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Dylan's House Holds

His palace is in no danger of falling into the Pacific

April 7, 1977
Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan
Express/Express/Getty Images

San Francisco — Contrary to reports in Melody Maker and a smattering of gossip columns, Bob Dylan's $2-million-plus Malibu mansion is not falling into the Pacific – at least not yet. According to Chris Charlesworth in the February 19th issue of Melody Maker, "The house . . . is built atop a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, but the cliff is gradually eroding due to the pressure of the waves. According to reports here, the house will gradually slip into the sea."

"That's impossible," responded Dave Towbin, architect for the house. "That house can't slip; it's built on normal earth, not sand. It's not on the beach side, it's across a road from the beach. It does have a tremendous view of the ocean, though." Were the house, which has been described as "an eclectic version of an East Coast stick-and-shingle house . . . basically American Victorian and Mediterranean, and pure New Mexico inside," to fall into the Pacific, it would have to carry with it a swimming pool that one building inspector has described as a "lake. It has bridges and boulders."

"If that house goes into the ocean," maintains architect Towbin, "it means all the coast of California is going."

This story is from the April 7th, 1977 issue of Rolling Stone.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

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