Bob Dylan

Dropping out of college in Minneapolis in 1960, Robert Zimmerman (born May 24th, 1941 in Duluth, Minnesota) reinvented himself as Bob Dylan and travelled to New York seeking out folk legend Woody Guthrie. He found Guthrie ill in hospital with Huntington's Disease and wrote his first song in honour of his hero, throwing himself into the emerging Greenwich Village folk movement. Famous producer John Hammond signed him to Columbia and Dylan's cryptic songs full of biting social commentary delivered in a strange, strangulated voice made him the hero of the protest song movement as youth attitudes hardened in a turbulent world. He enraged the folk fraternity by going electric at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, astonishing fans with the full-blooded rock of his hit single “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Subterranean Homesick Blues”. After a motorcycle accident in 1966 left him severely injured (although the extent of his injuries was never disclosed), he took a break from the business. Almost two years later he returned to the studio where he started recording, but it was a further six years before he would again appear on stage. Planet Waves was released in 1973 with two versions of one of his most famous songs, “Forever Young”. More sporadic releases followed, with Dylan continuing his outspoken political opinions and in 1980, after two years of channeling his Christian faith, his music returned to the secular with the release of Shot of Love. The '90s saw the release of Under the Red Sky, Good As I Been to You, World Gone Wrong and Time Out of Mind and he was later presented with the Kennedy Center Honor by President Bill Clinton. In 2016 Dylan was controversially awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature but famously ignored the prize committee's contact, leading the world to pronounce him arrogant. He finally accepted the award six months later. He has kept up a steady output into the 21st century and, in 2020, returned with the critically acclaimed Rough and Rowdy Ways. The album’s lead single, “Murder Most Foul”, was his longest yet, serving as a sprawling seventeen-minute reflection on the assassination of John F. Kennedy complete with piano contributions from Fiona Apple and Alan Pasqua.

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