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Artist: Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan

Bio

Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman on May 24, 1941 in Duluth, Minnesota, United States) is an American musician, poet and artist whose position in popular culture is unique. Dylan started his musical odyssey in 1959 when he began playing in Dinkytown, Minneapolis while attending the University of Minnesota. Shortly after starting to play he changed his stage name to Bob Dylan, after being influenced by the poetry of Dylan Thomas before legally changing his name in 1962. Much of his best known work is from the 1960s, when he became an informal documentarian and reluctant figurehead of American unrest, promoted by Joan Baez. Some of his songs, such as "Blowin' in the Wind" and "The Times They Are A-Changin'", became anthems of the anti-war and civil rights movements, with Joan Baez and Dylan singing together at the March on Washington in 1963. However he later became disenchanted with the and civil liberty protest scene, feeling that he had been used by them. His album Bringing It All Back Home marked a move away from the folk scene and a move towards rock and roll and Dylan began to consciously distance himself from his early association with civil rights. He also started to become irritated when being interviewed, often given facetious or irreverent answers to questions. Bringing It All Back Home was a controversial album as it the first on which he played electric guitar. This was seen by some of his fans as a betrayal of this folk roots, with some saying that it obscured his meaningful and poetic lyrics. The second half of the 1960s was marked by a string of well received releases, with his song "Like a Rolling Stone", released in July of 1965, later being named "The Greatest Song of All Time" by Rolling Stone magazine in 2004, placing #1 in a list of 500 titles. It also marked the formation of Dylan's backing band The Hawks (who would later call themselves simply The Band). Dylan embarked on a world tour of Australia and Europe in 1966, during which he seemed to be under a lot of strain and pressure by both his fans, the music press and his own promoters. Dylan himself admitted that he began taking drugs seriously whilst on this tour, and found it immensely hard work. On returning to New York he crashed his motorbike, sustaining serious injuries in the process, and went
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News

Another Self Portrait 1969-1971: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 10 by Bob Dylan - ArtistDirect

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08/27/2013
$16.99

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Bob Dylan - St. Louis Riverfront Times (Event)

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7:00 p.m. April 23 - w/ Dawes - He's the celebrated poet-laureate of rock and roll, but Bob Dylan's credits extend beyond his trademark cadence and twisted wordsmith skills. With a career spanning five decades in the public eye, Dylan is king to not just his contemporaries, but nearly every singer-songwriter sinc...

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Articles

Bob Dylan: Enter Good-Time Bob The Independent, Oct 1997

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Bob Dylan: Bournemouth

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AS BOB DYLAN'S Never-Ending Tour ploughs on, his followers have given up second-guessing him. They know he can crush his legend or enhance it, from one night to the next. But this week in Bournemouth, surely, Dylan seemed poised for triumph. His new album, Time Out of Mind, shows his artistry at an unsettling peak. When he was last in Britain, too, only two years ago, he was a revelation, his once-fractured voice reborn. But as the ageing faithful filed in for another session, they knew Dylan's infamous contrariness could send all their hopes crashing down. In the event, his perversity was subtle. He disappointed in giving us what he thought we wanted.

There were no frills to his intentions. He walked on and blasted through 'Absolutely Sweet Marie' without a pause.

What was immediately clear was that his voice was at its strongest for years, and his band as drilled and flexible as he could have wished. After a decade of inaudible croaking, Dylan can sing anything he wants. His band can play anything he asks. But his mood was set tonight. He had decided to play country-blues. Never mind the depression revealed by Time Out of Mind.

This was Good-Time Bob, here to entertain us. There were moments when you were grateful. 'Memphis Blues Again' was exhilarating. But equally there were moments when good nature neutered songs which should have been fierce. Dylan, singing some of his finest work, seemed uninterested in its meaning. 'Tangled Up in Blue' became one more party tune. His choice of a country tone was apt. He seemed in the same state of happy denial as he was in 1969, when Nashville Skyline abandoned Vietnam trauma for down-home picking. Perhaps, as then, he just didn't want to be Bob Dylan tonight. Fortunately, he couldn't remain wholly cloaked in good cheer. There were moments which turned your preconceptions to dust, moments which pulled old songs into his new work's orbit. 'Mr Tambourine Man' once sounded like the musings of a wistful young man. Here, it sounded like he'd just written it. When he sang "I'm not sleepy, and there is no place I'm going to", he made the night sound unbearably long, a heartbreaking plea. When he sang of "evening's empire closing in", it sounded like approaching death.

'Like a Rolling Stone' started the other revelation. It's long been famous for its vitriolic assault on a spurned lover. But tonight, Dylan sang it with a smile. It seemed his ancient cause for complaint was over at last, that his venom had been drained. But that wasn't the whole story. At the end of the night, he relented and played one song from Time Out of Mind, 'Love Sick'. That was where the venom had gone. Dylan sang it with a spareness undimmed by the night's general mood. "I'm sick of love, I wish I'd never met you," he growled, his hurt no longer capable of wit, no longer believing in vengeance. In its closing line, he showed the extent of his change: "I'm lovesick. I'd do anything to be with you."

