Jewish Entertainment
Jewish Actors, Playwrights, Comedians, Musicians

Bob Dylan
Jewish Name - Shabtai Zisel ben Avraham

Bob Dylan is a Jewish singer-songwriter, musician, and artist. Bob Dylan was awarded the honor of his inclusion in Jewish Entertainers by Jew Watch News during the Winter of 2003. Bob Dylan has been an influential figure in popular music and culture for over five decades.[1][2] Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when Bob Dylan was an informal chronicler and a seemingly reluctant figurehead of social unrest. A number of 's early songs, such as "Blowin' in the Wind" and "The Times They Are a-Changin'", became anthems for the US civil rights[3] and anti-war[4] movements. Leaving his initial base in the culture of folk music behind, Bob Dylan's six-minute single "Like a Rolling Stone" has been described as radically altering the parameters of popular music in 1965.[5] His recordings employing electric instruments attracted denunciation and criticism from others in the folk movement.

Bob Dylan's lyrics incorporated a variety of political, social, philosophical, and literary influences. They defied existing pop music conventions and appealed hugely to the then burgeoning counterculture. Initially inspired by the songs of Woody Guthrie,[6] Robert Johnson,[7] and Hank Williams, and the music and performance styles of Buddy Holly, Little Richard and Elvis Presley,[8] Bob Dylan has both amplified and personalized musical genres. His recording career, spanning fifty years, has explored numerous distinct traditions in American song—from folk, blues and country to gospel, rock and roll, and rockabilly to English, Scottish, and Irish folk music, embracing even jazz and swing.[9]

Bob Dylan performs with guitar, keyboards, and harmonica. Backed by a changing line-up of musicians, Bob Dylan has toured steadily since the late 1980s on what has been dubbed the Never Ending Tour. His accomplishments as a recording artist and performer have been central to his career, but his greatest contribution is generally considered to be his songwriting.[1]

Since 1994, Bob Dylan has published three books of drawings and paintings, and his work has been exhibited in major art galleries.[10][11] As a songwriter and musician, Bob Dylan has received numerous awards over the years including Grammy, Golden Globe, and Academy Awards; Bob Dylan has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and Songwriters Hall of Fame. The Pulitzer Prize jury in 2008 awarded him a special citation for "his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power."[12] In May 2012, Bob Dylan received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.[13]

Life and career

Origins and musical beginnings

Bob Dylan was born "Robert Allen Zimmerman" (Hebrew name: Shabtai Zisel ben Avraham) [14][15] in St. Mary's Hospital on May 24, 1941, in Duluth, Minnesota,[16][17] and raised in Hibbing, Minnesota, on the Mesabi Iron Range west of Lake Superior. His paternal grandparents, Zigman and Anna Zimmerman, emigrated from Odessa in the Russian Empire (now Ukraine) to the United States following the anti-Semitic pogroms of 1905.[18] His maternal grandparents, Benjamin and Lybba Edelstein, were Lithuanian Jews who arrived in the United States in 1902.[18] In his autobiography Chronicles: Volume One, Bob Dylan writes that his paternal grandmother's maiden name was Kyrgyz and her family originated from Kars Province in Turkey.[19]

Bob Dylan's parents, Abram Zimmerman and Beatrice "Beatty" Stone, were part of the area's small but close-knit Jewish community. Robert Zimmerman lived in Duluth until age six, when his father was stricken with polio and the family returned to his mother's home town, Hibbing, where Zimmerman spent the rest of his childhood. Robert Zimmerman spent much of his youth listening to the radio—first to blues and country stations broadcasting from Shreveport, Louisiana and, later, to early rock and roll.[8] Bob Dylan formed several bands while Bob Dylan attended Hibbing High School. The Shadow Blasters was short-lived, but his next, The Golden Chords, lasted longer and played covers of Little Richard rock and roll[20] and other popular songs.[21] Their performance of Danny and the Juniors' "Rock and Roll Is Here to Stay" at their high school talent show was so loud that the principal cut the microphone off.[22] In 1959, his high school yearbook carried, beneath his photo, the caption: "Robert Zimmerman: to join 'Little Richard'."[20][23] The same year, using the name Elston Gunnn [sic], Bob Dylan performed two dates with Bobby Vee, playing piano and providing handclaps.[24][25][26]

Zimmerman moved to Minneapolis in September 1959 and enrolled at the University of Minnesota, where his early focus on rock and roll gave way to an interest in American folk music. In 1985, Bob Dylan explained the attraction that folk music had exerted on him:

The thing about rock'n'roll is that for me anyway it wasn't enough ... There were great catch-phrases and driving pulse rhythms ... but the songs weren't serious or didn't reflect life in a realistic way. I knew that when I got into folk music, it was more of a serious type of thing. The songs are filled with more despair, more sadness, more triumph, more faith in the supernatural, much deeper feelings.[27]

Bob Dylan soon began to perform at the Ten O'Clock Scholar, a coffeehouse a few blocks from campus, and became actively involved in the local Dinkytown folk music circuit.[28][29]

During his Dinkytown days, Zimmerman began introducing himself as "Bob Dylan".[30] In his autobiography, Bob Dylan acknowledged that Bob Dylan had been influenced by the poetry of Bob Dylan Thomas.[31][a 1] Explaining his change of name in a 2004 interview, Bob Dylan remarked: "You're born, you know, the wrong names, wrong parents. I mean, that happens. You call yourself what you want to call yourself. This is the land of the free."[32]

Bob Dylan dropped out of college at the end of his freshman year. In January 1961, Bob Dylan traveled to New York City, hoping to perform there and visit his musical idol Woody Guthrie,[33] who was seriously ill with Huntington's Disease in Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital.[34] Guthrie had been a revelation to Bob Dylan and was the biggest influence on his early performances. Describing Guthrie's impact on him, Bob Dylan later wrote: "The songs themselves had the infinite sweep of humanity in them ... [Bob Dylan] was the true voice of the American spirit. I said to myself I was going to be Guthrie's greatest disciple."[35] As well as visiting Guthrie in the hospital, Bob Dylan befriended Guthrie's acolyte Ramblin' Jack Elliott. Much of Guthrie's repertoire was actually channeled through Elliott, and Bob Dylan paid tribute to Elliott in Chronicles (2004).[36]

From February 1961, Bob Dylan played at various clubs around Greenwich Village. Bob Dylan befriended and picked up material from many folk singers in the Village scene, including Dave Van Ronk, Fred Neil, Odetta, the New Lost City Ramblers, and Irish musicians Tommy Makem and the Clancy Brothers.[37] In September, Bob Dylan gained some public recognition when Robert Shelton wrote a positive review in The New York Times of a show at Gerde's Folk City.[38] The same month Bob Dylan played harmonica on folk singer Carolyn Hester's eponymous third album, which brought his talents to the attention of the album's producer, John Hammond.[39] Hammond signed Bob Dylan to Columbia Records in October. The performances on his first Columbia album, Bob Dylan (1962), consisted of familiar folk, blues and gospel material combined with two original compositions. The album made little impact, selling only 5,000 copies in its first year, just enough to break even.[40] Within Columbia Records, some referred to the singer as "Hammond's Folly" and suggested dropping his contract. Hammond defended Bob Dylan vigorously. In March 1962, Bob Dylan contributed harmonica and back-up vocals to the album Three Kings and the Queen, accompanying Victoria Spivey and Big Joe Williams on a recording for Spivey Records.[41] While working for Columbia, Bob Dylan also recorded several songs under the pseudonym Blind Boy Grunt,[42] for Broadside Magazine, a folk music magazine and record label.[43] Bob Dylan used the pseudonym Bob Landy to record as a piano player on the 1964 anthology album, The Blues Project, issued by Elektra Records.[42] Under the pseudonym Tedham Porterhouse, Bob Dylan contributed harmonica to Ramblin' Jack Elliott's 1964 album Jack Elliott.[42]
Bob Dylan is seated, singing and playing guitar. Seated to his right is a woman gazing upwards and singing with him.
With Joan Baez during the civil rights "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom", August 28, 1963
Bob Dylan with his guitar onstage, laughing and looking downwards.
Bob Dylan in November 1963

"Blowin' in the Wind"

Blowin' in the Wind was, according to critic Andy Gill, "the song with which Bob Dylan's name is most inextricably linked, and safeguarded his reputation as a civil libertarian through any number of changes in style and attitude".[44]

