Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan


5/24/1941, Duluth, Minnesota USA

Birth Name

Robert Allen Zimmerman



Also Known As

Lucky Wilbury, Jack Frost, Sergei Petrov, Boo Wilbury, Robert Milkwood Thomas, Tedham Porterhouse, Blind Boy Grunt
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Robert Allen Zimmerman was born 24 May 1941 in Duluth MN; his father Abe worked for the Standard Oil Company. Six years later the family moved to Hibbing, often the coldest place in the US, where he taught himself piano and guitar and formed several high school rock…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • On November 5, 2013, Sony will release Bob Dylan : The Complete Album Collection, Vol. One. It will include every full-length studio album (35) and live release (6) in Bob's official Columbia Records canon + a 2-disc Side Tracks collection of non-album singles, B-sides and other rarities. It will also include the first-ever North American release of 1973's Dylan album on CD (Columbia's "blackmail" album, released when Bob switched to Asylum Records for one LP). While most of Bob's catalog has been remastered in the last few years, this set will include remasters of 14 albums previously not remastered. The set will also include a hardcover booklet featuring extensive new album-by-album liner notes - and will also be available as a limited-edition harmonica-shaped USB stick containing all the music (in both MP3 and FLAC lossless formats) and a digital version of the hardcover booklet.

    • When inducting him in 1988, the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame declared Bob Dylan to be "the uncontested poet laureate of the rock and roll era and the pre-eminent singer/songwriter of modern times." He was inducted by Bruce Springsteen, who proclaimed "Elvis freed your body, Bob freed your mind".

    • The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame lists what it considers the "Essential Songs" of an artist to be at the time of their induction. The following are the songs they picked for Bob Dylan when he was inducted in 1988 (listed in the order the R&R HOF website lists them):
      Like a Rolling Stone - Mr. Tambourine Man - Tangled Up in Blue - Visions of Johanna - Masters of War - Blowin' in the Wind - It's All Over Now, Baby Blue - The Times They Are A-Changing - Highway 61 Revisited - Be- Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands

    • On October 13, 2009, Dylan released an album of Christmas standards, Christmas In The Heart. The U.S. royalties, in perpetuity, will benefit Feeding America, the nation's leading hunger-relief charity - while the UN's World Food Programme and Crisis In The UK, will receive the royalties from overseas sales. In announcing his first Christmas and first charity album, Bob said "We must each do what we can to help feed those who are suffering and support efforts to find long-term solutions … It's a tragedy that more than 35 million people in this country alone - 12 million of those children - often go to bed hungry and wake up each morning unsure of where their next meal is coming from."

    • In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine listed the Top 500 Songs of all-time - based on a combination of writing, recording and performance. Bob Dylan wrote 5 of the top 68 and performed 4 of them - including #1 : "Like A Rolling Stone".

      1) Like a Rolling Stone (Highway 61 Revisited)
      14) Blowin' in the Wind (The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan)
      48) All Along the Watchtower [Jimi Hendrix (Electric Ladyland)]
      59) The Times They Are A-Changin' (The Times They Are A-Changin')
      68) Tangled Up in Blue (Blood On The Tracks)
      106) Mr. Tambourine Man (Bringing It All Back Home)
      185) Desolation Row (Highway 61 Revisited)
      190) Knockin' on Heaven's Door (Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid)
      203) Positively 4th Street (Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits)
      230) Just Like a Woman (Blonde On Blonde)
      332) Subterranean Homesick Blues (Bringing It All Back Home)
      364) Highway 61 Revisited (Highway 61 Revisited)
      403) Visions of Johanna (Blonde On Blonde)

    • In 2008, the Pulitzer Prize board awarded Dylan a Special Citation "for his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power" - he was the first rock or folk artist ever so honored. The year before, on June 13, 2007, Bob was awarded the Spanish "Prince of Asturias Award for The Arts" - the jury declaring that he "is considered to be one of the most important songwriters, masterly combining the beauty of his poetry and his commitment to principles." Bob has also received the highest cultural honor the government of France grants - Commandeur de L'Ordre des Artes et des Lettres. In addition, he has been nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature every year since 1997. However, while there's been a growing public campaign by some of the voters, because of both anti-American and anti-music snobbery, he may never win.

    • In 2001, Bob won a "Best Music, Original Song" Oscar and a "Best Original Song" Golden Globe Award for "Things Have Changed" from the movie Wonder Boys (2000). After winning the Oscar, Dylan took it on tour with him, proudly displaying the statute perched atop his amplifier (some reports say it was only a facsimile).

