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The Killers / A Question about Valentines Day / Chronicles,

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DOUG JOHNSON: Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC, in VOA Special English.

I'm Doug Johnson. On our show this week:

Grammy-nominated music from the group called the Killers ...

A question about the upcoming Valentine's Day holiday ...

And a look at a new book by a popular American musician.

Bob Dylan's "Chronicles, Volume One"

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Bob Dylan is one of the America'sgreatest songwriters. Now he has written a book about his life thatcritics have praised. Shep O'Neal tells us about it.

SHEP O'NEAL: Bob Dylan's book, "Chronicles: Volume One," waspublished in October. It has been among the best-selling books inAmerica. The New York Times newspaper named it one of the five bestnon-fiction, or true life, books of two thousand four. And recently,the National Book Critics Circle named it one of the five finalistsfor best biography or autobiography of last year.

Bob Dylan grew up in the small town of Hibbing, Minnesota. As ayoung man, in nineteen sixty-one, he moved to New York City with hisguitar. He wanted to become a folk singer and musician. In his book,he writes about his experiences playing and singing other people'ssongs in clubs in the Greenwich Village area. He writes about themany artists, writers and musicians who influenced him.

p>His main influence was the great folk singer Woody Guthrie.Guthrie was living in a hospital in New Jersey because he had aserious disease. Dylan visited him often and played Guthrie's songsto him.Later, Dylan became extremely famous for the songs he wrote.The media called him the "voice of a generation." But he rejectedthis fame. He writes: "All I'd ever done was sing songs that weredead straight and expressed powerful new realities. I had verylittle in common with, and knew even less about, a generation that Iwas supposed to be the voice of."

Bob Dylan writes that his wife and five children were the mostimportant part of his life. He describes trying to find privacy forhis family at his home in Woodstock, a town in New York State. Butpeople from all over the country came to visit him and destroyed hispeace.

Dylan also writes about spending time in New Orleans, Louisiana,while recording the album "Oh Mercy" in nineteen eighty-nine. Hewrites about the process of recording the album. And he writes aboutthe interesting people he met in Louisiana. One was a store ownernamed Sun Pie, who gave Dylan a sign for his car that says "World'sGreatest Grandpa."

Critics have compared Bob Dylan's book "Chronicles" to one of hissongs. They say it brings to life images, faces and places. They saythe book forms layers of meaning through rich details. "A song islike a dream," Dylan writes, "and you try to make it come true."

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Valentine's Day

DOUG JOHNSON: Our VOA listener question this week comes fromIran. Nima Foroud asks about the holiday called Valentine's Day.Americans celebrate Valentine's Day each year on Februaryfourteenth. It is a holiday for lovers.

Valentine's Day is a good day for a man to ask his girlfriend tomarry him. It is also a good day for couples to get married. Othercouples might go out for a special meal at a nice restaurant.

The holiday is named for Saint Valentine. He was an earlyChristian churchman who reportedly helped young lovers. Valentinewas executed for his Christian beliefs on February fourteenth, morethan one thousand seven hundred years ago. But the day that has hisname is even older than that.

The ancient Romans celebrated a holiday for lovers more than twothousand years ago. As part of the celebration, each girl wrote hername on a piece of paper and put it in a large container. Each boyreached into the container and pulled out the name of a girl. Thatgirl became his girlfriend for a year.

Lovers still put their names on pieces of paper on Valentine'sDay. They send each other cards that express their love. Sometimesthey send other gifts, too, like jewelry鈥?or flowers鈥?or candy鈥rall three!

Americans usually send cards through the mail system or in acomputer message. But there is another way many Americans sendmessages of love on Valentine's Day. They pay to have them printedin a newspaper.

Some of these messages are simple and short: "Susan, I love youvery much. From John." Others say more, like this example: "David,roses are red, violets are blue, I hope you love me as much as Ilove you. Forever, Mary."

There is only one problem in sending a Valentine's Day messagethis way. It will only reach the one you love if he or she reads thenewspaper that day!

The Killers

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Have you heard of the Americanrock group called the Killers? The group was popular in Britainbefore becoming well known in the United States. Now the group hasbeen nominated for three Grammy awards. Faith Lapidus has more.

FAITH LAPIDUS: The four members of the Killers are BrandonFlowers, David Keuning, Mark Stoermer and Ronnie Vanucci. They met afew years ago in their hometown, Las Vegas, Nevada. The first songthat Flowers and Keuning wrote together is called "MisterBrightside." Keuning says it is still the only song the group playsevery time it performs. Let's listen:

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"Mister Brightside" is one of eleven songs on the Killers' firstalbum, "Hot Fuss." The album has been nominated for a Grammy forBest Rock Album. Another popular song from the album is about a girlwho is killed by her boyfriend. It is called "Jenny Was a Friend ofMine."

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One song on "Hot Fuss" is nominated for two Grammys -- Best RockPerformance by a Duo or Group, and Best Rock Song. It was also thefirst hit single from the album. We leave you now with the Killerssinging that song, "Somebody Told Me."

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DOUG JOHNSON: I'm Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our programthis week.

This show was written by Shelley Gollust and Nancy.Paul Thompson was the producer. Our engineer was Efeem Drucker.

Join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA's radio magazinein Special English.


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