"Blowin' In The Wind" ... "Mr. Tambourine Man" ... "The Times They
Are a-Changin' " ... "My Back Pages" ... "Chimes of Freedom" ...
"It's All Over Now Baby Blue" ... "Maggie's Farm" ...
HREF="http://www.addict.com/music/Dylan,_Bob/Like_A_Rolling_Stone.ram"> "Like A Rolling Stone"
Rolling Stone"(RealAudio excerpt) ... "Just Like A Woman" ... "All
Along The Watchtower"
... "Lay, Lady Lay" ... "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" ... "If
Not For You" ... "Tangled Up In Blue" ... "Forever Young" ...
"Gotta Serve Somebody" ...
You get the idea. On this day in 1941, Robert Allen Zimmerman, who
later changed his name to Bob Dylan, was born in Duluth, Minn.
Dylan is one of the most influential folk-rock artists of our time. Since
his magnificent songwriting and innovative style changes have affected
a vast range of artists. Many of his debtors are greats in their own right:
the Beatles and the Rolling Stones in the '60s (check out "You've Got To
Hide Your Love Away" by the
former and "Jigsaw Puzzle" by the latter), Patti Smith and Bruce
Springsteen in the '70s, U2 and R.E.M. in the '80s and Beck and Ani
DiFranco in the '90s.
After attending the University of Minnesota, Dylan (who legally changed
his name in 1962 to honor Dylan Thomas) began performing with his
acoustic guitar at coffeehouses. To seek out his idol, Woody Guthrie,
Dylan moved to New York City in 1961 and visited the dying Guthrie in
New Jersey. A New York Times review of one of his shows caught
the eye of legendary talent scout John Hammond, who signed Dylan to
produced the young folk singer's eponymous debut album.
But it was 1963's The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, on which Dylan wrote
the tunes, that first showed the depth of his talent. With such protest
songs as "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall" and "Masters of War," the young
songwriter matched the genius of folkies Guthrie and Pete Seeger and
attracted the attention of folk songstress Joan Baez, who brought Dylan on
tour with her.
After hundreds of concerts and a few more brilliant, groundbreaking
albums, Dylan jolted the music world with 1965's Bringing It All Back
Home, on which he mixed his usual folk songs with the sound of a rock
In July of that year, he introduced his new electric music at the Newport
and was jeered by purists. But there was no turning back. Dylan began
mixing his amazing poetry with electric rock -- a combination that quite
simply gave birth
to much of the rest of pop music in the ensuing decades. The next two
albums, 1965's Highway 61 Revisited and the double Blonde on
Blonde the next year, were Dylan at his peak and remain nearly
unrivaled in their greatness 30 years later. His lyrics to such
masterpieces as "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues," "Sad Eyed Lady of the
Lowlands" and "Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again" were
analyzed endlessly and his stark, acerbic vocal style became widely
After surviving a bad motorcycle wreck in 1966, Dylan retreated from the
recording songs with the Band that would be released in the mid-'70s as
The Basement Tapes. But Dylan officially returned from his accident
with the understated John
Wesley Harding, which ignored the psychedelic music that was the rage
at the time. That album and his 1969 release, Nashville
Skyline, were precursors of the country-rock sound that gave rise to the
Eagles, Linda Ronstadt and a score of others.
After getting married, Dylan concentrated on raising a family, while
various compilation and live albums were released by Columbia. He was
back with a vengeance with 1974's Blood on the Tracks, which
chronicled the pain of a dissolving marriage and demonstrated that the
master songwriter's talents hadn't deteriorated in the new decade.
Classics such as "Shelter From The Storm" and "Idiot Wind" were
prominent on FM radio. Dylan then began the communal "Rolling Thunder
Revue" tour during which he collaborated with the likes of Baez,
Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Allen Ginsberg, Joni Mitchell and Arlo Guthrie.
He released the top-selling Desire in 1975. Four years later,
Dylan -- who was born Jewish -- announced that he had become a born-again
Christian, and his next few albums, including that year's Slow Train
Coming, were dominated by his adopted religion.
Dylan's output in the '80s was less majestic, only 1983's
Infidels and 1989's Oh Mercy, produced by Daniel Lanois (U2,
Peter Gabriel), tapped the strength of his earlier work. But 1985's compilation,
Biograph, was one of the first of the now-ubiquitous box sets and
1991's The Bootleg Series was an astounding collection of
unreleased material, some of which was even better than his previously issued
In the early '90s, Dylan released two albums of traditional folk
songs, 1992's Good As I Been to You and 1993's World Gone
Wrong, giving many the impression that his best songwriting days
were well behind him. He has spent most of this decade on an endless tour,
which has yielded performances of erratic quality. This was interrupted in
1997, when he was hospitalized in critical condition with a rare heart
inflammation. He recovered and rebounded with his best album since the
'70s, 1997's Time Out Of Mind, which included heartfelt songs of
desolation such as "Lovesick" and
HREF="http://www.addict.com/music/Dylan,_Bob/Highlands.ram">"Highlands"(RealAudio excerpt). Dylan backed the album
with a world tour, and Time Out Of Mind was named Album of the Year
during that year's
Grammy Awards. During the awards telecast, Dylan's performance was
amusingly interrupted by a gatecrasher who danced topless with the words
"Soy Bomb" (Spanish for "I Am The Bomb") painted across his chest. Dylan
laughed off the
intrusion and was praised for his participation in the show. The
living legend is now touring the West Coast with Van Morrison and Joni
Other birthdays: Sara Dash (Labelle), 56; Derek Quinn (Freddie & the
Dreamers), 56; Steve Upton (Wishbone Ash), 52; Albert Bouchard (Blue Oyster
Cult), 51; John Grimaldi (Argent), 43; Rosanne Cash, 43; and Rich Robinson