    • On November 16, 2005, Woody Harrelson inducted Bob into the UK Music Hall of Fame for his outstanding contribution to British music and being an integral part of British music culture. In 2002, he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame for similar reasons. Back in 1982, Bob had been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

    • Dylan's 1985 "Live Aid" concert comments about the debt crisis crushing American farmers, widely criticized at the time, inspired Willie Nelson to organize "Farm Aid" - which is not only still helping farmers but led to the passage of the "Agricultural Credit Act of 1987" by the US. Congress.

    • In 1985, Dylan sang on "USA for Africa's" famine relief fundraiser single "We Are the World" - which became the biggest selling single in both US and pop music history.

    • Arc Angels guitarist Charlie Sexton, who recorded and toured with Dylan from 1999 to 2002, has recently rejoined Bob's touring band after an extended hiatus. The 68-year-old Dylan resumed touring in October, 2009 and still plays about 100 shows a year.
      UPDATE : On Dec 1, 2009, Charlie's brother, Will Sexton, suffered a stroke and Charlie has once again left the Dylan touring band in order to help care for his brother.

    • In 1986 and 1987, Dylan toured the world with Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers as his backing band, sharing vocals with Petty on several songs each night. The resulting Live In Australia DVD remains unreleased in the United States (although it was briefly available on VHS).

    • Bob has won 11 Grammy Awards - including the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award presented in 1991.

      1972 - Album Of The Year (The Concert For Bangladesh)
      1979 - Best Male Rock Vocal Performance ("Gotta Serve Somebody")
      1989 - Best Group Rock Performance - Vocal (Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1)
      1991 - Lifetime Achievement Award
      1994 - Best Traditional Folk Album (World Gone Wrong)
      1996 - Best Male Rock Vocal Performance ("Cold Irons Bound")
      1997 - Best Contemporary Folk Album (Time Out of Mind)
      1997 - Album Of The Year (Time Out of Mind)
      2001 - Best Contemporary Folk Album (Love And Theft)
      2006 - Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album (Modern Times)
      2006 - Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance ("Someday Baby")

    • Additionally, thus far six of Bob's recordings have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame [a special Grammy award established in 1973 to honor recordings that are at least twenty-five years old and have "qualitative or historical significance."]

      1994 - Blowin' in the Wind (1963)
      1998 - Like a Rolling Stone (1965)
      1999 - Blonde on Blonde-Album (1966)
      2002 - Mr. Tambourine Man Rock (1965)
      2002 - Highway 61 Revisited Rock-Album (1965)
      2006 - Bringing It All Back Home-Album (1965)

    • Dylan received an honorary Doctorate of Music from Princeton University on June 9, 1970 - which he sang about scornfully and dismissively only two months later in the song "Day Of The Locusts". However, in 2004, when he was again made an honorary Doctor of Music - this time by The University of St. Andrews - he attended that ceremony as well.

    • Bob made his acting debut in Sam Peckinpah's Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973). He plays an enigmatic and nearly speechless hanger-on named Alias who becomes a tertiary member of Billy's gang. Bob also composed the score.

    • In 2005, film Director Martin Scorsese made a documentary about Bob Dylan, entitled No Direction Home: Bob Dylan.

    • Bob tried and failed to stop the release of Sienna Miller's movie, Factory Girl, because he feared it falsely implied that he was responsible for the suicide of Andy Warhol muse Edie Sedgwick. Bob's lawyer claimed that the film's original screenplay depicted an alleged relationship between the two using Dylan's name and suggesting he dumped Sedgwick, leading to her "tragic decline into heroin addiction and eventual suicide". There was no mention of Bob in the released movie. There was, however, a fictional folk singer named Billy Quinn, who was rumored to be taking the place of Bob Dylan.

    • Bob is believed to be "The Jester" in Don McLean's song, "American Pie".

    • On May 3, 2006, Bob began hosting Theme Time Radio Hour, a weekly, prerecorded radio program on XM Satellite Radio. On each show, the music (an eclectic collection including everything from obscure artists of the 1930's to Patti Page to modern folks such as Prince, Blur and LL Cool J) revolved around a chosen theme - "Money", "Weather", etc. On the 100th show (April 15, 2009), the theme was "Goodbye" and the final song was Woody Guthrie's "So Long, It's Been Good To Know Yuh".

