BIRTH: May 24, 1941,
Duluth, Minnesota, U.S.
Bob Dylan is an American singer and song- writer. He is believed to have revolutionized folk and pop music.
Bob Dylan was originally named Robert Allen Zimmerman. He was born to Abram and Beatrice Zimmerman in Duluth, Minnesota on 24th May, 1941. He was brought up in a Jewish community. He got his first guitar in 1955 at the age of fourteen. Bob Dylan attended the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis in 1959. He would perform folk and country music at local cafés in Minneapolis. He named
himself”Bob Dylan” during this time, inspired by the main character from a popular Western
television series Gunsmoke. He quit college in 1960 and went on to pursue music.
In the January of 1961, Dylan shifted to New York. His idol, Woody Guthrie, a legendary folk singer, was hospitalized there. He would visit him in the hospital regularly. Bob Dylan wrote ‘Songs to Woody’ during this time. In 1961, Robert Shelton reviewed one of Bob Dylan’s live shows in the The New York Times. Columbia Records signed him following the review. In the March of 1962, Bob Dylan’s self-titled first album was released but it did not do well.
His second album ‘The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan’ was released in the May of 1963 and was a big hit. The songs “Blowin’ in the wind” and “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” were part of this album.
His third album “The Times They Are A-Changin” became an instant hit and marked Dylan as the songwriter for the ’60s protest movement. He was romantically involved with Joan Baez, who was an important figure in the movement, during this time. Dylan also wrote songs for her. Her famous song “Love is just a Four-Letter Word” was written by Bob Dylan.
The folk trio, Peter, Paul and Mary, came up with their version of Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” in
1963. It acquired the second position in Billboard Pop Singles Chart.
In the 1960s, Dylan was also involved with the Civil Rights Movement. His songs were politically charged and addressed social issues. His single “Like a Rolling Stone” was released in 1965. It became number one in the UK charts instantly.
The release of his folk rock and electric album ‘Bringing It All Back Home in January 1965 created a major backlash amongst his folk music fans. His album ‘Highway 61 Revisited’ was also released in 1965. He began his tour with the Band (initially, the Hawks) in 1966. The same year he got into a motorcycle accident in Woodstock in July and retreated to his home to recuperate.
For the next two years, Dylan disappeared from the industry. His next album, ‘Nashville Skyline’ (1969) invented the combination of country music with rock. Tarantula, a book written by Dylan was published in 1971. Dylan started his career in acting with Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid directed by Sam Peckinpah. Dylan was also the music director for this movie. His hit song, “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”, was created for the movie.
In 1974, another book called Writings and Drawings containing his lyrics and poetry was published. Dylan’s 1974 album, ‘Planet Waves’, topped the charts and became his first number one album. The albums he released in the 1980s included ‘Infidels’ (1983), ‘Biograph’ (1985), “Knocked Out Loaded’ (1986) and ‘Oh Mercy’ (1989). In 2004, his book Chronicles: Volume One was published by Simon & Schuster.
It was supposedly meant to be a three-book memoir on Bob Dylan. In a 2005 documentary called No
Direction Home: Bob Dylan directed by Martin Scorsese, Dylan gave his first full interview in twenty years.
Dylan received his first Grammy for the single “Gotta Serve Somebody” from the album ‘Slow Train Coming in 1980.
In 1982, he became part of the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 1988, he was honored in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He became the first rock star to receive Kennedy Center Honors in the year 1997. His 1997 album, ‘Time Out of Mind’ won him three Grammy Awards.
He was awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature. It was the first time a musician had been honored with this prize. In 2001, he won an Academy Award for “Things Have Changed”. In the May of 2012, he was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Bob Dylan and Sara Lownds got married in 1965. They had four children together. They got divorced in 1977. He got married again in 1986 to singer Carolyn Dennis. They had a daughter the same year, after which they got divorced in 1992.