Bob Dylan made two important career moves in August 1962. Bob Dylan legally changed his name to Bob Dylan,[45] and signed a management contract with Albert Grossman.[46] Grossman remained Bob Dylan's manager until 1970, and was notable both for his sometimes confrontational personality, and for the fiercely protective loyalty Bob Dylan displayed towards his principal client.[47] Bob Dylan subsequently said of Grossman, "Bob Dylan was kind of like a Colonel Tom Parker figure ... you could smell him coming."[29] Tensions between Grossman and John Hammond led to Hammond being replaced as the producer of Bob Dylan's second album by the young African American jazz producer Tom Wilson.[48]

From December 1962 to January 1963, Bob Dylan made his first trip to the United Kingdom.[49] Bob Dylan had been invited by TV director Philip Saville to appear in a drama, The Madhouse on Castle Street, which Saville was directing for BBC Television.[50] At the end of the play, Bob Dylan performed "Blowin' in the Wind", one of the first major public performances of the song.[50] The film recording of The Madhouse on Castle Street was destroyed by the BBC in 1968.[50] While in London, Bob Dylan performed at several London folk clubs, including Les Cousins, and Bunjies.[49] Bob Dylan also learned new songs from several UK performers, including Martin Carthy.[50]

By the time Bob Dylan's second album, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, was released in May 1963, Bob Dylan had begun to make his name as both a singer and a songwriter. Many of the songs on this album were labeled protest songs, inspired partly by Guthrie and influenced by Pete Seeger's passion for topical songs.[51] "Oxford Town", for example, was a sardonic account of James Meredith's ordeal as the first black student to risk enrollment at the University of Mississippi.[52]

His most famous song at this time, "Blowin' in the Wind", partially derived its melody from the traditional slave song "No More Auction Block", while its lyrics questioned the social and political status quo.[53] The song was widely recorded and became an international hit for Peter, Paul and Mary, setting a precedent for many other artists who had hits with Bob Dylan's songs. "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall" was based on the tune of the folk ballad "Lord Randall". With its veiled references to nuclear apocalypse, it gained even more resonance when the Cuban missile crisis developed only a few weeks after Bob Dylan began performing it.[54] Like "Blowin' in the Wind", "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall" marked an important new direction in modern songwriting, blending a stream-of-consciousness, imagist lyrical attack with a traditional folk form.[55]

While Bob Dylan's topical songs solidified his early reputation, Freewheelin' also included a mixture of love songs and jokey, surreal talking blues. Humor was a large part of Bob Dylan's persona,[56] and the range of material on the album impressed many listeners, including The Beatles. George Harrison said, "We just played it, just wore it out. The content of the song lyrics and just the attitude—it was incredibly original and wonderful."[57]

The rough edge of Bob Dylan's singing was unsettling to some early listeners but an attraction to others. Describing the impact that Bob Dylan had on her and her husband, Joyce Carol Oates wrote: "When we first heard this raw, very young, and seemingly untrained voice, frankly nasal, as if sandpaper could sing, the effect was dramatic and electrifying."[58] Many of his most famous early songs first reached the public through more immediately palatable versions by other performers, such as Joan Baez, who became Bob Dylan's advocate, as well as his lover.[59] Baez was influential in bringing Bob Dylan to national and international prominence by recording several of his early songs and inviting him onstage during her own concerts.[60]

Others who recorded and had hits with Bob Dylan's songs in the early and mid-1960s included The Byrds; Sonny and Cher; The Hollies; Peter, Paul and Mary; The Association; Manfred Mann; and The Turtles. Most attempted to impart a pop feel and rhythm to the songs, while Bob Dylan and Baez performed them mostly as sparse folk pieces. The cover versions became so ubiquitous that CBS started to promote him with the tag "Nobody Sings Bob Dylan Like Bob Dylan."[61]

"Mixed Up Confusion", recorded during the Freewheelin' sessions with a backing band, was released as a single and then quickly withdrawn. In contrast to the mostly solo acoustic performances on the album, the single showed a willingness to experiment with a rockabilly sound. Cameron Crowe described it as "a fascinating look at a folk artist with his mind wandering towards Elvis Presley and Sun Records."[62]

Protest and Another Side

In May 1963, Bob Dylan's political profile was raised when Bob Dylan walked out of The Ed Sullivan Show. During rehearsals, Bob Dylan had been informed by CBS Television's "head of program practices" that the song Bob Dylan was planning to perform, "Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues", was potentially libelous to the John Birch Society. Rather than comply with the censorship, Bob Dylan refused to appear on the program.[63]

"The Times They Are a-Changin'"
Bob Dylan said of "The Times They Are a-Changin'": "This was definitely a song with a purpose. I wanted to write a big song, some kind of theme song, with short concise verses that piled up on each other in a hypnotic way. The civil rights movement and the folk music movement were pretty close and allied together at that time."[27]

By this time, Bob Dylan and Baez were both prominent in the civil rights movement, singing together at the March on Washington on August 28, 1963.[64] Bob Dylan's third album, The Times They Are a-Changin', reflected a more politicized and cynical Bob Dylan.[65] The songs often took as their subject matter contemporary, real life stories, with "Only A Pawn In Their Game" addressing the murder of civil rights worker Medgar Evers; and the Brechtian "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll" the death of black hotel barmaid Hattie Carroll, at the hands of young white socialite William Zantzinger.[66] On a more general theme, "Ballad of Hollis Brown" and "North Country Blues" address the despair engendered by the breakdown of farming and mining communities. This political material was accompanied by two personal love songs, "Boots of Spanish Leather" and "One Too Many Mornings".[67]

By the end of 1963, Bob Dylan felt both manipulated and constrained by the folk and protest movements.[68] These tensions were publicly displayed when, accepting the "Tom Paine Award" from the National Emergency Civil Liberties Committee shortly after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, an intoxicated Bob Dylan brashly questioned the role of the committee, characterized the members as old and balding, and claimed to see something of himself (and of every man) in Kennedy's alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald.[69]
A spotlight shines on Bob Dylan as Bob Dylan performs onstage.
Bobby Bob Dylan, as the college yearbook lists him: St. Lawrence University, upstate New York, November 1963

Another Side of Bob Dylan, recorded on a single June evening in 1964,[70] had a lighter mood than its predecessor. The surreal, humorous Bob Dylan reemerged on "I Shall Be Free No. 10" and "Motorpsycho Nightmare". "Spanish Harlem Incident" and "To Ramona" are romantic and passionate love songs, while "Black Crow Blues" and "I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met)" suggest the rock and roll soon to dominate Bob Dylan's music. "It Ain't Me Babe", on the surface a song about spurned love, has been described as a rejection of the role his reputation had thrust at him.[71] His newest direction was signaled by two lengthy songs: the impressionistic "Chimes of Freedom", which sets elements of social commentary against a denser metaphorical landscape in a style later characterized by Allen Ginsberg as "chains of flashing images,"[72] and "My Back Pages", which attacks the simplistic and arch seriousness of his own earlier topical songs and seems to predict the backlash Bob Dylan was about to encounter from his former champions as Bob Dylan took a new direction.[73]

In the latter half of 1964 and 1965, Bob Dylan's appearance and musical style changed rapidly, as Bob Dylan made his move from leading contemporary songwriter of the folk scene to folk-rock pop-music star. His scruffy jeans and work shirts were replaced by a Carnaby Street wardrobe, sunglasses day or night, and pointy "Beatle boots". A London reporter wrote: "Hair that would set the teeth of a comb on edge. A loud shirt that would dim the neon lights of Leicester Square. Bob Dylan looks like an undernourished cockatoo."[74] Bob Dylan also began to spar in increasingly surreal ways with his interviewers. Appearing on the Les Crane TV show and asked about a movie Bob Dylan was planning to make, Bob Dylan told Crane it would be a cowboy horror movie. Asked if Bob Dylan played the cowboy, Bob Dylan replied, "No, I play my mother."[75]