    • Bob Dylan has been added to the Baseball Hall of Fame museum in Cooperstown, New York. The museum added the baseball episode from his weekly music show Theme Time Radio House, to its archive. The one-hour episode includes Bob singing an a cappella rendition of Take Me Out To The Ball Game, along with classic baseball-announcing calls.

    • Reported but never verified is the story that during the recording session for "Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35" (with its famous "everybody must get stoned!" chorus), Bob took the group of serious, professional musicians he was working with, got them very drunk and had them all smoke pot. Then, when they returned to the studio, he had each of them play a different instrument than they usually played. After a practice run-through, somebody asked when they were actually going to record the song and Bob countered, "That was it." Even if apocryphal, it makes for a great story.

    • Dylan's song "Like a Rolling Stone" was voted the best song of all time by a Rolling Stone magazine panel.

    • Bob's son, Jakob Dylan, is a songwriter and lead singer with the band The Wallflowers.

    • People struggle with religious labels. Bob is a searcher of truth. He was born Jewish and then became a Christian, of sorts. Dylan denies ever claiming he was "born again", saying "That's just a media term.." Whatever he is, he is not "an agnostic. I've always thought there's a superior power, that this is not the real world and that there's a world to come … this life ain't nothin'. There's no way you're gonna convince me this is all there is to it."

    • In February of 1964, while driving south from New York with friends, Bob insisted on stopping off in North Carolina, unannounced, to visit poet Carl Sandburg. Dylan, dismayed and disappointed, left after only a few minutes when he realized that he couldn't get the venerated man of letters to take him seriously as a fellow poet.

    • A collection of poetry from Dylan's college years was sold for $78,000 at a Christie's auction of rock and pop memorabilia.

    • The Guardian of London once opined: "Dylan invented modern pop music"

    • On December 8, 1997, President Bill Clinton presented Bob with a Kennedy Center Honor in the East Room of the White House, saying : "He probably had more impact on people of my generation than any other creative artist. His voice and lyrics haven't always been easy on the ear, but throughout his career Bob Dylan has never aimed to please. He's disturbed the peace and discomforted the powerful.

    • In 2008, local tourism officials opened a "Bob Dylan Pathway" in the artist's honor in Duluth, Minnesota, his birthplace.

    • Bob has been married and divorced twice:
      Carolyn Dennis (June 4, 1986 - October, 1992)
      Sara Dylan (November 22, 1965 - June 29, 1977)

      He is the father of six children:
      Maria Lowndes Dylan (born October 21, 1961)
      Jesse Byron Dylan (born January 6, 1966)
      Anna Leigh Dylan (born July 11, 1967) Samuel Isaac Abraham Dylan (born July 30, 1968)
      Jakob Luke Dylan (born December 9, 1969)
      Desiree Gabrielle Dennis-Dylan (born January 31, 1985)

      Most of his children shun the limelight, but Jesse is a successful film director and Jakob, a founding member of The Wallflowers, is a well-known singer-songwriter in his own rite.

      Bob has nine grandchildren - four from adopted daughter, Maria, one each from Jesse and Samuel, and three from Jakob - and he proudly displays a "World's Greatest Grandpa" bumper sticker.

    • Bob Dylan has written over 500 songs - which have been recorded by almost 3,000 artists and used in over 300 different movies and TV shows.

    • Through 2009, Dylan has released 61 albums (63 if the two "Traveling Wilburys" albums are included). The total includes 34 studio albums, 13 live albums and 14 compilations. It is estimated that, worldwide, Bob has sold over 75 million recordings.

    • Reported but never verified is the story that during the recording session for "Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35" (with its famous "everybody must get stoned!" chorus), Bob took the group of serious, professional musicians he was working with, got them very drunk and had them all smoke pot. Then, when they returned to the studio, he had each of them play a different instrument than they usually played. After a practice run-through, somebody asked when they were actually going to record the song and Bob countered, "That was it." Even if apocryphal, it makes for a great story.

