Bob Dylan

(b. 1941)

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan

(b. 1941) 

Bob Dylan - (b. May 24, 1941, Duluth, Minnesota) -American folk, rock, and blues artist. Born Robert Allen Zimmerman.

 Bob Dylan hit the music scene in the early 1960s, and his unique style and thought-provoking lyrics caught the attention of music fans and music critics. Dylan is as best known for re-inventing himself and his musical style as he is for his performances. Dylan significantly influenced many popular musicians of the 1960s and beyond, including the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and many others. At one point, his fame and influence became so great, he was popularly referred to as "The Voice of a Generation." He first gained attention through his creative reinvention of folk music, citing the influences of folk greats Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger. Many of his folk fans showed open revulsion at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1965, when Dylan and his band "plugged in," and played an electric set, rather than the traditional folkie acoustic music he was known for at the time.

Robert Allen Zimmerman was born in northern Minnesota's Mesabi Iron Range, into a Jewish family. His father was a shopkeeper, and young Bob Zimmerman grew up in a typical upper-Midwestern middle-class household of the 1940s and 1950s. He learned to play the guitar, and tried emulating some of the musical stars of the 1950s, such as Little Richard and Elvis Presley. After going off to the University of Minnesota, he fell more and more into the local music scene, and was known for bringing his guitar to parties and events, sitting in a corner, and playing. (Other famous musicians, from Paul McCartney, to Billy Joel, have recounted the positive effect that playing music at teen and young adult gatherings on their ability to meet girls). Zimmerman began using the name "Bob Dylan," after the the late Irish poet, Dylan Thomas. After he discovered folk music, and especially the music of folk legend Woody Guthrie, Dylan eventually dropped out of college and made his way to New York City, to try his hand as a musician and to meet his idol, Woody Guthrie. Arriving in New York in 1960,he visited often with Guthrie, who was dying of a hereditary disease, and became known in the folk scene in the city.

In New York's Greenich Village, famous for beat music and the folk scene, Dylan worked any gig he could find in jazz and folk clubs. Sometimes he played for pay, sometimes he or a girl he worked with would literally pass the hat among the audience asking for money as he played. Dylan worked his way into the folkie social scene, becoming friends with numerous folk and beat artists who had influence in that music genre.

The first significant song written by Bob Dylan ,"Song to Woody," is a tribute to Dylan's idol, Woody Guthrie. The song was released on Dylan's eponymous (self-titled) debut album, Bob Dylan in 1962. The song shows Dylan's adoration of folk legend Woody Guthrie. This song is based on a Guthrie song, "1913 Massacre". The song also makes references to folk and blues icons Cisco Houston and Leadbelly, whose music Dylan appreciated, played, and imitated.

In the fall of 1961, after one of his performances received a rave review in The New York Times, Dylan signed a recording contract with the legendary talent scout John H. Hammond, of Columbia Records. Released early in 1962, Bob Dylan contained only two original songs, but showcased Dylan's gravelly-voiced singing style in a number of traditional folk songs and covers of blues songs.

Dylan received a rave review of one of his club performances in The New York Times in the autumn of 1961, and was soon signed to a recording contract with Columbia Records. He recorded and released his first album, the self-titled Bob Dylan, in on March 19, 1962. Dylan was only 20 years old. The record album contained only two original Dylan songs, "Song to Woody," and "Talkin' New York," but it showcased Dylan's gravelly-voiced singing style on a number of traditional folk songs and covers of blues songs.

 In 1964, Dylan met the Beatles in New York, and offered them some marijuana, which the British pop stars had never used before. Dylan and the Beatles later said, "We just laughed all night."

Bob Dylan's 47th album, Christmas In The Heart, was released on October 13, 2009. All royalties form this album go to the charity Feeding America, guaranteeing more than four million meals that will be provided to more than 1.4 million people in need in the United States during the 2009-2010 holiday season. Bob Dylan is also donating all of his future U.S. royalties from this album to Feeding America in perpetuity. Songs performed by Dylan on this new album include, “Here Comes Santa Claus,” “Winter Wonderland,” “Little Drummer Boy” and “Must Be Santa.”

Dylan's 2009 Fall Concert Tour kicked off on October 4, 2009 with a two-hour show at the intimate (1,300) Moore Theater in Seattle, Washington.

In October, 2016, Bob Dylan won a Nobel Prize for Literature.

Dylan's major musical influences include: Hank Williams, Muddy Waters, Ferdinand 'Jelly Roll' Morton, Leadbelly, Mance Lipscomb, Big Joe Williams and Woody Guthrie.

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 Video from "The Other Side of the Mirror" by Murray Lerner, Bob Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival early 1960s

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Family and Personal Information

Abram Zimmerman --Father

Beatrice "Beatty" Stone Zimmerman--Mother

Sara Lownds (b. October 28, 1939 )--1st Wife; married to Dylan from November 22, 1965 to June 1977. Mother of Jesse, Anna, Samuel, and Jakob Dylan.

Carolyn Dennis (b. 1954 )--2nd Wife; married to Dylan from June , 1986 to October, 1992. Mother of Desiree Gabrielle Dennis-Dylan.


Maria Lownds Dylan - adopted daughter (b. 1961) (Maria is the daughter of Sara Dylan from her first marriage)

Jesse Byron Dylan- son (b. Jan. 6, 1966)

Anna Lea Dylan - daughter

Samuel Isaac Abraham Dylan- son

Jakob Luke Dylan- son (b. Dec. 9, 1969)


Desiree Gabrielle Dennis-Dylan - (b. January 31, 1986)



1959: Diploma, Hibbing (Minn.) High School

1959: Attended the University of Minnesota (dropped out after six months)



1941: Born into a Jewish Family

Converted to Christianity

Began Following Orthodox Judaism

Aliases, Psuedonyms, and Nicknames:

Elston Gunnn (alias Dylan used when he played once with Bobby Vee)

Jack Frost (alias used as a music producer)

Lucky Wilbury/Boo Wilbury

The Voice of Protest

The Voice of a Generation

The Bard

Click Here for Bob Dylan Videos

Books By Bob Dylan

Books About Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan's Bands

The Shadow Blasters (High School Band)

The Golden Chords (High School Band)

The Band

The Grateful Dead

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

The Traveling Wilburys (Roy Orbison, George Harrison, Tom Petty, and

Musicians and Bands who Dylan has toured and recorded with:

Joan Baez

The Band-

Mark Knopfler

Johnny Cash

The Grateful Dead

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

The Traveling Wilburys (Roy Orbison, George Harrison, Tom Petty, and

David Hidalgo (accordionist for Los Lobos)

Links and Resources on Bob Dylan

 Bob Dylan--Official Website of Bob Dylan

 Bob Dylan Biography-bio.com

Bob Dylan Videos


Olof Chronicles

Ballad of a Thin Man -session and concert dates and set lists

Bob's a terrific father, says Dylan's secret wife--Telegraph.co.uk, April 13, 2001


Reviews of Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan’s “Christmas in the Heart”: Fricke’s First Listen -Rolling Stone, Oct. 04, 2009

About Us

Bio of the History Guy


Site Map--revision in progress

Bob Dylan Discography:

Bob Dylan, 1962

Christmas In The Heart, 2009


Books By Bob Dylan

Books About Bob Dylan

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