The self-styled poetic gravel-voiced Bob Dylan of the swinging
60s, has survived to celebrate his 60th birthday which was on Thursday of this
week and as Bob Geldof once said: "If you don't like Bob Dylan, you don't
There is undoubtedly a continuous never-ending
story of this legend that helped invent the generation gap - then bridged it.
I was there from the beginning, therefore, I thought it only proper to write a
few words as a simple birthday tribute to this man who's influence over a thirty-year
career period has held original fans spellbound while continually drawing in new
generations of listeners.
Robert Allen Zimmerman was born
on 24th May 1941 in Duluth, Minnesota. In 1947, his father, Abe, moved the Zimmerman
family to live in the small town of Hibbing, where Robert started writing poems
at the age of ten and taught himself piano and guitar in his early teens.
early rock stars such as Elvis Presley, Jerry Less Lewis and Little Richard had
great influence over Robert and in 1959 he moved from Hibbing high school for
Minneapolis to attend the University of Minnesota. In the big city Robert began
to listen to the pioneers of country, rock and folk musicians such as Hank Williams,
Robert Johnson and Woody Guthrie.
It wasn't long before
Robert dropped out of college and made his way to New York where he became part
of the folk-music scene in Greenwich Village and there he soon became a fixture
in the local folk clubs and coffee houses.
in music was now becoming so concentrated that he barely found the time to attend
his classes because he was doing more solo gigs to perfect a brand of sound through
his poetic nasal voice with guitar and harmonica.
during this period that Robert decides to change his name and take the stage name
of Bob Dylan. It's presumed that he adopted Dylan in honour of the Welsh poet
Dylan Thomas, but he has always denied this throughout his career.
he was later asked in an interview: "What about the story that you changed
your name from Robert Zimmerman to Bob Dylan because you admire the poetry of
Dylan Thomas? Bob Dylan replied: "No, God no. I took Dylan because I have
an uncle named Dillion. I changed the spelling but only because it looked better.
I've read some of Dylan Thomas's stuff and it's not the same as mine."
1961 the Dylan myth began to spread beyond Greenwich Village's music circles and
after a successful performance at Gerde Folk City the critic Robert Shelton of
the New York Times wrote and published a raved review. A week or two later, Columbia
Records executive John Hammond signed Dylan to a recording contract and the wheels
where in motion as Bob began to select material for his debut album.
Dylan's first album was released in 1962 and was simply self-titled. Since then
as the legend began to grow we've been treated to Freewheelin, The Times They
Are A-Changin', Bob Dylan & Joan Baez, Bringing It All Back Home, Highway
61 Revisited, Blonde on Blonde, The Basement Tapes, John Wesley Harding, Nashville
Skyline, Blood on the Tracts, Slow Train Coming, Shot Of Love, Street Legal, Infidels,
Oh Mercy, Time Out of Mind and many more high-octane years of brilliant recordings
from the dazzlingly poetic maestro.
Through the influence
of the Beat Generation writers William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg,
Bob Dylan came here to spend some time on both the islands of Formentera and Ibiza.
It was during those halcyon days when to mention but a few of the many rock star
from the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Frank Zappa, Velvet Underground
to the Bee Gees who all came here to relax under the sun of Ibiza.
There are those folk who will never understand what this genius is all about -
but to us who do comprehend you remain constant, timeless and meaningful throughout
our lives. There's been a long road from the revolutionary idealism of Bob Dylan's
1963 classic, The Times They Are A-Changin', to the world-weary resignation of
last year's Oscar-winning single, Things Have Changed. "People are crazy,
times are strange," Dylan sings, in a tone of bruised defeatism. "I
used to care but
things have changed."
hope you had a very Happy Birthday, Bob and best wishes for the future but please,
never ever stop Blowin' in the Wind!