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Digging Into Bob Dylan and Lou Reed’s Archives

Last month, the Bob Dylan Center opened in Tulsa, Okla., offering researchers unparalleled access to Dylan’s archives and peeling back the layers on his songwriting process, long the object of study and fascination. And this month, “Lou Reed: Caught Between the Twisted Stars” opened at the Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center — it’s the first exhibition drawn from Reed’s archive, which was acquired by the New York Public Library.

Both of these seek to offer deeper understandings of these rock icons, but they also offer the opportunity for alternate narratives to emerge. Dylan and Reed always carefully tended to their own mythologies — now the behind-the-scenes tools are available for all to see.

On this week’s Popcast, a conversation about the value of even the unlikeliest ephemera, the difference between public and private archives and the specific ways Dylan and Reed found methods to distance themselves from their pasts.

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