Such nakedness had to be caught in the night's few shadows. The frustration at Dylan's avoidance of his new work was only made worse by that lone, late glimpse of it. It's possible that its revelations are the last thing he wants to remind himself of, or that after years of abuse of his audience, he feels they deserve some old songs, well played. It's possible, too, that on some other night of this visit, some unsuspecting crowd will be subjected to solid, furious darkness, the new album without a chink of light to soften it. The minutes when Dylan's work reshaped into something brand-new weren't quite enough. What he thought we wanted and what we needed met too briefly to leave anyone sated.

Dylan’s Tarantula Zygote, Jan 1971

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TARANTULA: twenty-five year-old visions of reality/letters to himself and posterity, now here in some other form from miracle xerox. Tarantula--visions of Aretha, soul singer in 78 pages of ramblings through the muse. Well, yes they may have caught his soul on cellophane and plastic, and the moving finger having writ, moves on, but this was suppressed by the author and the publisher, dived down into posterity timezone to return years later as underground masterpiece of twisted mind and agonized feelings--

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Dylan, the man, the twenty-five year-old genius struggling with precocious knowledge that "one person's truth is always someone else's lie", writing a book which he knew was jus' goofing, sir, honest, but populated with brilliant wit, album-jacket characters from freaked reality. Fragments connected tissue-thin to Coincidence, and then Beauty, well she stood behind him and laughed into her beer while Muse, in tattered cloak turned headstands on the page... Fragments , connect, separate, titled as trips, bad dreams, paranoia, advice to self and posterity. The moving fingers writ and moved on to Woodstock, Blonde on Blonde, Highway 61 was revisited then, worked on from 1964-66 and shelved--too much hubris for Mr. D. tho was some spark not fanned...

Dylan, without benefit of clergy and A.J. Weberman, on the move through twisted famedreams, acid visions populated with amphetamine figures: Lonzo, Murph the Surf, The Senator, Jesus Christ, Suzy Q., The Good Samaritan, James Cagney, all make cameo appearances, like reading the back of Highway 61 Revisited and early poetry, written by a student who walls at U. Minn couldn't contain. References, cryptic to inside out Dylan Thomas, Joyce, ee cummings...Dylan inveterate punster, funster always reversing roles and then eating them whole...

Structure amorphous, titles and raps ended with poetry /letter /missile to futurity, signed with names of imagination, "compa", "wimp, your friendly pirate", "mouse", "willy purple", "pig", lazy henry", or "truman peyote"...poking fun, crying, masturbatory wordplaying, for friends with obscure references too trivial to recount. Some say there's many hundreds of pages somewhere in someone's basement, even mr. d. avers to the fact, but won't crack a smile, like his mother ought to know why them new-fangled critics beat their heads out on his verse, and Tarantula is something else for them to digest, not really outside for the multitudes to see, no, not really. Filled with messages outside to the other side of bob dylan, "...look down oh great romantic, you who can predict from every position, you who know that everybody's not a job or a nero or a j.c. penney...look down and seize your gambler's passion, make high wire experts into heroes, presidents into con men."

Dylan knowing with twenty-five year old precocity what he knew, the anguish of it...and recognition of basic truths, tho couched in symbolism,"...compared to the big day when you discover lord byron shooting craps in the morgue with his pants off and he's eating a picture of jean-paul belmondo & he offers you a piece of greenlightbulb & you realize that nobody's told you about this, & that life is not so simple after all", and that fragment closed with another letter in form of verse to reader or himself:

"for this chosen few, writing for any what
a drag it gets to be. writing one cpt. you.
you, daisy mae, who are not even of the masses
...funny thing, tho, is that youre not even
dead yet...i will nail my words to this paper,
an fly them onto you. an forget about them...
thank you for the time.
youre kind.
love and kisses
your double
Silly Eyes (in airplane trouble)"

Portraits arrange themselves in fluid style, vinyl-words like they used to be before the ACCIDENT, in another country where he was so fragrant, fresh and warm: "Poor optical muse known as uncle and carrying a chunk of wind & trees from the meadow", or "green maggie of profanity slapstick & her cast of seven coats shining & fighting the milkmaids & high whining barndoor slam-heavens!" onewordphrase adjectives of names "crowbar jane", "phombus pucker", "jacks of spades" or "vivaldi of the coin laundry"...the secret reader is in the free-flowing ideas like spaghetti on typewritten pages and the scansion of that flow--sit down at typewriter and mix up all that kafka, joyce, ee cummings, god, st. anselm, augustine, rufus thomas, and that hitch-hiking angel, jack kerouac/gregory corso-- write on. There's more but now to end with mr d's own obituary written half-mad and waiting for deadline time from the famemachine:

"here lies bob dylan
demolished by Vienna politeness-
which will now claim to have invented him
the cool people can
now write Fugues about him
& Cupid can now kick over his kerosene lamp-
bob dylan-filled by a discarded Oedipus
who turned
around
to investigate a ghost
& discovered that
the ghost too
was more than one person."

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Top Albums

Highway 61 Revisited cover art

Highway 61 Revisited

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The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan cover art

The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan

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Blood on the Tracks cover art

Blood on the Tracks

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Bringing It All Back Home cover art

Bringing It All Back Home

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Top Songs

Like a Rolling Stone cover art

Like a Rolling Stone

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Blowin' in the Wind cover art

Blowin' in the Wind

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Hurricane cover art

Hurricane

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Girl From the North Country cover art

Girl From the North Country

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Mr. Tambourine Man cover art

Mr. Tambourine Man

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Harvest by Neil Young

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