Bob Dylan

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Dylan, Bob

(dĭl`ən), 1941–, American singer and composer, b. Duluth, Minn., as Robert Zimmerman. Dylan learned guitar at the age of 10 and autoharp and harmonica at 15. After a rebellious youth, he moved to New York City in 1960 and in the early years of the decade began playing in a folk style in Greenwich Village clubs. He turned to performing with an electric rock-and-roll band in 1965. Influenced by such figures as LeadbellyLeadbelly,
nickname of Huddie William Ledbetter,
1885–1949, American singer, b. Mooringsport, La. While wandering through Louisiana and Texas, he earned a living by playing the guitar for dances.
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, Bo DiddleyDiddley, Bo,
1928–2008, African-American singer, guitarist, and songwriter who was one of the founders of rock and roll, b. near McComb, Miss., as Otha Ellas Bates.
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, Muddy WatersWaters, Muddy,
1915–83, African-American blues singer and guitarist, b. Rolling Fork, Miss., as McKinley Morganfield. As a teenager he began singing and playing traditional country blues on harmonica and guitar, and in 1941 he was recorded by Alan Lomax for the Library of
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, Hank WilliamsWilliams, Hank,
1923–53, American country singer and songwriter, b. near Georgiana, Ala., as Hiram Williams. He is widely regarded as the leading figure in the history of country music (see country and western music).
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, and Woody GuthrieGuthrie, Woody
(Woodrow Wilson Guthrie), 1912–67, American folk singer, guitarist, and composer, b. Okemah, Okla. Guthrie was an itinerant musician and laborer from the age of 13.
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 as well as by such early rockers as Elvis PresleyPresley, Elvis
(Elvis Aaron Presley), 1935–77, American popular singer, b. Tupelo, Miss. Exposed to gospel music from childhood, Presley began playing guitar before his adolescence.
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, Buddy Holly, and Little RichardLittle Richard,
1935–, American musician and singer, b. Macon, Ga., as Richard Wayne Penniman. One of the first rock musicians in the 1950s, he recorded "Tutti Frutti," "Long Tall Sally," and "Good Golly Miss Molly." Since then, he has turned to religion.
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, Dylan, in turn, has had a profound effect on folk and rock musicrock music,
type of music originating in the United States in the mid-1950s and increasingly popular throughout much of the world. Origins of Rock

Essentially hybrid in origin, rock music includes elements of several black and white American music styles: black
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. As a lyricist he captured the cynicism, anger, and alienation of American youth, which reverberated in his harsh vocal delivery and insistent guitar-harmonica accompaniment.

Among Dylan's many social protest songs are "Blowin' in the Wind" and "The Times They Are A-Changin'." Dylan's style evolved from acoustic folk (e.g., "Don't Think Twice") to folk rock (e.g., "Highway 61 Revisited"), country blues (e.g., "Country Pie"), and hard-driving rock. Enigmatic and reclusive, he became a cult figure; he has continued to tour and record new albums. Although many of his later recordings were not well received, his Time out of Mind (1997), Love and Theft (2001), and Modern Times (2006, Grammy) albums won nearly universal praise. He also wrote an early autobiography, Bob Dylan, Self-Portrait (1970); a late one, Chronicles: Volume One (2004); and a novel, Tarantula (1971, repr. 2004).

Bibliography

See his Lyrics: 1962–2001 (2004); J. W. Ellison, ed., Younger than That Now: The Collected Interviews with Bob Dylan (2004) and J. Cott, ed., Bob Dylan: The Essential Interviews (2006); biographies by R. Shelton (1986), B. Spitz (1988), C. Heylin (rev. ed. 2001), and H. Sounes (2001); studies by P. Cable (1980), B. Bowden (1982), T. Riley (1992), P. Williams (3 vol., 1994–2004), G. Marcus (1997 and 2005), D. Hajdu (2001), C. Ricks (2004), and S. Wilentz (2010); discographies by M. Krogsgaard (1991), J. Nogowski (1994), B. Hedin, ed. (2004), and D. Dalton (2012); O. Trager, Keys to the Rain: The Definitive Bob Dylan Encyclopedia (2004); M. Scorsese, dir., No Direction Home (documentary film, 2005).

Dylan, Bob (b. Robert Allen Zimmerman)

(1941–  ) folk/rock songwriter, singer; born in Duluth, Minn. He imitated Little Richard on piano at high school dances, changed his name, and dropped out of college to perform folk and country songs at local coffee houses. (Over the years he gave various explanations of the origin of his last name; one was that originally it was "Dillon" after the popular television western lawman, and only later did its spelling change to reflect his admiration for the Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas.) In 1960 he moved to New York and began visiting legendary folksinger Woody Guthrie in the hospital. He was soon playing his own and Guthrie's songs on guitar in small folk clubs; in the latter he met Joan Baez, who helped advance his career. He achieved a huge following with the albums Freewheelin' Bob Dylan (1963), with its hit "Blowin' In The Wind," and Times They Are A-Changin' (1964), which established him as the premier folk balladeer of his generation as well as its voice for social protest. Influenced by the Beatles, in 1965 he released Highway 61 Revisited backed by a full rock band; the album included the hits "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "Like a Rolling Stone." A prolific songwriter and gifted lyricist, he went on to write many great folk-rock songs of the 1970s and 1980s and to sell many gold albums in rock, country, and even gospel styles. In 1985 he sang at benefit concerts for African famine relief and in 1986 he toured Japan, Australia, and the United States with rock star Tom Petty. He continued to make occasional appearances at benefits and special concerts.
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