Olof Björner (26 November 1942 – 12 September 2023) was a Swedish researcher who made significant contributions to the documentation of American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan’s life and work. Known for his detailed analyses and archiving of Dylan’s live performances and recording sessions, Björner was a respected figure among Dylanologists and music historians.
Early Life and Career
Born in Stockholm in 1942, Björner earned a computer science degree in 1967. He initially worked as a computer consultant before pivoting to a career as a management consultant specializing in internet technology strategies for the healthcare industry. In 2003, he and his wife Agneta purchased a bookstore in Filipstad, a small town in Sweden. Björner’s interest in Bob Dylan sparked in 1963, eventually leading him to publish his first work on the artist, titled Words Fill My Head, Written, Spoken, Sung by Bob Dylan, which was self-published in 1989.
Dylan Research and Publications
Björner founded bjorner.com, a comprehensive website featuring detailed listings of Dylan’s live concerts and studio recordings dating from 1956 to 2020. He also authored a 13-volume series called Olof’s Files: A Bob Dylan Performance Guide, published by UK publisher Hardinge Simpole. These volumes meticulously documented different periods of Dylan’s career, making them a valuable resource for researchers and fans alike.
Dylan critic Michael Gray lauded the quality of Björner’s research, stating, “The detail is extraordinary, and the level of accuracy phenomenal.” His work became a touchstone for anyone interested in the intricate details of Dylan’s extensive career.
Death and Legacy
Olof Björner passed away on 12 September 2023, at the age of 80. His extensive documentation of Bob Dylan’s career has made him an indispensable figure in the field of music research. His meticulous work will continue to serve as a significant resource for future generations of scholars, fans, and musicians.
- Olof’s Files: A Bob Dylan Performance Guide (13 Volumes)
- Words Fill My Head, Written, Spoken, Sung by Bob Dylan (1989)
- Bob Dylan Live in Canada: A Concert History, 1962–2005 (Co-authored with Brady J. Leyser, 2006)