Going electric
Main article: Electric Bob Dylan controversy

Bob Dylan's April 1965 album Bringing It All Back Home was yet another stylistic leap,[76] featuring his first recordings made with electric instruments. The first single, "Subterranean Homesick Blues", owed much to Chuck Berry's "Too Much Monkey Business";[77] its free association lyrics have been described as both harkening back to the manic energy of Beat poetry and as a forerunner of rap and hip-hop.[78] The song was provided with an early music video which opened D. A. Pennebaker's cinéma vérité presentation of Bob Dylan's 1965 tour of England, Dont Look Back.[79] Instead of miming to the recording, Bob Dylan illustrated the lyrics by throwing cue cards containing key words from the song on the ground. Pennebaker has said the sequence was Bob Dylan's idea, and it has been widely imitated in both music videos and advertisements.[80]

The second side of Bringing It All Back Home consisted of four long songs on which Bob Dylan accompanied himself on acoustic guitar and harmonica.[81] "Mr. Tambourine Man" quickly became one of Bob Dylan's best known songs when The Byrds recorded an electric version that reached number one in both the U.S. and the U.K. charts.[82][83] "It's All Over Now Baby Blue" and "It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" were acclaimed as two of Bob Dylan's most important compositions.[81][84]

In the summer of 1965, as the headliner at the Newport Folk Festival, Bob Dylan performed his first electric set since his high school days with a pickup group drawn mostly from the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, featuring Mike Bloomfield (guitar), Sam Lay (drums) and Jerome Arnold (bass), plus Al Kooper (organ) and Barry Goldberg (piano).[85] Bob Dylan had appeared at Newport in 1963 and 1964, but in 1965 Bob Dylan, met with a mix of cheering and booing, left the stage after only three songs. One version of the legend has it that the boos were from the outraged folk fans whom Bob Dylan had alienated by appearing, unexpectedly, with an electric guitar. Murray Lerner, who filmed the performance, said: "I absolutely think that they were booing Bob Dylan going electric."[86] An alternative account claims audience members were merely upset by poor sound quality and a surprisingly short set. This account is supported by Kooper and one of the directors of the festival, who reports his audio recording of the concert proves that the only boos were in reaction to the emcee's announcement that there was only enough time for a short set.[87][88]

Nevertheless, Bob Dylan's 1965 Newport performance provoked a hostile response from the folk music establishment.[89][90] In the September issue of Sing Out!, singer Ewan MacColl wrote: "Our traditional songs and ballads are the creations of extraordinarily talented artists working inside disciplines formulated over time... 'But what of Bobby Bob Dylan?' scream the outraged teenagers... Only a completely non-critical audience, nourished on the watery pap of pop music, could have fallen for such tenth-rate drivel."[91] On July 29, just four days after his controversial performance at Newport, Bob Dylan was back in the studio in New York, recording "Positively 4th Street". The lyrics teemed with images of vengeance and paranoia,[92] and it was widely interpreted as Bob Dylan's put-down of former friends from the folk community—friends Bob Dylan had known in the clubs along West 4th Street.[93]
Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde

"Like a Rolling Stone"
Bob Dylan's 1965 hit single, which appeared on the album Highway 61 Revisited. In 2004, it was chosen as the greatest song of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine.[94]
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In July 1965, Bob Dylan released the single "Like a Rolling Stone", which peaked at No.2 in the U.S. and at No.4 in the UK charts. At over six minutes, the song has been widely credited with altering attitudes about what a pop single could convey. Bruce Springsteen, in his speech during Bob Dylan's inauguration into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame said that on first hearing the single, "that snare shot sounded like somebody'd kicked open the door to your mind".[95] In 2004, and again in 2011, Rolling Stone magazine listed it as number one on its list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time".[94][96] The song also opened Bob Dylan's next album, Highway 61 Revisited, titled after the road that led from Bob Dylan's Minnesota to the musical hotbed of New Orleans.[97] The songs were in the same vein as the hit single, flavored by Mike Bloomfield's blues guitar and Al Kooper's organ riffs. "Desolation Row", backed by acoustic guitar and understated bass,[98] offers the sole exception, with Bob Dylan making surreal allusions to a variety of figures in Western culture during this epic song, described by Andy Gill as "an 11-minute epic of entropy, which takes the form of a Fellini-esque parade of grotesques and oddities featuring a huge cast of celebrated characters, some historical (Einstein, Nero), some biblical (Noah, Cain and Abel), some fictional (Ophelia, Romeo, Cinderella), some literary (T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound), and some who fit into none of the above categories, notably Dr. Filth and his dubious nurse."[99]

In support of the record, Bob Dylan was booked for two U.S. concerts and set about assembling a band. Mike Bloomfield was unwilling to leave the Butterfield Band, so Bob Dylan mixed Al Kooper and Harvey Brooks from his studio crew with Robbie Robertson and Levon Helm, best known at the time for being part of Ronnie Hawkins's backing band The Hawks (later to become The Band).[100] On August 28 at Forest Hills Tennis Stadium, the group was heckled by an audience still annoyed by Bob Dylan's electric sound. The band's reception on September 3 at the Hollywood Bowl was more favorable.[101]

While Bob Dylan and the Hawks met increasingly receptive audiences on tour, their studio efforts floundered. Producer Bob Johnston persuaded Bob Dylan to record in Nashville in February 1966, and surrounded him with a cadre of top-notch session men. At Bob Dylan's insistence, Robertson and Kooper came down from New York City to play on the sessions.[102] The Nashville sessions produced the double-album Blonde on Blonde (1966), featuring what Bob Dylan later called "that thin wild mercury sound".[103] Al Kooper described the album as "taking two cultures and smashing them together with a huge explosion": the musical world of Nashville and the world of the "quintessential New York hipster" Bob Dylan.[104]

On November 22, 1965, Bob Dylan secretly married 25-year-old former model Sara Lownds.[105] Some of Bob Dylan's friends (including Ramblin' Jack Elliott) claim that, in conversation immediately after the event, Bob Dylan denied that Bob Dylan was married.[105] Journalist Nora Ephron first made the news public in the New York Post in February 1966 with the headline "Hush! Bob Dylan is wed."[106]

Bob Dylan undertook a world tour of Australia and Europe in the spring of 1966. Each show was split into two parts. Bob Dylan performed solo during the first half, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar and harmonica. In the second half, backed by the Hawks, Bob Dylan played high voltage electric music. This contrast provoked many fans, who jeered and slow handclapped.[107] The tour culminated in a famously raucous confrontation between Bob Dylan and his audience at the Manchester Free Trade Hall in England on May 17, 1966.[108] An official recording of this concert was finally released in 1998: The Bootleg Series Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live 1966. At the climax of the evening, a member of the audience, angered by Bob Dylan's electric backing, shouted: "Judas!" to which Bob Dylan responded, "I don't believe you ... You're a liar!" Bob Dylan turned to his band and said, "Play it fucking loud!"[109] as they launched into the final song of the night—"Like a Rolling Stone."

During his 1966 tour, Bob Dylan was frequently described as exhausted and acting "as if on a death trip".[110] D. A. Pennebaker, the film maker accompanying the tour, described Bob Dylan as "taking a lot of amphetamine and who-knows-what-else."[111] In a 1969 interview with Jann Wenner, Bob Dylan said, "I was on the road for almost five years. It wore me down. I was on drugs, a lot of things... just to keep going, you know?"[112] In 2011, BBC Radio 4 reported that, in an interview which Robert Shelton had taped in 1966, Bob Dylan claimed that Bob Dylan had kicked a heroin habit in New York City: "I got very, very strung out for a while... I had about a $25-a-day habit and I kicked it."[113] Some journalists questioned the validity of this confession, pointing out that Bob Dylan had "been telling journalists wild lies about his past since the earliest days of his career."[114][115]
Motorcycle accident and reclusion

After his European tour, Bob Dylan returned to New York, but the pressures on him increased. ABC Television had paid an advance for a TV show they could screen.[116] His publisher, Macmillan, was demanding a finished manuscript of the poem/novel Tarantula. Manager Albert Grossman had already scheduled an extensive concert tour for that summer and fall.

