Changing a course isn’t very easy; it’s especially not easy if you’re changing the course of music. Bob Dylan was the man that changed it all. His music had a huge influence on the music of today. Not only was Bob Dylan’s music, music, it was poetry. He wrote about the difficult questions in life and the paths people travel. Dylan didn’t necessarily sound good, but he sang about important moments in life and in history. He had to start somewhere and this is where he started. Bob Dylan was born Robert Allen Zimmerman. He was born in Duluth, Minnesota on May 24, 1941.
That day a real star was born, but no one knew it. Robert was born into a Jewish household. His father, Abraham Zimmerman, was a minor league baseball player, but eventually became an appliance dealer. His mother, Beatrice Zimmermann, was a homemaker. When Robert was 5 his brother, David, was born. Bob grew up in a stable home. When Bob was 7 his father got polio and they all moved to Hibbing, Minnesota. Around the time Bob was in grade school at Nettleton, his father brought home a piano. Bob took one lesson and quit. He just didn’t like being taught how to play.
Robert later taught himself how to play the guitar, piano, harmonica, and many other instruments. Bob loved to play music, and everyday he would come up with something new. While attending Hibbing High School, he participated in the talent show. He and his band performed Dany and the Jrs. Rock and Roll is Here to Stay. The judges kicked him out though, because they thought it was too loud. Bob went through high school and kept playing music. For college Bob chose the University of Minnesota. Later in college, he flunked out because he was too focused on music.
Bob came home, but not for long. Bob heard that one of his idols, Woody Guthrie, was dying at a hospital in New York City. So in January 1961, Bob grabbed his instruments and went to the hospital to see Guthrie before he died. While at the hospital, Bob preformed a song for Guthrie. Woody loved it, it made him very happy. Once Guthrie died, Bob stayed in New York City. He would go play at NYC coffee shops around town. Many people criticized him because they thought he didn’t have a great voice. After a month, in the coffee shops Bob was finally discovered.
He was very patient and very calm and he finally did it. In September of 1961 Dylan got signed to his first recording album. He signed with Columbia Records. Bob’s life had changed with just one signature. Bob Dylan’s first album only sold 5,000 in the first year. Many music industry people told Columbia Records to drop him, but they kept him on. In March 1962 Bob went under a pseudonym so he could play harmonica and sing backup vocals for Three Kings and the Queen, which was from Spivey Records. Dylan also went as Billy Boy Grunt so he could play for Broadside Records.
August 1962 hit, and Bob hadn’t really done anything with his career so he decided to officially change his name to Bob Dylan and signed a management agreement with Albert Grossman. From that point Dylan’s career wasn’t the same. Bob Dylan made his first international trip to the United Kingdom in December of 1962. He stayed there for about a month and came back in January 1963. While in the United Kingdom, Dylan performed “Blowin’ in the Wind”, one of his most famous songs today. In 1963 Bob released his second album, The Freewheelin Bob Dylan. This album was one of his bests many of the songs in this album were really deep songs.
Such as, “Oxford Town”(about James Meredith’s risk of being the first black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi) and “Blowin’ in the Wind”(about him not being able to give an answer because it’s somewhere else). Bob’s most influential album was his third one, These Times They are a-Changin’. Bob released this album January 8th, 1964. This album was very big in the Civil Rights Movement. Many of the songs in this album were about non-fictional situations in America such as “Only a Pawn in their Game”(about the murder of Medgar Evers), “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll”(the murder of Hattie Carroll a hotel maid).
That was just the beginning of Bob Dylan’s touch in Civil Rights. August 28, 1963 was one of the greatest days in American history. That was the day Martin Luther King Jr gave his, “I have a Dream… ” Speech. Not only was Bob Dylan there protesting he was there performing. Bob Dylan performed two duets with Joan Baez, those songs were ‘When a Ship Comes In” and “Keep Your Eyes in the Prize”. Dylan performed two others on his own too, those were “With God on Our Side” and “Only a Pawn in their Game”. This was big for Bob Dylan’s career it was a huge risk. Many people hated him for it and cursed his music forever.
But many others realized that everyone deserves rights. Once the Civil Rights issue was resolved Bob took a new step in his career. Dylan kept on moving in life. In late 1964 Bob Dylan started seeing Sara Lownds. She was a Jewish woman from Delaware. They later got married in November of 1965. Dylan had 5 kids with Sara, Jakob, Jesse, Sam, Maria, and Anna Dylan. This was a happy time in Bob Dylan’s life. Everything seemed to go right, until the accident. Bob Dylan crashed his 500cc Triumph Tiger Motorcycle on July 29 1966, near his home in Woodstock New York.
This was bad he was able to walk about with a broken vertebrae but something had changed. The accident was weird though no one called an ambulance or any officials. Dylan went reclusive. An in interview someone asked him about it and he said he just wanted to get out of the rat race. About a year later, Dylan came back. The 1970’s were very big for Bob Dylan, he was finally getting international recognition. On June 19, 1970 Dylan received an honorary degree from Princeton University. In 1973 Dylan signed with a new label, David Geffen’s Asylum Records.
After he signed with Asylum Records he came out with a new album, Planet Waves. It was a huge hit with tons of people. Dylan went on a tour in 1974, he travelled to many places around the world. He missed his wife, though. They started arguing and not getting along, finally in 1977 they got divorced, this was difficult for Dylan. But he was able to recover with the help of his backup singer. He formed a relationship with Carolyn Dennis, his backup singer. After a while they started dating and eventually got married in 1986 and had one child, Desiree Dennis-Dylan.
A couple years later they got divorced. The 1980’s were a travelling time for Dylan. Bob Dylan went and toured with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers from 1986-87. Later in the year of 1987 Dylan toured with the Grateful Dead. Dylan and the Dead just grooved together. They came with with an album called Dylan and the Dead. For the next 22 years, Bob toured with small start-up bands around the country. The big year of 2000 was the year Bob won his first Oscar for his song, “Things Have Changed”. In early 2004 Dylan came out with some of his autobiography.
Most of the biographies about Dylan came out in 2007 but what they didn’t know is he has more years. Bob Dylan started to get recognized for two big things that people never really had thought about. Those two things were his Civil Rights involvement and his literature. Bob was invited to the White House on May 29, 2012 to receive the Medal of Freedom from president Barack Obama. People thanked Dylan for what he did and really realized that he was so much more than a singer. Also many colleges acknowledged his writing ability. His songs were mainly poems.
Often times he would write ballads and then sing them. Also, Dylan had a lot of respect for other singers he would often times honor them with songs, one of the more famous honorary songs was “Roll on John”, from his 35th album. In 2014 Columbia Records came out with all 35 of his albums in a bundle. Dylan continued on his never ending tour. His never ending tour started in 1988 and continued into 2013. Dylan played about 2,300 shows in the never ending tour. The tour went as far as China. Dylan started a new tour in the east that started in 2014 and ended in 2015. Dylan also spent 2 years in Europe.
This was the last documented tour of Bob Dylan. As you can see he did a lot. Bob Dylan is one is the greatest musicians in the world. He has had more effect on the world than anyone else in the music industry. Not only did he change the course of music, but he also made a huge difference in Civil Rights. Dylan was protesting and writing songs about it and he made people realize they were wrong. Dylan has been all over the world and has the ability to change people in 4:00 minutes, one song. No one else has the ability. Bob Dylan is truly one of the most influential people in the world.