Bob Dylan

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Bob Dylan Biography

Bob Dylan (born Robert Zimmerman, 24.5.1941)

Bob Dylan is an American songwriter who rose to fame in the 1960s.

Bob Dylan: Childhood

Dylan was born in Duluth, Minnesota and was later raised near Lake Superior. He has a Jewish heritage.

Bob Dylan's first band was the Shadow Blasters, followed by The Golden Chords, who played cover versions of popular songs. In 1959, he played with Bobby Vee, hand-clapping and playing piano. That same year, he moved to the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

Upon hearing Odetta, he traded in his electric guitar for an acoustic and his love of folk music, as opposed to rock 'n' roll, slowly grew. He began playing at coffee houses such as the 10 O'clock Scholar and became a part of the Dinkytown folk scene.

Bob Dylan: New York City & the Beginnings of Fame

In 1961, Dylan moved to New York City, intending to visit his hero, Woody Guthrie, who was in hospital there. Eventually, his music was heard by John Hammond, who signed him to Columbia Records.

Dylan's debut album was entitled Bob Dylan and was released in 1962. It featured folk and blues standard as well as two of his own songs. That year, he signed a management deal with Albert Grossman.

The second album, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan was an introduction to his protest songs, featuring one of his most notorious songs, 'Blowin' In The Wind'. He soon became a prominent figure in the Greenwich Village folk movement. Artists including the Hollies, Manfred Mann and Sonny and Cher had hits with Dylan's songs in the 1960s.

Bob Dylan often performed with Joan Baez at protest rallies and the pair were figureheads of the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

Dylan's next albums were the Times They Are A-Changin', followed by Another Side of Bob Dylan.

In 1965, Dylan released Bringing It All Back Home, featuring something of a style shift, with songs such as 'Subterranean Homesick Blues'. Appearing at that year's Newport Folk Festival, he played his electric guitar, apparently alienating a huge section of the audience.

Released in 1965, the single 'Like A Rolling Stone' reached number two in the US and number 4 in the UK. Shortly after, came Dylan's Highway '61 Revisited. The next year, Dylan travelled to Nashville and recorded Blonde On Blonde. His 1966 world tour culminated in the notorious gig at Manchester's Free Trade Hall, which saw one angry fan shout "Judas!" when Dylan played his electric guitar.

In 1967, after a break following a motorcycle accident, Dylan released the album John Wesley Harding, which included 'All Along The Watchtower', famously covered by Jimi Hendrix.

Dylan's 1969 release, Nashville Skyline was a country record, featuring Johnny Cash and the hit single 'Lay Lady Lay'.

Dylan's life as the critical darling ended abruptly in the early 1970s, when Greil Marcus famously asked "What is this shit?" in a Rolling Stone review of Self Portrait.

In 1972, Bob Dylan provided the soundtrack to Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, including the song 'Knockin' On Heaven's Door', which has been covered by over 150 artists. The next year, he signed with Geffen and released Picture Waves with The Band.

Following a marriage-break-up, Dylan released Blood On the Tracks in 1974, though it did not fare well with many critics, such as the NME's Nick Kent. In 1976, Dylan appeared at The Band's final performance, along with Joni Mitchell and Neil Young. The performance was released on the album the Last Waltz.

In the late 1970's, Dylan became a born-again Christian and released two Christian gospel albums, Slow Train Coming and Saved.

Though Dylan continued to release albums in the 1980s, much of it was overlooked, both commercially and critically. Of his more respected work of the era, 1983's Infidels stood out. In 1988, he was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, with a speech by Bruce Springsteen. His 1990 album Under the Red Sky was so poorly received that he did not make another album for seven years.

It was not until 2001's Love and Theft that Dylan fell back into favour with his audience, with many applauding its wide range of styles, including jazz, swing and lounge ballads.

In 2004, his autobiography Chronicles: Volume One reached number two on the New York Times bestseller list.

In 2006, Bob Dylan's Modern Times album reached number one in the US charts. The same year, he began hosting a weekly radio show, entitled 'Theme Time Radio Hour'. The show was later broadcast by the BBC.

