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Bob Dylan is a folk rock singer-songwriter whose career began in the early 1960s with songs that chronicled social issues like war and civil rights.
Bob Dylan - Early Influences (2:04)
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Bob Dylan found early inspiration listening to and imitating Little Richard during his teen years.
Bob Dylan and the Hawks went on tour to promote their music and Dylan found himself getting booed.
A short biography of Bob Dylan who transcended musical genres to become one of the greatest folk and rock singers of all time.
George Harrison on the day in Albert Hall when Bob Dylan went electric, ending the folk music scene.
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Folk rock singer-songwriter Bob Dylan was born Robert Allen Zimmerman on May 24, 1941, in Duluth, Minnesota. While attending college, he began performing folk and country songs, taking the name "Bob Dylan." In 1961 Dylan signed his first recording contract. Showing no signs of slowing down, Dylan has continued to tour in recent years, with his recent studio albums including Together Through Life (2009) and Tempest (2012).
"A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom."
Folk rock singer-songwriter Bob Dylan was born Robert Allen Zimmerman on May 24, 1941, in Duluth, Minnesota. Driven by the influences of early rock stars like Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard (whom he used to imitate on the piano at high school dances), the young Dylan formed his own bands, including The Golden Chords as well as a group he fronted under the pseudonym Elston Gunn. While attending the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, he began performing folk and country songs at local cafés, taking the name "Bob Dylan," after the late Welsh poet Dylan Thomas.
In 1960, Dylan dropped out of college and moved to New York where his idol, the legendary folk singer Woody Guthrie was hospitalized with a rare hereditary disease of the nervous system. Dylan visited with Guthrie regularly in his hospital room; he also became a regular in the folk clubs and coffeehouses of Greenwich Village; met a host of other musicians; and began writing songs at an astonishing pace, including "Song to Woody," a tribute to his ailing hero. 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 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.
The 1963 release of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan marked Dylan's emergence as one of the most original and poetic voices in the history of American popular music. The album included two of the most memorable 1960s folk songs, "Blowin' in the Wind" (which later became a huge hit for the folk trio Peter, Paul, and Mary) and "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall." His next album, The Times They Are A-Changin', firmly established Dylan as the definitive songwriter of the 60s protest movement, a reputation that only increased after he became involved with one of the movement's established icons, Joan Baez, in 1963. While his romantic relationship with Baez lasted only two years, it benefited both performers immensely in terms of their music careers—Dylan wrote some of Baez's best-known material, and Baez introduced him to thousands of fans through her concerts. By 1964 Dylan was playing 200 concerts annually, but had become tired of his role as "the" folk singer-songwriter of the protest movement. Another Side of Bob Dylan, recorded in 1964, was a much more personal, introspective collection of songs, far less politically charged than Dylan's previous efforts.
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