Bob Dylan, born Robert Allen Zimmerman, celebrates his 79th birthday today. As everyone is aware, he’s made a strong mark on the music industry and has been a major figure in pop culture for more than 50 years. Most of his celebrated works date back to the early ’60s and are known for their poignant, impactful lyrics.
Dylan never missed out on an opportunity to incorporate politics, philosophy and literature into his music, there-by pushing the boundaries of conventional Pop, Rock and Country music. But, everyone’s mostly familiar with his impact on the music scene. So, on that note, here’s a closer look at the stranger, unknown side of this legend.
1. For starters, he went by the name “Dylan” only after he was in university. Before he took on the name, ‘Bob Dylan’, he briefly tried out, Elston Gunn. But his search for the right name didn’t stop there. He has recorded under several pseudonyms, including Bob Landy, Robert Milkwood Thomas, and Blind Boy Grunt. The last one definitely takes the cake. Photo Credit: Fiona Adams
2. Dylan’s first professional recording was for a Harry Belafonte album in 1960. He was paid 50 dollars for his work. Photo Credit: Kevin Winter
3. Believe it or not, the legend was once booed off stage. He tried his hand at the electric guitar at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, but the audience wasn’t too impressed. But look at him now, huh? His stadium gigs are sold out in a matter of minutes. Photo Credit: Aaron Rapoport
4. Everyone loves a nice conspiracy theory. Especially when it’s one that involves Bob Dylan selling his soul to the devil. Despite making it so big in the industry, when asked why he’s still playing shows, he responded with, “I made a bargain with it a long time ago and I’m holding up my end.” But who did he make this bargain with? His only response was, “The one we can’t see”. Hmmm, how ominous. Photo Credit: Michael Ochs
5. Bob Dylan and Rap? Those are two very different worlds. And yet, they came together when Dylan created and sang a couple verses on the album ‘Kingdom Blow’ by Kurtis Blow. The song’s called, ‘Street Rock’, so go give it a listen. Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison
6. The tune, ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ will go down in the history of music as one of the most finest, inspirational pieces out there. But good music requires a hefty amount of time and effort to create. And that’s why, Dyan’s original lyrics were between 6-20 pages long. That ain’t lyrics. That’s a whole novel right there. Imagine if it wasn’t edited down, though. The song would probably be just as good, perhaps even better. Photo Credit: Cummings Archives
7. Bob Dylan has made it to a Victoria’s Secret television ad. Yes, we’re talking about the lingerie company. His tune, ‘Love Sick’ played in the background as his swaying figure was intercut with those of models. He never fails to surprise us, huh? Photo Credit: Evening Standard
8. In his early days, Bob Dylan was living the dream. And by the dream we mean that he could watch movies at theatres for free. Here’s why: his great-grandfather and uncles owned some of the biggest movie theatres in Hibbing,Minnesota. As they say, the rest is history. Photo Credit: Keith Baugh
9. If you’re a hardcore Bob Dylan fan, then you have to know this. The Nobel Prize in Literature 2016, was awarded to him “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.” Photo Credit: Hulton Archive
10. Bob Dylan has been known to perform at his grandchildren’s elementary schools.The kindergarten kids have no clue that they’re singing along with a legend. And to top it all off, he’s been spotted in LA with a ‘Word’s Greatest Granddad’ bumper sticker on his car. Photo Credit: Frank Micelotta
By: Nina Karun