Raeben, Norman (1901-1978) Norman Raeben was one of the most influential people in Bob Dylanâs life. It was Norman Raeben, Dylan said, who, in the mid '70s, renewed his ability to compose songs. Dylan also suggested that Norman's teaching and influence so altered his outlook upon life that Sara, his wife, could no longer understand him, and this was a contributory factor in the breakdown of the Dylans' marriage. It's strange that, given the importance of Norman Raeben's influence on Bob Dylan, he isnât even mentioned in either of the big biographies published in the 1980. Dylan first began to talk about Raeben in the round of interviews he did in 1978 to promote his movie, Renaldo & Clam, though for a while he wouldnât specifically identify him. "There ain't nobody like him," Dylan told Pete Oppel, of the Dallas Morning News. "I'd rather not say his name. He's really special, and I don't want to create any heat for He was, Dylan told Playboys Ron Rosenbaum, "just an old man. His name wouldn't mean anything to you. Dylan's interest in Norman began sometime in 1974, when several friends of Sara came to visit: They were talking about truth and love and beauty and all these words I had heard for years, and they had 'em all defined. I couldn't believe it... I asked them, 'Where do you come up with all those definitions?â and they told me about this teacher. Sufficiently impressed, Dylan looked up the teacher the next time he was in New York. It was the spring of 1974 when Dylan popped his head around Norman's door: He says, 'You wanna paint?â So I said, 'Well, I was thinking about it, you know.â He said, 'Well, I don't know if you even deserve to be here. Let me see what you can do.' So he put this vase in front of me and he says, 'You see this vase?â And he put it there for 30 seconds or so and then he took it away and he said, 'Draw It'. Well, I mean, I started drawing it and I couldnât remember shit about this vase - I'd looked at it but I didn't see it. And he took a look at what I drew and he said, 'OK, you can be up here.' And he told me 13 paints to get... Well, I hadn't gone up there to paint, I'd just gone up there to see what was going on. I wound up staying there for maybe two months. This guy was amazing... It was some time later when I was finally able to identify Dylan's mysterious man called Norman as Norman Raeben, born in Russia in 1901, who visited the USA with his family when be was three years old and emigrated for permanent residence when he was about 14. Norman's father was the noted Yiddish writer, Sholem Aleichem (1859-1916), a man best known today for having created the character Tvye, whose fictional life-story was adapted for the musical, Fiddler On The Roof. The most remarkable change brought about by the months Dylan spent in Norman Raeben's studio was upon the way Dylan composed lyrics. The Mysterious Norman Raeben by Bert Cartwright http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/2667/raeben.htmSCALES@wsuvm1.csc.wsu.edu writes:
Date: Sun, 21 Jun 1998 11:48:05 GMT There's a whole chapter in my precious "Wanted Man - In Search Of Bob Dylan" (edited by the late John Bauldie, mine is a Penguin Books edition) entitled "The Mysterious Norman Raeben". There are also Dylan's interviews by 1978 (Playboy, Rolling Stone, notably).