Dylan Lyricist Levy Dies

Broadway, rock & roll writer was sixty-nine

October 4, 2004 12:00 AM ET
Jacques Levy, musical theater director and lyricist for songs recorded by Bob Dylan and the Byrds, died of cancer last Thursday at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York. He was 69 years old.

A New York native, Levy got his start practicing clinical psychology in Topeka, Kansas, but switched to a career in musical theater in the Sixties. His biggest success was as the director of 1969's Oh! Calcutta! and its revival in 1976. Levy later went on to direct a Broadway musical version of the comic strip Doonesbury in 1983 and pen the lyrics for last year's Broadway adaptation of Fame.

To rock & roll fans, Levy is best known as Bob Dylan's collaborator on the 1975 album Desire. He co-wrote seven of the nine songs on the album, including the famous "Hurricane" -- about the jailed boxer Reuben "Hurricane" Carter -- as well as "Mozambique" and "Isis."

Levy also co-wrote "Chestnut Mare" and "Just a Season" with Byrds guitarist and vocalist Roger McGuinn. The songs appeared on the band's 1970 album Untitled. Levy's songs were also recorded by artists ranging from Carly Simon to country star Crystal Gayle.

Levy is survived by his wife and two children.

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