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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.
..... Click the link for more information. , 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.
..... Click the link for more information. , 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
..... Click the link for more information. , 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).
..... Click the link for more information. , 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.
..... Click the link for more information. 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.
..... Click the link for more information. , Buddy Holly, and Little RichardLittle Richard,
1935–2020, American musician and singer, b. Macon, Ga., as Richard Wayne Penniman. One of the first rock musicians in the 1950s, he recorded such tunes as "Tutti Frutti," "Long Tall Sally," "Lucille," and "Good Golly Miss Molly," combining the shouts of
..... Click the link for more information. , 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
..... Click the link for more information. , and is considered one of the world's most influential musicians and songwriters. As a lyricist he captured the cynicism, anger, and alienation of American youth, which reverberated in his harsh vocal delivery and insistent guitar and 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 something of a cult figure; he has continued to tour and record. Although many of his later recordings were not well received, his Time out of Mind (1997), Love and Theft (2001), Modern Times (2006, Grammy), and Rough and Rowdy Ways (2020) albums won wide praise. In addition to Grammy, Academy, and Golden Globe awards, he has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2012) and the Nobel Prize in Literature (2016). Dylan wrote an early autobiography, Bob Dylan, Self-Portrait (1970), and a late one, Chronicles: Volume One (2004), as well as a work of fiction that combines stream-of-consciousness prose with poetry, Tarantula (1971).
See his Lyrics: 1962–2001 (2004) and Bob Dylan: Lyrics 1961–2012 (2017); 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, rev. ed. 2011), B. Spitz (1988), C. Heylin (rev. ed. 2001), H. Sounes (2001, rev. ed. 2011), and D. McDougal (2014); 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, 2005).