On July 29, 1966, Bob Dylan crashed his 500cc Triumph Tiger 100 motorcycle on a road near his home in Woodstock, New York, throwing him to the ground. Though the extent of his injuries were never fully disclosed, Bob Dylan said that Bob Dylan broke several vertebrae in his neck.[117] Mystery still surrounds the circumstances of the accident since no ambulance was called to the scene and Bob Dylan was not hospitalized.[117] Bob Dylan's biographers have written that the crash offered Bob Dylan the much-needed chance to escape from the pressures that had built up around him.[117][118] Bob Dylan confirmed this interpretation of the crash when Bob Dylan stated in his autobiography, "I had been in a motorcycle accident and I'd been hurt, but I recovered. Truth was that I wanted to get out of the rat race."[119] In the wake of his accident, Bob Dylan withdrew from the public and, apart from a few select appearances, did not tour again for almost eight years.[120]

Once Bob Dylan was well enough to resume creative work, Bob Dylan began editing film footage of his 1966 tour for Eat the Document, a rarely exhibited follow-up to Dont Look Back. A rough-cut was shown to ABC Television and was promptly rejected as incomprehensible to a mainstream audience.[121] In 1967 Bob Dylan began recording music with the Hawks at his home and in the basement of the Hawks' nearby house, called "Big Pink".[122] These songs, initially compiled as demos for other artists to record, provided hit singles for Julie Driscoll ("This Wheel's on Fire"), The Byrds ("You Ain't Goin' Nowhere", "Nothing Was Delivered"), and Manfred Mann ("Mighty Quinn"). Columbia belatedly released selections from them in 1975 as The Basement Tapes. Over the years, more and more of the songs recorded by Bob Dylan and his band in 1967 appeared on various bootleg recordings, culminating in a five-CD bootleg set titled The Genuine Basement Tapes, containing 107 songs and alternate takes.[123] In the coming months, the Hawks recorded the album Music from Big Pink using songs they first worked on in their basement in Woodstock, and renamed themselves The Band,[124] thus beginning a long and successful recording and performing career of their own.

In October and November 1967, Bob Dylan returned to Nashville.[125] Back in the recording studio after a 19-month break, Bob Dylan was accompanied only by Charlie McCoy on bass,[126] Kenny Buttrey on drums,[127] and Pete Drake on steel guitar.[128] The result was John Wesley Harding, a quiet, contemplative record of shorter songs, set in a landscape that drew on both the American West and the Bible. The sparse structure and instrumentation, coupled with lyrics that took the Judeo-Christian tradition seriously, marked a departure not only from Bob Dylan's own work but from the escalating psychedelic fervor of the 1960s musical culture.[129] It included "All Along the Watchtower", with lyrics derived from the Book of Isaiah (21:5–9). The song was later recorded by Jimi Hendrix, whose version Bob Dylan later acknowledged as definitive.[27] Woody Guthrie died on October 3, 1967, and Bob Dylan made his first live appearance in twenty months at a Guthrie memorial concert held at Carnegie Hall on January 20, 1968, where Bob Dylan was backed by The Band.

"Lay Lady Lay"
"Lay Lady Lay", on the country album Nashville Skyline, has been one of Bob Dylan's biggest hits, reaching No.7 in the U.S.A.[130]
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Bob Dylan's next release, Nashville Skyline (1969), was virtually a mainstream country record featuring instrumental backing by Nashville musicians, a mellow-voiced Bob Dylan, a duet with Johnny Cash, and the hit single "Lay Lady Lay."[131] Variety magazine wrote, "Bob Dylan is definitely doing something that can be called singing. Somehow Bob Dylan has managed to add an octave to his range."[132] Bob Dylan and Cash also recorded a series of duets, but only their recording of Bob Dylan's "Girl from the North Country" was used on the album.

In May 1969, Bob Dylan appeared on the first episode of Johnny Cash's new television show, duetting with Cash on "Girl from the North Country", "I Threw It All Away" and "Living the Blues". Bob Dylan next travelled to England to top the bill at the Isle of Wight rock festival on August 31, 1969, after rejecting overtures to appear at the Woodstock Festival far closer to his home.[133]

In the early 1970s, critics charged that Bob Dylan's output was of varied and unpredictable quality. Rolling Stone magazine writer Greil Marcus notoriously asked "What is this shit?" on first listening to Self Portrait, released in June 1970.[134][135] In general, Self Portrait, a double LP including few original songs, was poorly received.[136] In October 1970, Bob Dylan released New Morning, which some considered a return to form.[137] In November 1968, Bob Dylan had co-written "I'd Have You Anytime" with George Harrison;[138] Harrison recorded both "I'd Have You Anytime" and Bob Dylan's "If Not for You" for his 1970 solo triple album All Things Must Pass. Bob Dylan's surprise appearance at Harrison's 1971 Concert for Bangladesh attracted much media coverage, reflecting that Bob Dylan's live appearances had become rare.[139]

Between March 16 and 19, 1971, Bob Dylan reserved three days at Blue Rock Studios, a small studio in New York's Greenwich Village. These sessions resulted in one single, "Watching the River Flow", and a new recording of "When I Paint My Masterpiece".[140] On November 4, 1971 Bob Dylan recorded "George Jackson", which Bob Dylan released a week later. For many, the single was a surprising return to protest material, mourning the killing of Black Panther George Jackson in San Quentin Prison that summer.[141] Bob Dylan contributed piano and harmony vocals to Steve Goodman's album, Somebody Else's Troubles, under the pseudonym Robert Milkwood Thomas in September 1972.[142]

In 1972, Bob Dylan signed onto Sam Peckinpah's film Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, providing songs and backing music for the movie, and playing the role of "Alias", a member of Billy's gang with some historical basis.[143] Despite the film's failure at the box office, the song "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" has proven its durability as one of Bob Dylan's most extensively covered songs.[144][145]
Return to touring
Bob Dylan together with three musicians from The Band onstage. Bob Dylan is third from left, wearing a black jacket and pants. Bob Dylan is singing and playing an electric guitar.
Bob Dylan and The Band touring in Chicago, 1974

Bob Dylan began 1973 by signing with a new record label, David Geffen's Asylum Records, when his contract with Columbia Records expired. On his next album, Planet Waves, Bob Dylan used The Band as backing group, while rehearsing for a major tour. The album included two versions of "Forever Young", which became one of his most popular songs.[146] As one critic described it, the song projected "something hymnal and heartfelt that spoke of the father in Bob Dylan",[147] and Bob Dylan himself commented: "I wrote it thinking about one of my boys and not wanting to be too sentimental."[148] Biographer Howard Sounes noted that Jakob Bob Dylan believed the song was about him.[146]

Columbia Records simultaneously released Bob Dylan, a haphazard collection of studio outtakes (almost exclusively cover songs), which was widely interpreted as a churlish response to Bob Dylan's signing with a rival record label.[149] In January 1974, Bob Dylan returned to live touring after a break of seven years; backed by The Band, Bob Dylan embarked on a high-profile, coast-to-coast North American tour, playing 40 concerts. A live double album of the tour, Before the Flood, was released on Asylum Records. Soon, Columbia Records sent word that they "will spare nothing to bring Bob Dylan back into the fold".[150] Bob Dylan had second thoughts about Asylum, apparently miffed that while there had been millions of unfulfilled ticket requests for the 1974 tour, Geffen had managed to sell only 700,000 copies of Planet Waves.[150] Bob Dylan returned to Columbia Records, which subsequently reissued his two Asylum albums on their imprint.

"Tangled Up in Blue"
Bob Dylan said of the opening song from Blood on the Tracks: "I was trying to deal with the concept of time, and the way the characters change from the first person to the third person, and you're never sure if the first person is talking or the third person. But as you look at the whole thing it really doesn't matter."[27]
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After the tour, Bob Dylan and his wife became publicly estranged. Bob Dylan filled a small red notebook with songs about relationships and ruptures, and quickly recorded a new album entitled Blood on the Tracks in September 1974.[151] Bob Dylan delayed the album's release, however, and re-recorded half of the songs at Sound 80 Studios in Minneapolis with production assistance from his brother David Zimmerman.[152]

Released in early 1975, Blood on the Tracks received mixed reviews. In the NME, Nick Kent described "the accompaniments [as] often so trashy they sound like mere practice takes."[153] In Rolling Stone, reviewer Jon Landau wrote that "the record has been made with typical shoddiness."[153] However, over the years critics have come to see it as one of Bob Dylan's greatest achievements, perhaps the only serious rival to his mid-1960s trilogy of albums. In, Bill Wyman wrote: "Blood on the Tracks is his only flawless album and his best produced; the songs, each of them, are constructed in disciplined fashion. It is his kindest album and most dismayed, and seems in hindsight to have achieved a sublime balance between the logorrhea-plagued excesses of his mid-1960s output and the self-consciously simple compositions of his post-accident years."[154] Novelist Rick Moody called it "the truest, most honest account of a love affair from tip to stern ever put down on magnetic tape."[155]
Bob Dylan, wearing a hat and leather coat, plays guitar and sings, seated. Crouched next to him is a bearded man, listening to him with head bent.
Bob Dylan photographed by Elsa Dorfman with Allen Ginsberg, on the Rolling Thunder Revue in 1975

