Bob Dylan

Topics: Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Folk music Pages: 5 (1220 words) Published: November 14, 2014
Popular Music in America
Mr. Townson
November 3rd, 2013

Tyler Daniels
Mr. Townson
Popular Music in America
November 3rd, 2013
Bob Dylan: Rock and Roll Legend Bibliography
The 1960s were years of great change. There were changes in everything from public opinion and political views to racism and equality. There was also a major change in one factor of American society that will always be around: music. One major patron to this change in music was Bob Dylan. Some consider him to be one of the largest influences on society and pop culture of all time. Living during the time period that he did, he was exposed to several changes in society: some that influenced his music and some that were heavily influenced by his music. Dylan is a prime example of how greatly influential music can be.

Robert Allen Zimmerman, later Bob Dylan, was born in Duluth, Minnesota on May 24, 1941 to Abraham and Beatty Stone Zimmerman (4). When he was young, his family relocated to Hibbing, Minnesota where Robert grew up. Even at a young age, he showed signs of talent such as writing simple poems. He had several influences as a child such as James Dean and Woody Guthrie, but the most significant from his adolescence seemed to be Hank Williams. When he was in high school, he spent much of his time on the piano imitating works by Elvis Presley, Little Richard, and Jerry Lee Lewis (1).

While attending the University of Minnesota, Robert played at several local cafes and coffeehouses performing country and folk songs. He took on the name “Bob Dylan” who many believe was inspired by the poet, Dylan Thomas. Dylan legally changed his name in 1962 (2). In 1960, Dylan dropped out of college and moved to New York, New York. While he was there, he had the opportunity to periodically visit one of his most significant idols, Woody Guthrie, who was in the hospital in New York for a very rare disease of the nervous system (1). Dylan became a regular at these local places that he played at and began writing songs such as “Song to Woody” which was a tribute to Guthrie who was, in a sense, a mentor to Dylan. In 1961, he received reviews from the New York Times and not long after ended up signing a recording contract with Columbia Records.

Bob Dylan and The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan were soon released and marked Dylan as a significant and original poetic voice in American music. It was around this time that, being influenced by the civil rights movements and other occurrences of the time, that he began writing his protest songs and came out with another album titled The Times They Are A-Changin’. This album is what “firmly established Dylan as the definitive songwriter of the 60s protest movement” (1). It included several songs that were known as “finger-pointing songs” like “The Times Are A-Changin’” and “Only a Pawn in Their Game” (3). Being the icon of the movement escalated even more so when he became involved with musician Joan Baez. Their romantic relationship together lasted only two years, but this was more than enough time to benefit both of their careers. Dylan wrote some of Baez’s best works and Baez helped Dylan recruit a countless number of fans. Not long after his relationship with Baez ended, Dylan met Sara Lowndes, fell in love, and married in 1965.

By 1964, Dylan played around two hundred concerts annually, playing protest songs as well as more personal songs. During this time, he met the Beatles and supposedly introduced them to marijuana (2). Not long after, he grew tired of being the “folk” singer and songwriter of the protest movement and he recorded Another Side of Bob Dylan which was more personal and introspective and was also much less politically charged than some of his previous albums. He went on to record the half-electric Bringing It All Back Home which surprised his audience. In fact, on July 25 of 1965, Dylan was publicly booed at the Newport Folk Festival when he performed electrically for the...


Bibliography: Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1993.
5. Rolling Stone Artists: Bob Dylan. n.d. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/artists/bob-dylan/biography.
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