Bob Dylan is a singer, songwriter, and artist who has become a musical legend. However, very few fans actually know that his birth name is Robert Allen Zimmerman, but he is. The singer “Mr. Tamborine Man” was born on May 24, 1941, in Duluth, Minnesota. His parents were European Jews – Abram and Beatrice Zimmerman. Dylan also has a younger brother named David Benjamin Zimmerman, who was born five years after him in 1946. He attended Hibbing High School in Hibbing, where he grew up, as the family had moved there two years after David’s birth. He graduated from high school in 1959 and received his college education at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
At the age of eleven, Bob Dylan received piano lessons from his cousin Harriet Rutstein, and as he learned, he began to imitate his Little Richard, who was one of the early rock stars that influenced him, along with Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis. He performed in his high school dances, and when he went to college, he continued to perform as “Bob Dillon” in local bars around town.
Music Career and Albums
In an effort to pursue a music career, Bob Dylan left college in 1960 and moved to New York. There he developed a personal relationship with the famous folk singer Woody Guthrie, who was in the hospital at the time. Bob visited Guthrie regularly, and through their friendship, he met a number of other musicians who helped him master the art of songwriting. One of the songs he wrote at that time was written for the sick Guthrie, which he called “Song to Woody.
He later signed a contract with Columbia Records in 1961 and took the stage name “Bob Dylan” for which he was famous. The following year, he released his first album entitled “Bob Dylan”. The album sold only 5,000 copies and the label almost dropped him. In May 1963 he released his second album “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan”. Dylan’s third album “The Times They Are A-Changin” revealed the political side of the man, as it gave credibility to the political protest in those days. His image was reinforced by his association with Joan Baez in 1963.
“Another Side of Dylan” was recorded and released in 1964 and contained almost no political overtures compared to the previous album. On the next album, “Bringing It All Back Home”, Bob Dylan changed his style in favor of the electric sound, which was badly received by his fans. The album Highway 61 Revisited (1965) featured the well-received track “Like a Rolling Stone”, which reached #2 in the US charts and #4 in the British charts.
His next album, “Blonde on Blonde”, was released in 1966 and saw Dylan at his best, but he retired from the music scene for almost a year after a bicycle accident near his New York home that almost cost him his life. For eight years until 1974, he never went on a musical tour again, although he released seven albums during this time. The album Planet Waves, with which he made his first tour since the mishap, became known as the best album he ever made.
His separation from his wife Sara Lownds led him to seek comfort in the arms of his Lord and Savior, and in 1979 Bob Dylan declared that he was a born-again Christian. His next album, which was his first gospel album. The singer has released a total of 38 albums, the last one being Triplicate (2017).
Awards and Recognitions
Bob Dylan’s first album, Slow Train Coming (1979), with the theme of Christianity earned him a Grammy award – his first Grammy nod ever. His next two albums – Saved (1980) and Shot of Love (1981) – were also to be about his newfound faith in Jesus Christ.
In 1982 and 1989 he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. For his 1993 work “World Gone Wrong” he received another Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album in 1994. His 1997 album “Time Out of Mind” earned Bob Dylan three Grammy Awards. He also received a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination for the single Things Have Changed from 2000 in the category Best Original Song.
Other honors and recognitions include the Kennedy Center Honors – which he received in 1997 as the first rock star ever – considered the highest award for artistic excellence. In 2012, former U.S. President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and when he received the Nobel Prize for Literature on October 13, 2016, Bob Dylan not only received an award that has eluded Americans since it was bestowed on the writer Toni Morrison in 1993, he also became the musician named the Nobel Laurette.
In 1971 Dylan published a 137-page experimental novel with a tilted tarantula. He also took the time to record his life’s journey in a memoir, which will be published in three volumes. The first part Chronicles: Volume One was published in 2004. He has published several books about the lyrics of his songs and also about his artwork. In 2005 he authorized the publication of a documentary film directed by Martin Scorsese. The film was entitled No Direction Home: Bob Dylan.
Where is Bob Dylan Now, Is He Dead?
No, Bob Dylan is not dead. It will surprise many of Bob Dylan’s fans that Dylan is an artist. Did you say it was already obvious? Sorry, I didn’t mean a music artist. Bob Dylan is a sculptor! Since he’s slowed down in the music scene, so many fans are wondering where he is now and what he’s up to. So, now you have it. Dylan is currently working in a studio in Los Angeles where he is shaping gates. And he exhibits them in a free-for-all exhibition that he hosts from time to time. The first one of this kind took place in a London gallery and was called “Mood Swings”. (Mood Swings indeed!)
Dylan has been painting for decades now (and incidentally, he is very prolific at it), but it has never been part of his public life – maybe until now. And preferably his fields of interest are Gates. This fact could be expressed in some of his lyrics – like in his 1965 single entitled Gates of Eden.
Family – Wife, Son, Children
Bob Dylan was married twice. His first marriage was to a Playboy model named Sara Lownds on November 22, 1965. The marriage produced four children born just over a year apart – Jesse Byron (January 6, 1966), Anna Lea (July 11, 1967), Samuel Isaac Abram (July 30, 1968), and Jakob Luke (December 9, 1969). There was also an adopted daughter from Sara’s previous marriage – Maria Lownds, born on October 21, 1961, and ended the marriage in 1977 after nearly 12 years.
In 1986 Bob Dylan fell in love with one of his background singers, Carolyn “Carol” Dennis, and it led to the altar. They had a daughter together, Desiree Gabrielle Dennis-Dylan, on January 31, 1986, before they were secretly married on June 4, 1986. And although she ended in divorce in 1992, it was not until 2001 that it became known that Dylan was in a second marriage.
There are other public relations efforts that Dylan has been involved in. The first was with Suze Rotolo. She was his first official relationship. Bob Dylan, who never tends to flaunt his relationships, immortalized Rotolo on the cover of his album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. The affair ended in 1964, however. After it ended with Rotolo, Dylan began another affair with the then-popular singer Joan Baez (1963-1965). They brought their romance to the stage and performed as a duet in several shows.
He also went out with Dana Gillespie (1965), Edie Sedgwick (1965-1966), Ruth Tyrangiel (1974-1991), Susan Ross (1990s), Mavis Staples (N/A) and so on. It was also rumored that he was secretly married to Clydie King, one of his background singers.
Bob Dylan’s Body Facts – Height
Weight: 139 lbs (63 kg)
Height: 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)
Body Stats: 36-12-40 inches (Chest-Arms-Waist)
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Blue
Shoe Size/Feet: 8 (US)