Happy Birthday, Bob Dylan

Tuesday, 24 May 2011 17:36 Brock Tilford

By: RoseAnn Fino

Today we celebrate Bob Dylan’s 70th Birthday.  This singer/songwriter, poet, painter, Academy Award Winner, and best –selling author has created an impact on the world that seems to seep into every day life in America.  I know what you’re thinking, can I really put him on the author’s birthdays list for writing a memoir?  Yes, yes I can.  Bob Dylan’s memoir Chronicles, Volume One spent 19 weeks on the New York Times’ Bestsellers list.  The memoir is beautifully written, but not straightforward, as we would expect from an artist who always keeps us guessing.   One thing that is so interesting about Bob Dylan is how many books have been written about him through others, how many people study him throughout their lives and our scholars on his life.  It has to be in the thousands, one of my favorites being Bob Dylan in America by Sean Wilentz, whose author will be leading a discussion at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles tonight. Dylan is expected to write two more books himself to finish the story of the Chronicles.


While I wish that I could write you as colorful and exciting a tale that Dylan would tell, I’ll just give you a simple background of his life.  Bob Dylan was born Robert Zimmerman on May 24, 1941 in Minnesota, though when he moved to New York in 1961 he liked to keep people guessing about that.  He originally moved to New York to find his idol Woody Guthrie, who was dying at Greystone hospital  and to play music in Greenwich Village.  Dylan went on to write songs that ranged from political to romance to humor.  He had no problem criticizing the world around him throughout his life with songs like “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” in 1963 and “The Hurricane” which was used in the 1999 film about the boxer.  Never one to be pigeon holed, Dylan switched from his folk song roots to the electric guitar in 1965.  He “went electric” at the Newport Folk Festival in the summer of that year.  The media and his fans criticized him, but Dylan shrugged it off and created one of the most pivotal albums in rock’n’roll a year later, Blonde on Blonde.  The tours around this period are incredible to watch and can be seen in Martin Scorsese’s impeccable film No Direction Home.  Dylan has gone on to continue touring and creating albums up until this day.


Now, I’m not going to tell you how to celebrate Dylan’s birthday or what songs you should be listening to on this day, like some other articles, because one of the best things about Dylan is that everyone interprets him in their own way and is pulled in by their own song.  I know that I will be blasting my favorite album today Bringing It All Back Home as I trudge my way through finals, but what about you?  How will you celebrate?



Image Credit: RRSTAR.com

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Last Updated on Thursday, 26 May 2011 13:08

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