Regarding significant musical movements throughout history, especially the twentieth century, few had more of an influential impact or were more important than the folk revolution that took shape in the mid-nineteen hundreds in the United States. One of the leaders of this revolution was Robert Allen Zimmerman, known by his stage name, Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan was a major influential musical icon for today’s artists as well as future artists to come. His music was embodied by historical context and spoke about what was going on throughout history in the past and present. He knew his music was shaping the industry which he worked. “I’d either drive people away or they’d come closer to see what it was all about. There was no in-between. There were a lot of better singers and better musicians around these places but there wasn’t anybody close in nature to what I was doing. Folk songs were they way I explored the universe, they were pictures and the pictures were worth more than anything I could say” (Dylan, 18). He made numerous contributions to his genre and embodied the spirit and sound of the 20th century. Born in 1941, in Minnesota, Dylan grew up with a very different childhood then other famous singers. He was brought up Jewish and spent most of his time around family since they were the majority of the Jewish people that were in town. He seemed at an early age to develop a natural talent for writing poetry. Dylan took a deep interest in listening to the radio and admired the people that were on it. He began to notice his deep love for music in high school when he taught himself to play the piano and guitar. Country music, folk, blues, and rhythm had huge impacts on him. Hank Williams was a major inspiration to Dylan as well. Dylan taught himself the skills that he needed to be noticed in the music world and this allowed him to obtain his present status as a forefather of folk music in the rock era. In 1959, Robert left home to attend the University of Minnesota. Shortly afterwards, he tried out for a gig at a coffeehouse in town because he was finally ready to share his music. When the owner asked for Robert’s name, he simply replied, “Bob Dylan” and that is where the legend was born. Dylan dropped out of college and moved to New York where his idol, the legendary folk singer Woody Guthrie was hospitalized and became a regular at coffeehouses around the tri-state area. He wanted to know everything about the business and how Woody became famous. Dylan wanted to make it big and would do anything to achieve his dream. Accordingly, a song from the pinnacle of his career embodies his style and poetic capabilities, acting as a reference point of the music it followed and the music that was to come. “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowland” is an incredibly remarkable example of the work that started Bob Dylan’s career off right. In 1961, Dylan’s dreams were becoming a reality he was finally going to become a star. Columbia Records offered Dylan a major music contract, and in March of 1962, he released his first album, Bob Dylan, and his second, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, in 1963. Those albums changed the music industry and changed what people listened to. To understand how he impacted the 20th century, one would have to look at his background and understand how he developed musically. “Bob Dylan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, the same year as the Beatles. His presenter was Bruce Springsteen, who’d derived no small amount of influence from Dylan’s career. “Bob freed your mind the way Elvis freed your body,” said Springsteen. “To this day, wherever great rock music is being made, there is the shadow of Bob Dylan” (Bob Dylan Biography). Bob Dylan was simply a music icon and impacted all different kinds of people.
“Sure, my music is always speaking to times that are recent. But let’s not forget human nature isn’t bound to any specific time in history. And it always starts with that” (Gilmore,...
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