Bob Dylan Bob Dylan

A-Z SONGS of Bob Dylan (449)

About Bob Dylan

Photo of Bob Dylan Bob Dylan (legally Robert Dylan; born Robert Allen Zimmerman, May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter. Often considered to be one of the greatest songwriters in history, Dylan has been a major figure in popular culture over his 60-year career. He rose to prominence in the 1960s, when his songs "Blowin' in the Wind" (1963) and "The Times They Are a-Changin'" (1964) became anthems for the civil rights and antiwar movements. Initially modeling his style on Woody Guthrie's folk songs, Robert Johnson's blues, and what he called the "architectural forms" of Hank Williams's country songs, Dylan added increasingly sophisticated lyrical techniques to the folk music of the early 1960s, infusing it "with the intellectualism of classic literature and poetry". His lyrics incorporated political, social, and philosophical influences, defying pop music conventions and appealing to the decade's burgeoning counterculture.

Dylan was born and raised in St. Louis County, Minnesota. Following his self-titled debut album of traditional folk songs in 1962, he made his breakthrough with The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan the next year. The album featured "Blowin' in the Wind" and "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall" which, like many of his early songs, adapted the tunes and phrasing of older folk songs. He released the politically charged The Times They Are a-Changin' and the more lyrically abstract and introspective Another Side of Bob Dylan in 1964. In 1965 and 1966, Dylan drew controversy among folk purists when he adopted electrically amplified rock instrumentation, and in the space of 15 months recorded three of the most influential rock albums of the 1960s: Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited (both 1965) and Blonde on Blonde (1966). When Dylan made his move from acoustic folk and blues music to rock, the mix became more complex. His six-minute single "Like a Rolling Stone" (1965) expanded commercial and creative boundaries in popular music.

In July 1966, a motorcycle accident led to Dylan's withdrawal from touring. During this period, he recorded a large body of songs with members of the Band, who had previously backed him on tour. These recordings were later released as The Basement Tapes in 1975. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Dylan explored country music and rural themes on John Wesley Harding (1967), Nashville Skyline (1969) and New Morning (1970). In 1975, he released Blood on the Tracks, which many saw as a return to form. In the late 1970s, he became a born-again Christian and released three albums of contemporary gospel music before returning to his more familiar rock-based idiom in the early 1980s. Dylan's Time Out of Mind (1997) marked the beginning of a career renaissance. He has released five critically acclaimed albums of original material since, most recently Rough and Rowdy Ways (2020). He also recorded a trilogy of albums covering the Great American Songbook, especially songs sung by Frank Sinatra, and an album smoothing his early rock material into a mellower Americana sensibility, Shadow Kingdom (2023). Dylan has toured continuously since the late 1980s on what has become known as the Never Ending Tour.

Since 1994, Dylan has published nine books of paintings and drawings, and his work has been exhibited in major art galleries. He has sold more than 145 million records, making him one of the best-selling musicians ever. He has received numerous awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, ten Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award. Dylan has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2008, the Pulitzer Prize Board awarded him a special citation for "his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power." In 2016, Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition."

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