Bob Dylan apologises after machine used to ‘sign’ books worth more than £500

Bob Dylan has been called ‘Judas’ in the past for performing with an electric guitar - but this time fans were disappointed for another reason  (PA Archive)
Bob Dylan has been called ‘Judas’ in the past for performing with an electric guitar - but this time fans were disappointed for another reason (PA Archive)

Bob Dylan has apologised for an “error in judgement” after admitting hand signed copies of his book contained mass-reproduced signatures.

The legendary singer-songwriter explained, in a rare statement, on Saturday, that due to a “bad case of vertigo” he used a machine to carbon copy his name in the limited run which saw 900 signed special edition copies of The Philosophy of Modern Song fetch up to US$599.

The singer apologised after fans noticed his signature looked identical inside the book, which contains Dylan’s thoughts on notes on tracks by other artists, despite a contained letter of authenticity from publisher Simon & Schuster.

Dylan said all his signatures had been personally completed in his seven decade career up until the release of the book in 2019 when he suffered vertigo for a long period. He has apparently since recovered and in 2020 released 39th studio album Rough and Rowdy Ways to critical acclaim.

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After news broke last week of the book signature claims the 81-year-old apologised in a post on Facebook.

He wrote: “It takes a crew of five working in close quarters with me to help enable these signing sessions, and we could not find a safe and workable way to complete what I needed to do while the virus was raging. So, during the pandemic, it was impossible to sign anything and the vertigo didn’t help.

“With contractual deadlines looming, the idea of using an auto-pen was suggested to me, along with the assurance that this kind of thing is done ‘all the time’ in the art and literary worlds.

“Using a machine was an error in judgement and I want to rectify it immediately. I’m working with Simon & Schuster and my gallery partners to do just that.”

He signed off the note with “deepest regrets”.

Simon & Schuster has offered to refund any purchasers who are unhappy.

Dylan has branched out from his signature blues recordings to produce his own art works over the years. With the book debacle, the authenticity of his signature on paintings has also now been questioned.

Castle Fine Art, which sells his works in the UK, said in a statement: “We can confirm that all other editions preceding these releases were individually hand-signed by Bob Dylan himself.”