The Folk Musician
Bob Dylan

Master poet, caustic social critic and intrepid, guiding spirit of the counterculture generation


He was born with a snake above his fist while a hurricane was blowing.

You must know that. Know the fact, or the music, or the truth inside the mythology, spun from roots by his rough magic into cloth of gold, into songs that are the shifting, stormy center of American popular music in the second part of the very century when the music was invented.

Bob Dylan couldn't wait for the music to change. He couldn't be only part of the change. He was the change itself. The snake and the hurricane. And you do know that. If you've been listening only in passing, you know, among other things, that the answer's blowin' in the wind, the times they are achangin', everybody must get stoned, they're selling postcards of the hanging, and that to live outside the law you must be honest. Later, listening more closely, you found out that we're goin' all the way till the wheels fall off and burn, that dignity's never been photographed, and that no one plays the blues like Blind Willie McTell.

Those are legends and home truths, passed along in song, that became part of a cultural vocabulary and an ongoing American myth. Hundreds of songs; more than 500 and counting. Forty-three albums; more than 57 million copies sold. A series of dreams about America as it once and never was. It was folk music, deep within its core, from the mountains and the delta and the blacktop of Highway 61. Rhythm and blues, too, and juke-joint rock 'n' roll, and hymns from backwoods churches and gospel shouts from riverside baptisms. He put all that together, and found words to match it.

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They Shall Overcome: Protest songs that changed the world

BORN May 24, 1941, in Duluth, Minn., as Robert Allan Zimmerman

1961 Moves to New York City's Greenwich Village

1963 Writes antiwar song, "Blowin' in the Wind"

1964-66 Releases albums "The Times They Are a-Changin'" and "Blonde on Blonde," folk classics

1965 Goes electric at Newport Folk Fest

1989 Inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

1998 "Time Out of Mind" wins Grammy for Album of the Year

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