In 2007, Todd Haynes wrote and directed the film I'm Not There, which was inspired by Dylan's life and music. A number of different actors played Dylan in the movie, most notably Cate Blanchett, but also Christian Bale, Heath Ledger and Richard Gere. The same year, Dylan authorized the first ever official remix of one his songs. Mark Ronson had asked to remix 'Most Likely You'll Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine).'

In July 2008, it was announced by CBS that they would release a long-awaited bootleg series, entitled Tell Tale Signs: Rare and Unreleased 1989-2006.

Bob Dylan: Personal Life

In 1965, Bob Dylan married Sara Lownds. They had four children together: Jesse Byron, Anna Lea, Samuel Isaac Abraham and Jakob Luke. Bob also adopted Sara's daughter Maria Lownds. Bob and Sara divorced in 1977.

Bob Dylan then married his backing singer, Carolyn Dennis in 1986. They had one daughter, Desiree Gabrielle Dennis-Dylan, in 1986. They divorced in 1992.

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Bob Dylan Picture Gallery

final night bob dylan in concert 281113
final night bob dylan in concert 281113
final night bob dylan in concert 281113
final night bob dylan in concert 281113
final night bob dylan in concert 281113

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The Latest Bob Dylan News

Music Fans Crown Ozzy Osbourne And Lady Gaga "hardest Artists To Understand"

18th April 2014

Music fans have named Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus and Rihanna in their top ten hardest artists to understand lyrically. 2000...

French Racial Hatred Charges Against Bob Dylan Dropped

16th April 2014

Folk rocker Bob Dylan is no longer facing prosecution in France over allegations of inciting racial hatred in a magazine...

Marcus Mumford To Pen Unheard Bob Dylan Tracks

27th March 2014

Marcus Mumford is using unheard Bob Dylan lyrics for a new project.The Mumford and Sons frontman has penned new words...

Elvis Costello & Marcus Mumford Turn Lost Bob Dylan Lyrics Into New Album

26th March 2014

Elvis Costello and Marcus Mumford have signed up to help music producer T Bone Burnett turn lost Bob Dylan lyrics...

Alexandra Shulman Wanted Music Career

18th March 2014

Alexandra Shulman initially wanted to go into the music industry.The editor of British Vogue magazine confessed she was charmed by...

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Bob Dylan Reviews

Bob Dylan - Tempest Album Review Album Review

22nd November 2012

What more can be said about Bob Dylan's signature voice that hasn't been said before?...

Bob Dylan - Various Artists, I'm Not There: Original Soundtrack Album Review

12th November 2007

Various ArtistsI'm Not There: Original SoundtrackAlbum ReviewBob Dylan has always been covered - The Byrds,...

Bob Dylan, Live dates in April Not Categorized

9th March 2007

As previously announced, Bob Dylan returns to these shores in April for his first shows...

Bob Dylan - Modern Times Album Review

11th September 2006

Bob DylanModern TimesAlbum ReviewDylan's first album since 2001's Love and Theft, Modern Times has been...

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Bob Dylan Festivals

Hop Farm

5th June 2014

Optimus Alive! 08

10th July 2008


17th July 2014

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Bob Dylan Footage Film / Movie Reviews

The Other Side of the Mirror: Bob Dylan Live at the Newport Folk Festival 2007, Review by Paul Brenner

Lerner, utilizing footage shot for his folk festival documentaries, presents Dylan in context with full...

Masked & Anonymous 2003, Review by Norm Schrager

Masked & Anonymous, as a title, comes across as a vague, artsy moniker as inaccessible...

The Last Waltz 1978, Review by David Bezanson

The Band were one of the best rock groups of the '60s and '70s, creating...

Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid 1973, Review by Christopher Null

Sam Peckinpah's virtually unseen Western turns out to be unseen for a reason. Interminably...

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The Latest Bob Dylan Press Releases

'Bob Dylan In The 80s' Volume One To Be Released March 25th 2014

23rd January 2014

ATO Records is excited to announce the release of Bob Dylan In The 80s: Volume One...

