Bob Dylan: The Best Songwriter There Ever Was
Music | December 8, 2018
Bob Dylan- a college dropout who happens to be one of the most significant American singer/song writers of our time. His compilation of music has covered an impressive 50 years, his lyrics leaving a lasting impression on political and social movements during the civil rights and beyond. He’s performed with rock legends Tom Petty, George Harrison and The Grateful Dead. Bruce Springsteen has even been quoted saying “He did to the mind what Elvis did to the body. He invented a new way a pop singer could sound, broke through the limitations of what a recording artist could achieve, and changed the face of rock and roll forever.” Although he became famous through his prominent folk songs such as “Like a Rolling Stone” and “The Times They Are A-Changin,” most of his musical inspiration stemmed from country and blues as a young boy to rock and roll in his teen years. Throughout his career he has mastered a wide range of musical genres – from folk, blues, gospel, rock & roll to rockabilly. He plays guitar, keyboards and harmonica. Bob Dylan, now age 75, is still prominent in the music industry today and has shown no signs of slowing down with his most recent 2016 album, Fallen Angels. His achievements range from a Nobel Prize for Literature, a place in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, a Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama and of course many Grammy, Academy and Golden Globe Awards.
Bob Dylan in the Recording Studio
With humble beginnings in a small town, Bob Dylan was born as Robert Allen Zimmerman on May 24, 1941 in Duluth, Minnesota and raised in Hibbing, Minnesota by his parents Abram Zimmerman and Beatrice Stone. Throughout high school, he created several of his own bands including the Golden Chords, his music inspiration stemming from early rock stars such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, and Little Richard. It wasn’t until his brief college days at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis that he began playing folk and country music under the surname “Bob Dillon”. Inspiration for the name derived from the main character of Gunsmoke, a popular western television series. In a 2004 interview, Bob Dylan was quoted “You’re born, you know, with the wrong names, wrong parents. I mean, that happens. You call yourself what you want to call yourself, this is the land of the free.”
In 1960 after one year of college, Bob Dylan made his most life changing decision; dropped out of college and relocated to New York City. It was here that his idol and fellow folk singer Woody Guthrie lived at the time and was also suffering from a rare hereditary disease of the nervous system. It was Woody that inspired one of Dylan’s first songs “Song to Woody.” During this time Dylan became prominent in the local scene, making his name in coffee shops and folk clubs. He received praise in The New York Times in the fall of 1961 which led to him signing with recording contractor Columbia Records. His official first album was released shortly after in early 1962, titled Bob Dylan. Although the album contained only two original songs, it was here that he was recognized for his original sound and gravelly singing voice. However, it wasn’t until the release of his 1963 album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan that his music career really began to take off and he made chart topping waves with one of his most memorable folk songs “Blowin’ in the Wind.” From here, he had made his iconic stamp in popular culture and was free to create a new rock and roll image which carried himself through the decades to who he is today.