Robert Allen Zimmerman was born in Duluth, Minnesota on May 24, 1941. Listening to country, blues and early rock ‘n’ roll. In his 1959 school yearbook, the young Zimmerman listed as his life’s ambition “to follow Little Richard.” To that end, Robert played guitar in local groups and even backed Bobby Vee on some dates before becoming Bob Dylan.
A lot of folk artists became pop music icons in the years before Bob Dylan: Burl Ives, The Weavers, the Tarriers, Jimmie Rodgers, The Kingston Trio and many others. It took Bob Dylan, though, to kick what became the ‘60s’ folk-rock boom into high gear.
While the early Bob Dylan records sold poorly, his manager, Albert Grossman, felt Dylan’s songs had potential. Grossman had another of his acts, Peter, Paul & Mary, cover Dylan’s “Blowin’ In The Wind” in 1963. The resulting Grammy-winning hit cast its composer in a whole new light. Other artists, from The Byrds to Sonny & Cher, Rick Nelson to The Hollies began to record Dylan songs. By 1965 Bob himself was scoring hit singles: nearly two dozen on Billboard’s Hot 100 charts through 1984. A dozen of those reached the Top 40; the biggest being “Like A Rolling Stone” in 1965, “Positively Fourth Street” in 1965, “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” in 1966, “I Want You” in 1966, “Lay Lady Lay” in 1969, “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” in 1973 and “Gotta Serve Somebody” in 1979.
Where Dylan really excelled was as an album seller. 39 charted between 1963 and 1995 with 22 earning gold or platinum status. Among his most acclaimed: “Bringing It All Back Home” in 1965, “Blonde on Blonde” in 1966, “Nashville Skyline” in 1969, “Planet Waves” in 1974, “Blood on the Tracks” in 1975, “Desire” in 1976 and “Slow Train Coming” in 1979.
Bob Dylan lives in Malibu, California.
Along with the many awarded during his career, Bob Dylan was awarded a “Lifetime Achievement” Grammy in 1991. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1982 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 and the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in 2011.