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Sunday, 16 November 2014

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan was born Robert Allen Zimmerman on May 24, 1941 in Duluth, Minnesota. His parents, Abram Zimmerman and Beatrice "Beatty" Stone, were part of the area's small but close-knit Jewish community.

Zimmerman grew up in the mining town of Hibbing, Minnesota, to which he moved with his family at age of six This part of Minnesota is known by its inhabitants as "The North Country," hence the song "Girl From The North Country."

Zimmerman family home in Hibbing, Minnesota. By Jonathunder - Wikipedia Commoms

As a youth Zimmerman was a big fan of rock and roll, and he formed a rock and roll band, the Golden Chords, as a freshman in high school – he was the piano player.

A teenage Bob Dylan (known then as Robert Zimmerman) saw Buddy Holly perform at the Duluth Armory in Minnesota on January 31, 1959. Three days later, Holly died in a plane crash.

He briefly attended the University of Minnesota, where he began performing in coffeehouses as Bob Dylan. The former Robert Zimmerman told Playboy in 1978  “I just chose that name and it stuck.”
According to a biographer, he was a fan of Matt Dillon – the sheriff on the TV western Gunsmoke.

In May 1960, Dylan dropped out of college at the end of his first year. Six months later, he traveled to New York City, hoping to perform there and visit his musical idol Woody Guthrie, who was seriously ill with Huntington's disease in Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital.

Bob Dylan made his first recordings at the home of friends Sid and Bob Gleason in East Orange, New Jersey on February 3, 1961. They were versions of "San Francisco Bay Blues" and "Jesus Met the Woman at the Well."

Dylan became a regular in the folk clubs and coffeehouses of Greenwich Village. In the fall of 1961, after one of his performances received a rave review in The New York Times, he signed a recording contract with Columbia Records and released his eponymous debut album on March 19, 1962.

 Initially poor sales led Dylan's self-titled record to be known around Columbia Records as ‘Hammond's Folly’ (John Hammond was producer of Dylan’s early recordings and the man responsible for signing the singer-songwriter).

When he arrived in Greenwich Village he called himself Bob Dylan, but didn’t legally change his name from Robert Zimmerman until August 2, 1962, when he signed his first management contracts.

Bob Dylan in November 1963

Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man" is often considered the first psychedelic recording.

On July 25, 1965 Bob Dylan went electric, plugging in at the Newport Folk Festival. He was booed off the stage for playing an electric guitar, but the event signaled a major change in folk and rock music.

Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" is one of the first successful singles to be longer than three minutes in duration; the accompanying album, Highway 61 Revisited, is also arguably the first successful fusion of rock and folk.

Bob Dylan released the first rock double album with Blonde on Blonde in 1966.

After a serious motorcycle accident in 1966, where he broke his neck Dylan went into temporary seclusion to recover. It prompted rumors that he was brain damaged or dead.

Dylan announced his conversion to Christianity in 1979 . The evangelical Slow Train Coming was a commercial hit, and won Dylan his first Grammy Award. The tour and albums that followed were less successful, however, and Dylan's religious leanings soon became less overt in his music.

Dylan in Toronto April 18, 1980

In 1997 he received the Kennedy Center Honors, the highest award for distinction in the performing arts bestowed in the United States.

Dylan performed in 1997 for Pope John Paul II in Bologna, Italy. At the time Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the current Pope, tried to stop the Papal performance.

Dylan recorded in 2000 the single "Things Have Changed" for the soundtrack of the film Wonder Boys, starring Michael Douglas. The song won Dylan an Academy Award for Best Original Song.

Dylan became in 2008  the first Rock musician ever awarded a Pulitzer Prize. He was given the special award for his "profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power."

In May 2012, Dylan received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.

Dylan in June 2010 By Alberto Cabello from Vitoria Gasteiz - Wikipedia

On October 13, 2016, Dylan was announced as the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature. Dylan was the first American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature since Toni Morrison in 1993.

The choice of Bob Dylan was unconventional because it was the first time a musician and song-writer won the Nobel for Literature. The committee noted he was honored “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”

Bob Dylan said that if he weren't a musician, he would be a teacher. During an interview published in the February/March 2015 issue of AARP magazine, he stated that "if I had to do it all over again, I'd be a schoolteacher." Dylan added that he "probably" would have taught Roman history or theology.

Sources Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc, Artistfacts.

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