That summer Bob Dylan wrote a lengthy ballad championing the cause of boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, who had been imprisoned for a triple murder committed in Paterson, New Jersey, in 1966. After visiting Carter in jail, Bob Dylan wrote "Hurricane", presenting the case for Carter's innocence. Despite its 8:32 minute length, the song was released as a single, peaking at No.33 on the U.S. Billboard Chart, and performed at every 1975 date of Bob Dylan's next tour, the Rolling Thunder Revue, named after the Shoshone medicine man, shaman, teacher, and activist Rolling Thunder.[156][157] The tour was a varied evening of entertainment featuring about one hundred performers and supporters drawn from the resurgent Greenwich Village folk scene, including T-Bone Burnett, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Joni Mitchell,[158][159] David Mansfield, Roger McGuinn, Mick Ronson, Joan Baez, and violinist Scarlet Rivera, whom Bob Dylan discovered while she was walking down the street, her violin case hanging on her back.[160] Allen Ginsberg accompanied the troupe, staging scenes for the film Bob Dylan was simultaneously shooting. Sam Shepard was initially hired to write the film's screenplay, but ended up accompanying the tour as informal chronicler.[161]

Running through late 1975 and again through early 1976, the tour encompassed the release of the album Desire, with many of Bob Dylan's new songs featuring an almost travelogue-like narrative style, showing the influence of his new collaborator, playwright Jacques Levy.[162][163] The spring 1976 half of the tour was documented by a TV concert special, Hard Rain, and the LP Hard Rain; no concert album from the better-received and better-known opening half of the tour was released until 2002's Live 1975.[164]
Bob Dylan performing in Rotterdam, June 23, 1978

The fall 1975 tour with the Revue also provided the backdrop to Bob Dylan's nearly four-hour film Renaldo and Clara, a sprawling and improvised narrative, mixed with concert footage and reminiscences. Released in 1978, the movie received generally poor, sometimes scathing, reviews and had a very brief theatrical run.[165][166] Later in that year, Bob Dylan allowed a two-hour edit, dominated by the concert performances, to be more widely released.[167]

In November 1976, Bob Dylan appeared at The Band's "farewell" concert, along with other guests including Joni Mitchell, Muddy Waters, Van Morrison and Neil Young. Martin Scorsese's acclaimed cinematic chronicle of this show, The Last Waltz, was released in 1978 and included about half of Bob Dylan's set.[168] In 1976, Bob Dylan also wrote and duetted on the song "Sign Language" for Eric Clapton's No Reason To Cry.[169]

In 1978, Bob Dylan embarked on a year-long world tour, performing 114 shows in Japan, the Far East, Europe and the US, to a total audience of two million people. For the tour, Bob Dylan assembled an eight piece band, and was also accompanied by three backing singers. Concerts in Tokyo in February and March were recorded and released as the live double album, Bob Dylan At Budokan.[170] Reviews were mixed. Robert Christgau awarded the album a C+ rating, giving the album a derisory review,[171] while Janet Maslin defended it in Rolling Stone, writing: "These latest live versions of his old songs have the effect of liberating Bob Dylan from the originals."[172] When Bob Dylan brought the tour to the US in September 1978, Bob Dylan was dismayed the press described the look and sound of the show as a 'Las Vegas Tour'.[173] The 1978 tour grossed more than $20 million, and Bob Dylan acknowledged to the Los Angeles Times that Bob Dylan had some debts to pay off because "I had a couple of bad years. I put a lot of money into the movie, built a big house ... and it costs a lot to get divorced in California."[170]

In April and May 1978, Bob Dylan took the same large band and backing vocalists into Rundown Studios, a rehearsal space Bob Dylan had rented in Santa Monica, California, to record an album of new material: Street-Legal.[174] It was described by Michael Gray as, "after Blood On The Tracks, arguably Bob Dylan's best record of the 1970s: a crucial album documenting a crucial period in Bob Dylan's own life".[175] However, it suffered from poor sound recording and mixing (attributed to Bob Dylan's studio practices), muddying the instrumental detail until a remastered CD release in 1999 restored some of the songs' strengths.[176]
Born-again period
Further information: Slow Train Coming

"Gotta Serve Somebody"
Bob Dylan took five months off at the beginning of 1979 to attend Bible school.[27] His subsequent album Slow Train Coming reached No.3 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart and included this Grammy-winning song.
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In the late 1970s, Bob Dylan became a born-again Christian[177][178][179] and released two albums of Christian gospel music. Slow Train Coming (1979) featured the guitar accompaniment of Mark Knopfler (of Dire Straits) and was produced by veteran R&B producer, Jerry Wexler. Wexler recalled that when Bob Dylan had tried to evangelize him during the recording, Bob Dylan replied: "Bob, you're dealing with a sixty-two-year old Jewish atheist. Let's just make an album."[180] The album won Bob Dylan a Grammy Award as "Best Male Vocalist" for the song "Gotta Serve Somebody". The second evangelical album, Saved (1980), received mixed reviews, and was described by Bob Dylan critic Michael Gray as "the nearest thing to a follow-up album Bob Dylan has ever made, Slow Train Coming II and inferior."[181] When touring from the fall of 1979 through the spring of 1980, Bob Dylan would not play any of his older, secular works, and Bob Dylan delivered declarations of his faith from the stage, such as:

Years ago they ... said I was a prophet. I used to say, "No I'm not a prophet" they say "Yes you are, you're a prophet." I said, "No it's not me." They used to say "You sure are a prophet." They used to convince me I was a prophet. Now I come out and say Jesus Christ is the answer. They say, "Bob Dylan's no prophet." They just can't handle it.[182]

Bob Dylan's embrace of born-again Christianity was unpopular with some of his fans and fellow musicians.[183] Shortly before his murder, John Lennon recorded "Serve Yourself" in response to Bob Dylan's "Gotta Serve Somebody".[184] By 1981, Stephen Holden wrote in the New York Times that "neither age (he's now 40) nor his much-publicized conversion to born-again Christianity has altered his essentially iconoclastic temperament."[185]

In the fall of 1980 Bob Dylan briefly resumed touring for a series of concerts billed as "A Musical Retrospective", where Bob Dylan restored several of his popular 1960s songs to the repertoire. Shot of Love, recorded the next spring, featured Bob Dylan's first secular compositions in more than two years, mixed with explicitly Christian songs; the song "Every Grain of Sand" reminded some critics of William Blake's verses.[186]

In the 1980s the reception of Bob Dylan's recorded work varied, from the well-regarded Infidels in 1983 to the panned Down in the Groove in 1988. Critics such as Michael Gray condemned Bob Dylan's 1980s albums both for showing an extraordinary carelessness in the studio and for failing to release his best songs.[187] For example, the Infidels recording sessions, which again employed Mark Knopfler on lead guitar and also as the album's producer, resulted in several notable songs which Bob Dylan left off the album. Most well regarded of these were "Blind Willie McTell", a tribute to the dead blues musician and an evocation of African American history,[188] "Foot of Pride" and "Lord Protect My Child". These three songs were later released on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1–3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961–1991.[189]

Between July 1984 and March 1985, Bob Dylan recorded his next studio album, Empire Burlesque.[190] Arthur Baker, who had remixed hits for Bruce Springsteen and Cyndi Lauper, was asked to engineer and mix the album. Baker has said Bob Dylan felt Bob Dylan was hired to make Bob Dylan's album sound "a little bit more contemporary".[190]

Bob Dylan sang on USA for Africa's famine relief fundraising single "We Are the World". On July 13, 1985, Bob Dylan appeared at the climax at the Live Aid concert at JFK Stadium, Philadelphia. Backed by Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood, Bob Dylan performed a ragged version of "Hollis Brown", his ballad of rural poverty, and then said to the worldwide audience exceeding one billion people: "I hope that some of the money ... maybe they can just take a little bit of it, maybe ... one or two million, maybe ... and use it to pay the mortgages on some of the farms and, the farmers here, owe to the banks."[191] His remarks were widely criticized as inappropriate, but they did inspire Willie Nelson to organize a series of events, Farm Aid, to benefit debt-ridden American farmers.[192]