Bob Dylan: Complete Album Collection Vol. One / The Very Best Of - Released 4th November 2013

25th September 2013

Sony Music and Columbia Records are proud to announce the release of the 'Bob Dylan...

Bob Dylan's The Bootleg Series, Vol. 10 Another Self Portrait (1969 - 1971) Out August 26th 2013

16th July 2013

35 Rarities And Previously Unreleased Recordings
Highlight Latest Volume Of Artist's...

Bob Dylan And His Band Confirm Special Live Dates In November 2013

13th June 2013

Bob Dylan's five previous studio albums, including his latest, Tempest...

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ritamay's picture


After decades of believing my ideal man to be brown eyed and dark I just realised most of my exes possessed one or more Dylanesque feature. It wasn't deliberate but most had long, curly, light brown hair, and/or blue eyes - even the pout!!

3 months 3 weeks ago
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BOBBEE's picture


I am at the worse possible place in my life. I watched the Martin Scorcese docu on Bob Dylan. I loved it! I bought my first CD and the Scorcese DVD. The late 60's 70's was my era BUT I was not there. So it has taken 40 or 50 years for me to find Bob Dylan and there is just something about him, his words, his personality that I felt about him as a young man. He made me laugh (in a good way.) This has become a good thing for me at this time. I want to see him but the baseball fields are too far away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope he comes to Jersey soon. His music, his words are wonderful one can't help but smile!

7 years 8 months ago
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egygurl's picture


im a 14 year old egyptian gurl who unfourtantly never went to a dylan concert cause he doesnt do any in middleeast anywayz after listining to only few song i know he is one of the greatest most intellctual artistic minds america has seen if i ever go 2 america i wouldlove to know alot more about this very smart person he even erased my anti-semtism if thats how you spell it

7 years 3 weeks ago
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Rrivkah18's picture


I don't want to say anything bad here, but SUZE ROTOLO's Memoirs are out of place at this time in her life. This was a pure money making scheme.

5 years 11 months ago
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woodstock's picture


what about Time Out of Mind? I grew up with Bob Dylan's music, and I've been a fan since day one. Bob was born in '41 and I was born in '42 so I related to his music immediately. I'm a collector,(small time) mostly all cd's and some great posters. I have all 8 of the bootleg series and also the beautiful, beautiful set of The Traveling Wilburys and I'm current on everything he's recorded in the past, oh, I don't know, 20 years? maybe. So I'm thrilled that he's had this success late in life, and I say rock on little darlin' I'm hoping to get every single cd case and make a piece of art from them. Oh did you mention MTV Unplugged? The DVD from that gig is priceless. Oh did you mention The Kennedy Center honor? Or that he sang "The Chimes of Freedom" at Clinton's inauration, his appearance at Martin Luther King's march on Washington, and the I have a dream speech, August '63. The list is long my friends.

4 years 10 months ago
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voegelin's picture


interesting mix of comments - straight out of a dylan song - a lost person who is found again, an islander and a trickster - Jokerman, Carribean Wind, Mozambiqueand Desoaltion Row all rolled into one and - o yeah - add one more freaky character (no offense to all the above because in dylan land to be freaky is to be cool) me - a guy from Australia with a dylan fixation for 30 years who just doesnt care about any bad press dylan gets - the man is simply beyond all that stuff - and likeus writing in this obscure column - ok about our own weirdness. congrats you guys and see you in the man's next great song

7 years 4 months ago
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Rrivkah18's picture


I would say that Bob Dylan spent $200,000.00 on his New Year's Eve Party. It is only a guess, but if he had alot of guests, I think that my guess is pretty much accurate.

6 years 3 months ago
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islander's picture


the man is a living legend...he is awesome. I once was in one of his concert in Sydney, Australia..i'd say it's a lifetime experience. Though i'm from a small island in the middle of nowhere, his influence here musically and lyrically cannot be compared!!

7 years 6 months ago
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Rrivkah18's picture


I would like to help in rennovating the london lovenest, or what have you? I would try to "M'kadosh" the flat. This of course, is a spritual term, but I think that is what the "flat" needs!Peace to everyone!Rivkah

8 years 4 weeks ago
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