Bob Dylan is a world famous folk rock singer/songwriter/guitarist/harmonicist (I'm so sorry) renowned for his powerful poetic and often socially critical lyrics, distinctive voice, and essentially creating the folk rock movement.
Robert Allen Zimmerman was born May 24,1941. That's before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and he can still kick your ass and do your wife, which happen to be two of his favorite pasttimes so don't you think for a second that he won't make good on that offer. Born and raised in Minnesota, he yearned to move away, because, you know, its goddam Minnesota. So he dropped out of college and started playing guitar and singing in hope to get famous. You know, like all the cool kids were doing. In 1961, he moved to New York City, because hookers and gangs beat the shit out of Minnesota by a long shot.
He started playing clubs in New York, and got noticed when some guy writing for the New York Times wrote a good review of him. Still Zimmerman at this point, he got signed to Columbia Records. He also changed his name legally from Robert Zimmerman to Robert Dylan. When asked why, he responded that some people are born with the "wrong name" and "wrong parents". That's right, in the future Bob Dylan will decide what baby you get.
Got a problem with that? So did she. She got a fucking hippo baby.
In 1962, Bob Dylan signed a management contract with Albert Grossman. Later that year Dylan took his first trip to the UK, after some dude asked him to act in a televised play. With no prior experience, Bob Dylan accepted because he is Bob Dylan and well actually, he didn't have anything better to do at the time. At the end of the play however, he got to perform the song "Blowin' in the Wind", resulting in one of the first major performances of the song.
Shortly before all of this, Dylan released his first album called, in a majestic burst of Dylan's famous artistic inspiration, Bob Dylan, which consisted of folk and blues. Dylan's second album, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan was released in May of 1963. It was at this time that Bob Dylan was asked to play on the Ed Sullivan Show. When informed that the song he was scheduled to play, "Talkin' John Birch Society Blues", was deemed too "controversial", Bob Dylan walked out of the set. Presumably, he then jumped onto a motorcycle, picked up every hot chick within eight city blocks and brought them home to make sweet, rebellious musician love for four days straight.
In those days, you didn't just walk out of the Ed Sullivan Show, that shit made you famous, not at all similar to the way shows like MTV Cribs promote today's aspiring artists.
Although he totally could have been on Cribs, you can't see it, but there are soooo many Cadillacs behind those bushes.
It was around this time that people began to associate Bob Dylan with the growing protest movements of the early 60's. He began to develop a bad-boy rugged image, that of which he emphasized by often making public appearances smoking a ciggarette and wearing impossibly awesome shades. The 1964 The Times They Are a-Changin solidified Dylan's new persona in his music. Protest songs became a new cultural genre and he began performing and becoming popular with other notable artists such as Joan Baez, The Beatles, and Peter, Paul, and Mary. This led to the act of covering Bob Dylan's songs to become a trend among musicians. These covers ranged from completely epic (looking at you Hendrix), to God-awful stupid (that's a big ol' fuck you to you, Robert Palmer and your cover of I'll Be Your Baby Tonight)
Dylan caused big controversy during his acceptance speech of the Tom Paine award on behalf of The National Emergency Civil Liberties Committee. In his infinite creative wisdom, he compared his ideologies to that of the likes of Lee Harvey Oswald (to put this into perspective, President John F. Kennedy had not yet been dead for a month) and in a nutshell, called the committee a group of old, balding white men. He also went on to remark that fellow protesting Negroes "looked like none of my friends" and accepted the award on behalf of other individuals, despite his condemnation of the award itself. Seems like a strange way of fighting the establishment, but uhhh...hey we're not Bob Dylan.
Yeah I'm sticking it to the man, man. Wait, does that make you the man? Does that make me the man? Shit, oh well I'm just gonna write a famous song about it.
On March 1965, shit got real for Bob Dylan. And by real, I mean that he found out how plug a quarter-inch cable into an input jack on an amplifier. Dylan's Bringing It Back Home saw his first use of electric guitar. Now this might seem like a really awesome stylistic leap, and some saw it as that. However, the star of the folk community taking out an electric instrument was like an Aragon look-a-like taking out a lightsaber at a J.R.R. Tolkien convention. The audiences were not pleased. However, summer of that year, Dylan released "Like a Rolling Stone" and the Highway 61 Revisited album. As the single rose to #2, only short of The Beatles's "Help!" (as in "Help! Bob Dylan is climbing the charts!"), reports of folk community asses being sore skyrocketed. The tune became a symbol of commercial challenging and raw emotional power within music.
Dylan was in his prime and it was only the mid 60's, a few years into his career. The guy still had over three decades of success waiting after him. The 70's saw a bit more unpredictability in his style and even personality. His live appearances became more scarce and his work became a bit less successful. However 1972 had the release of "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" and 1975 showed his first hit protest song in 12 years, called "Hurricane" and supporting the cause of boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, who had been convicted and imprisoned for triple murder, though many believed his case to be one of racism and profiling (turns out they was right, the poor bastard got out twenty years later).
The 1980's saw Dylan converting to become a Born Again Christian (contrary to popular belief, that does not mean that once you die, you instantly shoot out of your mother's womb and start your entire life over) and a lot of Gospel/religious music. Some other stuff happened in the 80's and then I think some more stuff happened in the 90's. Hey look its the new millenium!
In 2001 Dylan's "Times Have Changed" won both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for its appearance in the movie Wonder Boys. Speaking of movies, in 2007, the film I'm Not There was released. The biopic, featuring Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Heath Ledger, Marcus Carl Franklin, Ben Wishaw, and Richard Gere. Who plays Bob Dylan you might ask? Take a minute to guess.
No not until you take a fucking guess.
Surprise! All of them! If your response is "Jesus Christ! that's insane!" then I successfully shocked you. If your response was "wait is Cate Blanchett a girl? Based on that fact alone, I will never watch this movie." Then I shocked you and your probably a sexist (don't worry though, sometimes the sound of a word is so cool it negates the meaning).
One day Bob Dylan went on world tour. That day has never ended. Since the summer of '88, Dylan has been playing over hundred shows annually. While you might ask, wouldn't world audiences become bored of Mr. Dylan after so many years of constant touring? And if you did ask that, then fuck you, go fucking die because Bob Dylan has been named of the 100 Most Important People of the Century by Time Magazine (that's the 20th Century, for those of you who are skeptical about Dylan's true age and origin).
Bob Dylan's songs have been featured in countless media since his rise to fame in the 60's. It has been featured in some of the greatest movies of all time including Forrest Gump, Fear And Loathing in Las Vegas, and of course The Big Lebowski...
...and The Dude really digs Dylan
Bob Dylan's vocal style has always been a trademark of his. So much so that when artists began scoring hits with covers of Dylan songs that CBS began using the phrase "Nobody Sings Dylan Like Dylan" or sometimes known as "Nobody Howls Into A Microphone Like A Strangled Coyote While Still Managing To Play The Goddamn Guitar", but the first phrase is definitely more popular.
Dylan doesn't always resemble some kind of choking wild cat or dog, sometimes he sounds like a combination of Randy Newman and a muppet:
Oh yeah and he's apparently also a hobo.