In April 1986, Bob Dylan made a brief foray into the world of rap music when Bob Dylan added vocals to the opening verse of "Street Rock", a song featured on Kurtis Blow's album Kingdom Blow.[193] Bob Dylan's next studio album, Knocked Out Loaded, was released in July 1986 and contained three cover songs (by Little Junior Parker, Kris Kristofferson and the traditional gospel hymn "Precious Memories"), plus three collaborations with other writers (Tom Petty, Sam Shepard and Carole Bayer Sager), and two solo compositions by Bob Dylan. One reviewer commented that "the record follows too many detours to be consistently compelling, and some of those detours wind down roads that are indisputably dead ends. By 1986, such uneven records weren't entirely unexpected by Bob Dylan, but that didn't make them any less frustrating."[194] It was the first Bob Dylan album since Freewheelin' (1963) to fail to make the Top 50.[195] Since then, some critics have called the 11-minute epic that Bob Dylan co-wrote with Sam Shepard, 'Brownsville Girl', a work of genius.[196]

In 1986 and 1987, Bob Dylan toured extensively with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, sharing vocals with Petty on several songs each night. Bob Dylan also toured with The Grateful Dead in 1987, resulting in a live album Bob Dylan & The Dead. This album received some very negative reviews: Allmusic said, "Quite possibly the worst album by either Bob Dylan or the Grateful Dead."[197] After performing with these musical permutations, Bob Dylan initiated what came to be called The Never Ending Tour on June 7, 1988, performing with a tight back-up band featuring guitarist G. E. Smith. Bob Dylan would continue to tour with a small, constantly evolving band for the next 20 years.[198]

In 1987, Bob Dylan starred in Richard Marquand's movie Hearts of Fire, in which Bob Dylan played Billy Parker, a washed-up-rock-star-turned-chicken farmer whose teenage lover (Fiona) leaves him for a jaded English synth-pop sensation (played by Rupert Everett).[199] Bob Dylan also contributed two original songs to the soundtrack—"Night After Night", and "I Had a Dream About You, Baby", as well as a cover of John Hiatt's "The Usual". The film was a critical and commercial flop.[200] Bob Dylan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in January 1988, with Bruce Springsteen's introductory speech declaring, "Bob freed your mind the way Elvis freed your body. Bob Dylan showed us that just because music was innately physical did not mean that it was anti-intellectual.[201]

When Bob Dylan released the album Down in the Groove in May 1988, it was even more unsuccessful in its sales than his previous studio album.[202] Michael Gray wrote: "The very title undercuts any idea that inspired work may lie within. Here was a further devaluing of the notion of a new Bob Dylan album as something significant."[203] The critical and commercial disappointment of that album was swiftly followed by the success of the Traveling Wilburys. Bob Dylan co-founded the band with George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, and Tom Petty, and in the fall of 1988 their multi-platinum Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 reached number three on the US album chart,[202] featuring songs that were described as Bob Dylan's most accessible compositions in years.[204] Despite Orbison's death in December 1988, the remaining four recorded a second album in May 1990, which they released with the unexpected title Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3.[205]

Bob Dylan finished the decade on a critical high note with Oh Mercy produced by Daniel Lanois. Bob Dylan critic Michael Gray wrote that the album was: "Attentively written, vocally distinctive, musically warm, and uncompromisingly professional, this cohesive whole is the nearest thing to a great Bob Dylan album in the 1980s."[203][206] The track "Most of the Time", a lost love composition, was later prominently featured in the film High Fidelity, while "What Was It You Wanted?" has been interpreted both as a catechism and a wry comment on the expectations of critics and fans.[207] The religious imagery of "Ring Them Bells" struck some critics as a re-affirmation of faith.[208]


Bob Dylan's 1990s began with Under the Red Sky (1990), an about-face from the serious Oh Mercy. The album contained several apparently simple songs, including "Under the Red Sky" and "Wiggle Wiggle". The album was dedicated to "Gabby Goo Goo"; this was later explained as a nickname for the daughter of Bob Dylan and Carolyn Dennis, Desiree Gabrielle Dennis-Bob Dylan, who was four at that time.[209] Sidemen on the album included George Harrison, Slash from Guns N' Roses, David Crosby, Bruce Hornsby, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Elton John. Despite the stellar line-up, the record received bad reviews and sold poorly.[210]

In 1991, Bob Dylan was honored by the recording industry with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award from American actor Jack Nicholson.[211] The event coincided with the start of the Gulf War against Saddam Hussein, and Bob Dylan performed his song "Masters of War".[212] Bob Dylan then made a short speech that startled some of the audience.[212]

The next few years saw Bob Dylan returning to his roots with two albums covering old folk and blues numbers: Good as I Been to You (1992) and World Gone Wrong (1993), featuring interpretations and acoustic guitar work. Many critics and fans commented on the quiet beauty of the song "Lone Pilgrim",[213] penned by a 19th century teacher and sung by Bob Dylan with a haunting reverence. In November 1994 Bob Dylan recorded two live shows for MTV Unplugged. Bob Dylan claimed his wish to perform a set of traditional songs for the show was overruled by Sony executives who insisted on a greatest hits package.[214] The album produced from it, MTV Unplugged, included "John Brown", an unreleased 1963 song detailing the ravages of both war and jingoism.
Bob Dylan and members of his band perform onstage. Bob Dylan, wearing a red shirt and black pants, plays an electric guitar and sings.
Bob Dylan performs at a 1996 concert in Stockholm

With a collection of songs reportedly written while snowed-in on his Minnesota ranch,[215] Bob Dylan booked recording time with Daniel Lanois at Miami's Criteria Studios in January 1997. The subsequent recording sessions were, by some accounts, fraught with musical tension.[216] Late that spring, before the album's release, Bob Dylan was hospitalized with a life-threatening heart infection, pericarditis, brought on by histoplasmosis. His scheduled European tour was cancelled, but Bob Dylan made a speedy recovery and left the hospital saying, "I really thought I'd be seeing Elvis soon."[217] Bob Dylan was back on the road by midsummer, and in early fall performed before Pope John Paul II at the World Eucharistic Conference in Bologna, Italy. The Pope treated the audience of 200,000 people to a homily based on Bob Dylan's lyric "Blowin' in the Wind".[218]

September saw the release of the new Lanois-produced album, Time Out of Mind. With its bitter assessment of love and morbid ruminations, Bob Dylan's first collection of original songs in seven years was highly acclaimed. One critic wrote: "the songs themselves are uniformly powerful, adding up to Bob Dylan's best overall collection in years."[219] This collection of complex songs won him his first solo "Album of the Year" Grammy Award.[220]

In December 1997, U.S. President Bill Clinton presented Bob Dylan with a Kennedy Center Honor in the East Room of the White House, paying this tribute: "Bob Dylan probably had more impact on people of my generation than any other creative artist. His voice and lyrics haven't always been easy on the ear, but throughout his career Bob Dylan has never aimed to please. He's disturbed the peace and discomforted the powerful."[221]

"Things Have Changed"
Bob Dylan's Oscar winning song was featured in the movie Wonder Boys. The line "sapphire-tinted skies" echoes the verse of Shelley[222] while "forty miles of bad road" echoes Duane Eddy's hit single.

