positions at the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Village Voice, Blender, and the Experience Music Project. Her books include Weird Like Us: My Bohemian America, Tori Amos: Piece by Piece (which she cowrote with Amos), Rock She Wrote: Women Write About Rock, Rap, and Pop. Her latest book is Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black & White, Body and Soul in American Music. Ann’s chapter in The World of Bob Dylan (Cambridge University Press, 2021) was “Gender and Sexuality: Bob Dylan’s Body”.

BBC Radio 4, Archive On 4: A Night With Prince, presented by Ann Powers

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Recorded 30th March 2021

This show is part of Pantheon Podcasts

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