Bob Dylan. Many people think he is one of the most influential singer-songwriters of the 20th century. Dylan is still well known today for songs that demonstrate a rebellious voice that played such a huge part of our teenage years.
Women in our Sixty and Me community know better than any other demographic today the power that Dylan has had when talking about social and political issues. Through his words, we discovered ourselves.
In my opinion, along with Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan was one of the greatest poets to come out of the 60s. So, today, as he celebrates his 78th year on the planet, how do we segment the decades of his life in a meaningful way and make this is fitting tribute?
We all have our favourite Dylan songs. One of mine is All Along the Watchtower. It’s moody, deep and hugely meaningful.
Then there’s Blowing in the Wind. Dylan was only 20 when he wrote the song, but the message is timeless. I still sing it to my grandson Max. I hum it in tears when I read about another terrorist attack. It is the ultimate question about our human dilemma, and I can’t listen to it without crying.
Classic tunes such as Like a Rolling Stone, Maggie’s Farm, Tangled Up in Blue, and I Shall Be Released are breath-taking in their complexity. Lay Lady Lay spoke of a bohemian romance and struggle for intimacy that was a common theme in Bob Dylan’s songs.
Bob Dylan was born Robert Allen Zimmerman on May 24, 1941, in Duluth, Minnesota. He lived his first six years in Duluth, then spent twelve years in Hibbing, and a year or two in Minneapolis before launching his career in New York City, where he was influenced by Elvis, Little Richard and Woody Guthrie.
In 1963, he began a romantic relationship with Joan Baez. It lasted only two years but that was enough to launch his music career.
His relationship with Baez is just one small drop in the grand story of Bob Dylan’s life which intrigues millions around the world. Dylan wrote some of Baez’s best-known material, and Baez introduced him to thousands of fans through her concerts.
It is generally agreed that he brought contemporary folk music into the rock era with his shocking electric performance at Newport Folk Festival in 1965. It started a controversy that is even debated today.
Bob Dylan has many awards and accolades and was inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1989. Bruce Springsteen spoke at the ceremony and declared: “Bob freed the mind the way Elvis freed the body.” His impact was that dramatic.
A painter, sculptor and artist, Dylan is also the author of two books. In the past two decades, he has continued to share his music. He has toured with many big names, including Paul Simon, Willie Nelson, Joni Mitchell and Van Morrison.
He won Grammy, Academy and Golden Globe awards and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in 2012. In 2016, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature. It was a controversial decision and the first time the honor was bestowed on a musician.
He had four children with his first wife, Sara Lownds, and adopted her child from a previous marriage. Their joint life ended in a divorce in 1977.
Like many of us in our 60s and 70s, Dylan decided to downsize. He recently sold 6,000 items to the George Kaiser Family Foundation and the University of Tulsa for an estimated $20 million. That’s putting his memorabilia and memories to good use!
Today, Bob Dylan is 78, but he has not stopped creating and reinventing himself. His latest project is a new whiskey product called Heaven’s Door. It is a collection of American whiskeys that will be available soon – just in time for his birthday celebration!
Thank you, Bob, for all the brilliant words and music! Have a fabulous birthday and stay Forever Young!
Happy Birthday, Bob Dylan! What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Bob Dylan? Did his music influence your life? How? Please share your favourite Bob Dylan song and let’s wish him a very Happy Birthday!