Bob Dylan commenced the new millennium by winning his first Oscar; his song "Things Have Changed", penned for the film Wonder Boys, won an Academy Award in March 2001.[223] The Oscar (by some reports a facsimile) tours with him, presiding over shows perched atop an amplifier.[224]

"Love and Theft" was released on September 11, 2001. Recorded with his touring band, Bob Dylan produced the album himself under the pseudonym Jack Frost.[225] The album was critically well received and earned nominations for several Grammy awards.[226] Critics noted that Bob Dylan was widening his musical palette to include rockabilly, Western swing, jazz, and even lounge ballads.[227] "Love and Theft" generated controversy when The Wall Street Journal pointed out similarities between the album's lyrics and Japanese author Junichi Saga's book Confessions of a Yakuza.[228][229]

In 2003, Bob Dylan revisited the evangelical songs from his "born again" period and participated in the CD project Gotta Serve Somebody: The Gospel Songs of Bob Dylan. That year also saw the release of the film Masked & Anonymous, which Bob Dylan co-wrote with director Larry Charles under the alias Sergei Petrov.[230] Bob Dylan played the central character in the film, Jack Fate, alongside a cast which included Jeff Bridges, Penelope Cruz and John Goodman. The film polarised critics: many dismissed it as an "incoherent mess";[231][232] a few treated it as a serious work of art.[233][234]

In October 2004, Bob Dylan published the first part of his autobiography, Chronicles: Volume One. The book confounded expectations.[235] Bob Dylan devoted three chapters to his first year in New York City in 1961–1962, virtually ignoring the mid-1960s when his fame was at its height. Bob Dylan also devoted chapters to the albums New Morning (1970) and Oh Mercy (1989). The book reached number two on The New York Times' Hardcover Non-Fiction best seller list in December 2004 and was nominated for a National Book Award.[236]

No Direction Home, Martin Scorsese's acclaimed film biography of Bob Dylan,[237] was first broadcast on September 26–27, 2005, on BBC Two in the UK and PBS in the US.[238] The documentary focuses on the period from Bob Dylan's arrival in New York in 1961 to his motorcycle crash in 1966, featuring interviews with Suze Rotolo, Liam Clancy, Joan Baez, Allen Ginsberg, Pete Seeger, Mavis Staples, and Bob Dylan himself. The film received a Peabody Award in April 2006[239] and a Columbia-duPont Award in January 2007.[240] The accompanying soundtrack featured unreleased songs from Bob Dylan's early career.

Bob Dylan earned yet another distinction in a 2007 study of US legal opinions and briefs that found his lyrics were quoted by judges and lawyers more than those of any other songwriter, 186 times versus 74 by The Beatles, who were second. Among those quoting Bob Dylan were US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Antonin Scalia, both conservatives. The most widely cited lines included "you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows" from "Subterranean Homesick Blues" and "when you ain't got nothing, you got nothing to lose" from "Like a Rolling Stone".[241][242]

Modern Times (2006–08)

May 3, 2006, was the premiere of Bob Dylan's radio presenting career, hosting a weekly radio program, Theme Time Radio Hour, for XM Satellite Radio, with song selections revolving around a chosen theme.[243][244] Bob Dylan played classic and obscure records from the 1930s to the present day, including contemporary artists as diverse as Blur, Prince, L.L. Cool J and The Streets. The show was praised by fans and critics as "great radio," as Bob Dylan told stories and made eclectic references with his sardonic humor, while achieving a thematic beauty with his musical choices.[245][246] In April 2009, Bob Dylan broadcast the 100th show in his radio series; the theme was "Goodbye" and the final record played was Woody Guthrie's "So Long, It's Been Good To Know Yuh". This has led to speculation that Bob Dylan's radio series may have ended.[247]
Bob Dylan together with five members of his band onstage. Bob Dylan, dressed in a white shirt and black pants, is second from right.
Bob Dylan, the Spectrum, 2007

On August 29, 2006, Bob Dylan released his Modern Times album. Despite some coarsening of Bob Dylan's voice (a critic for The Guardian characterised his singing on the album as "a catarrhal death rattle"[248]) most reviewers praised the album, and many described it as the final installment of a successful trilogy, embracing Time Out of Mind and "Love and Theft".[249] Modern Times entered the U.S. charts at number one, making it Bob Dylan's first album to reach that position since 1976's Desire.[250] The New York Times published an article exploring similarities between some of Bob Dylan's lyrics in Modern Times and the work of the Civil War poet Henry Timrod.[251]

Nominated for three Grammy Awards, Modern Times won Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album and Bob Dylan also won Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance for "Someday Baby". Modern Times was named Album of the Year, 2006, by Rolling Stone magazine,[252] and by Uncut in the UK.[253] On the same day that Modern Times was released the iTunes Music Store released Bob Dylan: The Collection, a digital box set containing all of his albums (773 tracks in total), along with 42 rare and unreleased tracks.[254]

In August 2007, the award-winning film biography of Bob Dylan I'm Not There, written and directed by Todd Haynes, was released—bearing the tagline "inspired by the music and many lives of Bob Dylan".[255][256] The movie uses six distinct characters to represent different aspects of Bob Dylan's life, played by Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Marcus Carl Franklin, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger and Ben Whishaw.[256][257] Bob Dylan's previously unreleased 1967 recording from which the film takes its name[258] was released for the first time on the film's original soundtrack; all other tracks are covers of Bob Dylan songs, specially recorded for the movie by a diverse range of artists, including Eddie Vedder, Mason Jennings, Stephen Malkmus, Jeff Tweedy, Karen O, Willie Nelson, Cat Power, Richie Havens, and Tom Verlaine.[259]
Bob Dylan, dressed in a black western outfit with red highlights, stands onstage and plays the keyboards. Bob Dylan gazes to the left of the photo. Behind him is a guitar player, dressed in black.
Bob Dylan performs at Air Canada Centre, Toronto, November 7, 2006

On October 1, 2007, Columbia Records released the triple CD retrospective album Bob Dylan, anthologising his entire career under the Bob Dylan 07 logo.[260] As part of this campaign, Mark Ronson produced a re-mix of Bob Dylan's 1966 tune "Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)", which was released as a maxi-single. This was the first time Bob Dylan had sanctioned a re-mix of one of his classic recordings.[261]

The sophistication of the Bob Dylan 07 marketing campaign was a reminder that Bob Dylan's commercial profile had risen considerably since the 1990s. This first became evidenced in 2004, when Bob Dylan appeared in a TV advertisement for Victoria's Secret lingerie.[262] Three years later, in October 2007, Bob Dylan participated in a multi-media campaign for the 2008 Cadillac Escalade.[263][264] Then, in 2009, Bob Dylan gave the highest profile endorsement of his career, appearing with rapper in a Pepsi ad that debuted during the telecast of Super Bowl XLIII.[265] The ad, broadcast to a record audience of 98 million viewers, opened with Bob Dylan singing the first verse of "Forever Young" followed by doing a hip hop version of the song's third and final verse.[266]

In October 2008, Columbia released Volume 8 of Bob Dylan's Bootleg Series, Tell Tale Signs: Rare And Unreleased 1989–2006 as both a two-CD set and a three-CD version with a 150-page hardcover book. The set contains live performances and outtakes from selected studio albums from Oh Mercy to Modern Times, as well as soundtrack contributions and collaborations with David Bromberg and Ralph Stanley.[267] The pricing of the album—the two-CD set went on sale for $18.99 and the three-CD version for $129.99—led to complaints about "rip-off packaging" from some fans and commentators.[268][269] The release was widely acclaimed by critics.[270] The abundance of alternative takes and unreleased material suggested to Uncut's reviewer: "Tell Tale Signs is awash with evidence of (Bob Dylan's) staggering mercuriality, his evident determination even in the studio to repeat himself as little as possible."[271]

Bob Dylan released his album Together Through Life on April 28, 2009. In a conversation with music journalist Bill Flanagan, published on Bob Dylan's website, Bob Dylan explained that the genesis of the record was when French film director Olivier Dahan asked him to supply a song for his new road movie, My Own Love Song; initially only intending to record a single track, "Life Is Hard," "the record sort of took its own direction".[272] Nine of the ten songs on the album are credited as co-written by Bob Dylan and Robert Hunter.[273]

The album received largely favorable reviews,[274] although several critics described it as a minor addition to Bob Dylan's canon of work. Andy Gill wrote in The Independent that the record "features Bob Dylan in fairly relaxed, spontaneous mood, content to grab such grooves and sentiments as flit momentarily across his radar. So while it may not contain too many landmark tracks, it's one of the most naturally enjoyable albums you'll hear all year."[275]
Bob Dylan, wearing a white shirt and pants, sunglasses and a cowboy hat, plays the keyboards onstage.
On keyboards at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, April 28, 2006

In its first week of release, the album reached number one in the Billboard 200 chart in the U.S.,[276] making Bob Dylan (67 years of age) the oldest artist to ever debut at number one on that chart.[276] It also reached number one on the UK album chart, 39 years after Bob Dylan's previous UK album chart topper New Morning. This meant that Bob Dylan currently holds the record for the longest gap between solo number one albums in the UK chart.[277]

On October 13, 2009, Bob Dylan released a Christmas album, Christmas in the Heart, comprising such Christmas standards as "Little Drummer Boy", "Winter Wonderland" and "Here Comes Santa Claus".[278] Bob Dylan's royalties from the sale of this album will benefit the charities Feeding America in the USA, Crisis in the UK, and the World Food Programme.[279]

