EARLY LIFE• Bob Dylan was born “Robert Allan Zimmerman,” on May 24th, 2012 in Duluth, Minnesota. He is 70 years old.• Dylan’s father was a furniture and appliance salesman, and Dylan’s childhood was fairly standard.• In 1947, his family moved to Hibbing, Minnesota where he spent his youth.• At the age of ten, he began writing poetry, and during his teenage years he learned to play the harmonica, guitar, and piano by teaching himself. • He mostly enjoyed rock n’ roll and country music as a child, like Hank Williams and Elvis Presley. However, he ultimately found rock n’ roll to be emotionally limiting. • Two of his several high school bands were: The Golden Chords and Elston Gunn and his Rock Boppers.• By 1959, Dylan was starting to find his voice and began performing as a folk musician while attending the University of Minnesota.
A LEGEND IN THE MAKING"Youre born, you know, the wrong names, wrongparents. I mean, that happens. You call yourself whatyou want to call yourself. This is the land of the free.“ –Bob Dylan on his name change, 2004• Bob Dylan began performing folk music in many famed clubs through out Minneapolis.• Dylan soon lost interest in his studies and his musical career took over his life. • In 1960, he dropped out of college and moved to NYC to become a part of Greenwich Village’s burgeoning folk music scene.• He was successful and quickly obtained a record deal. The album Bob Dylan achieved limited success, but was almost entirely cover songs.• In 1963, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan was released (cover pictured to the right) and became one of the most legendary albums of all time. It contains two Dylan songs that have been covered countless times: “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall.”
THE FREEWHEELIN’ BOB DYLAN HAS BEENCOVERED BY MANY ARTISTSHere’s a video of Sam Cooke, a soul singer, covering “Blowin’ in the Wind”:
EARLY PERIOD BOB DYLAN• Dylan’s early period albums including, in order, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, The Times They Are a-Changin’, Another Side of Bob Dylan, Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, Blonde on Blonde, and John Wesley Harding, are Dylan’s greatest critical successes. • These albums were all recorded between 1963 and 1967.• Over the course of these albums’ releases, Dylan’s lyrical style became increasingly opaque and surreal. This is one of the main criticisms that Dylan has had to face.• It’s such a prevalent criticism of his work that “Weird” Al Yankovic released a parody song of Dylan’s style. It’s called “Bob,” and features a strong impression of his vocal style and utterly nonsensical lyrics.
CHRISTIANITY• In the late 70s, Dylan converted to Christianity. The albums recorded in this period, most notably Slow Train Coming, were generally unpopular with both fans and critics. • Dylan was known for his social criticism, and social critics are generally not Christians. I believe that this is the cause for his brief unpopularity.• Not only was he a social critic, but he was critical of Christians. A good example is the song, “With God on Our Side.”
BOB DYLAN AND THE HIPPIES• Bob Dylan’s songs about peace lead him to become a figure in the counterculture and hippie movements of the 60s.• However, he quickly became very disillusioned with the counterculture by his fourth album, Another Side of Bob Dylan. It was named this because it wasn’t full of protest songs like his previous two albums. He didn’t feel that the counterculture could actually change society and began to turn away from it. • He had this to say about his role in the hippie movement: "The world was absurd ... I had very little in common with and knew even less about a generation that I was supposed to be the voice of,"
THE NEVERENDING TOUR• Since 1988, Dylan and his band have played over 2300 concerts. However, over the years he has changed his vocal style considerably. He frequently changes the melodies to songs. This has led to widespread criticism from his fans.  Nonetheless, he continues to play around 100 shows per year.• In 2011, Bob Dylan even toured in China and Singapore.• Bob Dylan’s last proper album (his 33rd), Together Through Life, was released on April 28th, 2009 to positive reviews.
CONCLUSION• Over the years, Bob Dylan has been incredibly successful, both critically and financially.• He’s had some low points (such as Desire), but also some very high points (Blood on the Tracks). Along the way, he’s managed to revolutionize folk music and change what pop music could be. No successful pop song could be over 3 or 4 minutes, until “Like a Rolling Stone” came along.• Dylan is a lasting figure of the world’s musical heritage and America’s especially.