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Black and white photograph of Bob Dylan

BOB DYLAN

 

Robert Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman; May 24, 1941) is often regarded as one of the greatest songwriters of all time, Dylan has been a major figure in popular culture during a career spanning more than 60 years. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s, when songs such as "Blowin' in the Wind" (1963) and "The Times They Are a-Changin'" (1964) became anthems for the civil rights and antiwar movements. His lyrics during this period incorporated a range of political, social, philosophical, and literary influences, defying pop music conventions and appealing to the burgeoning counterculture.

Following his self-titled debut album in 1962, which comprised mainly traditional folk songs, Dylan made his breakthrough as a songwriter with the release of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan the following year. The album features "Blowin' in the Wind" and the thematically complex "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall". Many of his songs adapted the tunes and phraseology of older folk songs. He went on to release the politically charged The Times They Are a-Changin' and the more lyrically abstract and introspective Another Side of Bob Dylan in 1964.

 

In 1965 and 1966, Dylan drew controversy among folk purists when he adopted electrically amplified rock instrumentation, and in the space of 15 months recorded three of the most important and influential rock albums of the 1960s: Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited (both 1965) and Blonde on Blonde (1966). His six-minute single "Like a Rolling Stone" (1965) expanded commercial and creative boundaries in popular music.

In July 1966, a motorcycle accident led to Dylan's withdrawal from touring. During this period, he recorded a large body of songs with members of the Band, who had previously backed him on tour. These recordings were released as the collaborative album The Basement Tapes in 1975. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Dylan explored country music and rural themes in John Wesley Harding (1967), Nashville Skyline (1969), and New Morning (1970). In 1975, he released Blood on the Tracks, which many saw as a return to form.

Throughout his career Bob Dylan has sold more than 125 million records, making him one of the best-selling musicians of all time.