    • Complete List of Bob Dylan's Aliases
      (Including performances and rare/unpublished work)

      Elmer Johnson - In concert with The Band (1989)
      Blind Boy Grunt - "Broadside" anthology album (1963)
      Elston Gunn - Piano player with Bobby Vee (late '50's)
      Lucky Wilbury - First "Traveling Wilburys" album (1988)
      Sergei Petrov - Writer, Masked and Anonymous (2003)
      Boo Wilbury - Second "Traveling Wilburys" album (1990)
      Jack Fate - Character in Masked and Anonymous (2003)
      Jack Frost - Producer of three recent studio albums (2001-09)
      Bob Landy - Piano on "The Blues Project" compilation album (1964)
      Tedham Porterhouse - Harp player on Ramblin' Jack Elliott album (1964)
      Robert Milkwood Thomas - Piano/vocals on Steve Goodman album (1972)

  • Quotes

    • Dylan: Art is the perpetual motion of illusion. The highest purpose of art is to inspire. What else can you do? What else can you do for anyone but to inspire them?

    • Dylan: In writing songs I've learned as much from Cezanne as I have from Woody Guthrie.

    • Dylan: All the great performers had something in their eyes. It was that "I know something that you don't know." And I wanted to be that kind of performer.

    • Dylan: It was like a flying saucer landed. That's what the sixties were like. Everybody heard about it, but only a few really saw it.

    • Dylan: It's peculiar and unnerving in a way to see so many young people walking around with cell phones and iPods in their ears and so wrapped up in media and video games. It robs them of their self-identity. It's a shame to see them so tuned out to real life. Of course they are free to do that, as if that's got anything to do with freedom. The cost of liberty is high, and young people should understand that before they start spending their life with all those gadgets.

    • Dylan: If I'm here at 80, I'll be doing the same thing. This is all I want to do - it's all I can do. I mean, you don't have to be a 19- or 20-year-old to play this stuff. That's the vanity of that youth-culture ideal. To me that's never been the thing. I've never really aimed myself at any so-called youth culture. I directed it at people who I imagined, maybe falsely so, had the same experiences that I've had, who have been through what I'd been through. But I guess a lot of people just haven't ... I've always been just about being an individual, with an individual point of view. If I've been about anything, it's probably that, and to let some people know that it's possible to do the impossible.

    • Dylan: If I wasn't Bob Dylan, I'd probably think that Bob Dylan has a lot of answers myself.

    • Dylan: Music can save people, but it can`t in the commercial way it`s being used. It`s just too much. It`s pollution.

    • Dylan: People today are still living off the table scraps of the sixties. They are still being passed around - the music and the ideas.

    • Dylan: The closest I ever got to the sound I hear in my mind was on individual bands in the "Blonde on Blonde" album. It`s that thin, that wild mercury sound. It`s metallic and bright gold, with whatever that conjures up. That`s my particular sound. I haven`t been able to succeed in getting it all the time. Mostly I`ve been driving at a combination of guitar, harmonica and organ.

    • Dylan: A poem is a naked person . . . some people say that I am a poet.

    • Dylan: A lot of people can't stand touring but to me it's like breathing. I do it because I'm driven to do it.

    • Dylan: I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom.

    • Dylan: You don't necessarily have to write to be a poet. Some people work in gas stations and they're poets. I don't call myself a poet because I don't like the word. I'm a trapeze artist.

    • Dylan: My childhood is so far's like I don't even remember being a child. I think it was someone else who was a child.

    • Dylan: Just because you like my stuff doesn't mean I owe you anything.

    • Dylan: They say, "Dylan never talks." What the hell is there to say? That's not the reason an artist is in front of people. An artist has come for a different purpose. Maybe a self-help group - maybe a Dr. Phil - would say, "How you doin'?" I don't want to get harsh and say I don't care. You do care, you care in a big way, otherwise you wouldn't be there. But it's a different kind of connection. It's not a light thing. ... It's alive every night, or it feels alive every night.

  • Thumbs up

    When i first listened to Bob Dylan I thought to my self why is this guy recording music while being strangled to death. That being said Bob Dylan and his music has grown on me over the years, even his newer stuff is pretty good, I never listen to his religious stuff though. My favorite song by Bob Dylan would have to be Hurricane, that song just has a great real story behind it, and to this day it is one of my top favorite songs of all time. I hope Bob Dylan is with us for years and keeps making great music.moreless
  • It's Bob Dylan

    What to say about bob Dylan. I think that he was one of the most controversial artist of all time. With his music stemming about poltical view, about our world and much more. He changed the standard for music we call "folk rock", even if he didn't considered him self as a folk singer. He had and still have many hits. My favorite song from him is Mr. tamborine man and Don't think twice, Its alright. Those songs i can relate to the most. When you listen to dylan's lyrics it just speaks out to you. Then you start to understand a little bit of how his mind works. For me the all time best.moreless