The album received generally favorable reviews.[280] The New Yorker commented that Bob Dylan had welded a pre-rock musical sound to "some of his croakiest vocals in a while", and speculated that Bob Dylan's intentions might be ironic: "Bob Dylan has a long and highly publicized history with Christianity; to claim there's not a wink in the childish optimism of 'Here Comes Santa Claus' or 'Winter Wonderland' is to ignore a half-century of biting satire."[281] In USA Today, Edna Gundersen pointed out that Bob Dylan was "revisiting yuletide styles popularized by Nat King Cole, Mel Tormé, and the Ray Conniff Singers." Gundersen concluded that Bob Dylan "couldn't sound more sentimental or sincere".[282]

In an interview published in The Big Issue, journalist Bill Flanagan asked Bob Dylan why Bob Dylan had performed the songs in a straightforward style, and Bob Dylan responded: "There wasn't any other way to play it. These songs are part of my life, just like folk songs. You have to play them straight too."[283]

On October 18, 2010, Bob Dylan released Volume 9 of his Bootleg Series, The Witmark Demos. This comprised 47 demo recordings of songs taped between 1962 and 1964 for Bob Dylan's earliest music publishers: Leeds Music in 1962, and Witmark Music from 1962 to 1964. One reviewer described the set as "a kind of alternate early history of Bob Dylan's songwriting process, 'writing five new songs before breakfast,' as Bob Dylan once famously quipped".[284] The critical aggregator website Metacritic awarded the album a Metascore of 86, indicating "universal acclaim".[285] In the same week, Sony Legacy released Bob Dylan: The Original Mono Recordings, a box set which for the first time presented Bob Dylan's eight earliest albums, from Bob Dylan (1962) to John Wesley Harding (1967), in their original mono mix in the CD format, accompanied by new liner notes by Bob Dylan critic Greil Marcus.[286]

On April 12, 2011, Legacy Recordings released Bob Dylan in Concert – Brandeis University 1963 . The recording was taped at Brandeis University on May 10, 1963, two weeks prior to the release of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan. The tape had been discovered in the archive of music writer Ralph J. Gleason, and had previously been available as a limited edition supplement to The Bootleg Series Vol. 9. The recording carries liner notes by Bob Dylan scholar Michael Gray, who writes: "(The) Bob Dylan performance it captured, from way back when Kennedy was President and the Beatles hadn't yet reached America, wasn't even on fans' radar.... It reveals him not at any Big Moment but giving a performance like his folk club sets of the period... This is the last live performance we have of Bob Dylan before Bob Dylan becomes a star."[287]

The extent to which his work was studied at an academic level was demonstrated on Bob Dylan's 70th birthday on May 24, 2011, when three universities organized symposia on his work. The University of Mainz,[288] the University of Vienna,[289] and the University of Bristol[290] invited literary critics and cultural historians from Europe and the US to give papers on aspects of Bob Dylan's work. Other events, including tribute bands, intellectual debates and simple singalongs, took place around the world, as reported in The Guardian: "From Moscow to Madrid, Norway to Northampton and Malaysia to his home state of Minnesota, self-confessed 'Bobcats' will gather today to celebrate the 70th birthday of a giant of popular music."[291]

On October 4, 2011, Bob Dylan's label, Egyptian Records, released an album of previously unheard Hank Williams songs, The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams. Bob Dylan had helped to curate this project, in which songs unfinished when Williams died in 1953 were completed and recorded by a variety of artists, including Bob Dylan himself, his son Jakob Bob Dylan, Levon Helm, Norah Jones, Jack White, and others.[292][293]

On December 10, 2011, to mark International Human Rights Day, Amnesty International announced they would release a 4-CD set, Chimes of Freedom: Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International, to mark the 50th anniversary of the international human rights organization in January 2012.[294] The album contains 76 newly recorded cover versions of songs by Bob Dylan, contributed by more than 80 artists.[295] Included on the album are "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" performed by both Kesha and the Kronos Quartet, Pete Townshend performing "Corrina Corrina", Sinéad O'Connor performing "Property of Jesus", and Lucinda Williams performing "Tryin' to Get to Heaven". The 4-CD set of Chimes of Freedom entered the Nielsen SoundScan chart at No. 11, and at No. 39, as it was also released in a 2-CD version by Starbucks.[296]

On May 29, 2012, President Obama awarded Bob Dylan a Presidential Medal of Freedom in the White House. At the ceremony, Obama praised Bob Dylan's voice for its "unique gravelly power that redefined not just what music sounded like but the message it carried and how it made people feel".[13]

On July 16, 2012 it was announced that Bob Dylan's 35th studio album, Tempest, will be released on September 11, 2012.[297] The album will feature a tribute to John Lennon, "Roll On John", and the title track is a 14 minute song about the sinking of the Titanic.[298] In a preview of the album, Neil McCormick reported in The Daily Telegraph that "popular music's greatest troubadour is still as brilliant and bewildering as ever". McCormick added Bob Dylan "was blown away with the mad energy of the album. At 71-years-old Bob Dylan is still striking out into strange new places rather than revisiting his past."[299]
Never Ending Tour
Main article: Never Ending Tour
Bob Dylan, standing and playing the keyboards, onstage with members of his band.
Bob Dylan (right on keyboards) at the Roskilde Festival, 2006

The Never Ending Tour commenced on June 7, 1988,[300] and Bob Dylan has played roughly 100 dates a year for the entirety of the 1990s and the 2000s (decade)—a heavier schedule than most performers who started out in the 1960s.[301] By the end of 2010, Bob Dylan and his band had played more than 2300 shows,[302] anchored by long-time bassist Tony Garnier, multi-instrumentalist Donnie Herron and guitarist Charlie Sexton. To the dismay of some of his audience,[303] Bob Dylan's performances remain unpredictable as Bob Dylan alters his arrangements and changes his vocal approach night after night.[304] Critical opinion about Bob Dylan's shows remains divided. Critics such as Richard Williams and Andy Gill have argued that Bob Dylan has found a successful way to present his rich legacy of material.[305][306] Others have criticised his onstage vocal style for mangling and spitting out "the greatest lyrics ever written so that they are effectively unrecognisable",[307] and a perceived indifference towards his audience.[308]

Bob Dylan's performances in China in April 2011 generated controversy. Some criticised him for not making any explicit comment on the political situation in China, and for, allegedly, allowing the Chinese authorities to censor his set-list.[309][310] Others defended Bob Dylan's performances, arguing that such criticism represented a misunderstanding of Bob Dylan's art, and that no evidence for the censorship of Bob Dylan's set-list existed.[311][312] Bob Dylan responded to these allegations of censorship by posting a statement on his website: "As far as censorship goes, the Chinese government had asked for the names of the songs that I would be playing. There's no logical answer to that, so we sent them the set lists from the previous 3 months. If there were any songs, verses or lines censored, nobody ever told me about it and we played all the songs that we intended to play."[313]

Bob Dylan's 2012 tour commenced in Rio de Janeiro on April 15, and included performances in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, and Mexico.[314][315] In the summer, Bob Dylan visited Europe, returning to Kent, England, on June 30, to perform at the Hop Farm Festival.[316] Bob Dylan appeared as a headliner at the 46th Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland on July 8, 2012.[317]

Bob Dylan began his Fall 2012 tour of North America in Lloydminster, Alberta, on August 10, accompanied by special guest Mark Knopfler. The tour will end in Brooklyn, New York on November 21.[318]

Over a decade after Random House had published Drawn Blank (1994), a book of Bob Dylan's drawings, an exhibit of his art, The Drawn Blank Series, opened in October 2007 at the Kunstsammlungen in Chemnitz, Germany.[11] This first public exhibition of Bob Dylan's paintings showcased more than 200 watercolors and gouaches made earlier in 2007 from the original drawings. The exhibition coincided with the publication of the book Bob Dylan: The Drawn Blank Series, which includes 170 reproductions from the series.[11][10] From September 2010 until April 2011, the National Gallery of Denmark exhibited 40 large-scale acrylic paintings by Bob Dylan, The Brazil Series.[319][320]

In July 2011, a leading contemporary art gallery, Gagosian Gallery, announced their representation of Bob Dylan's paintings.[321] An exhibition of Bob Dylan's art, The Asia Series, opened at the Gagosian Madison Avenue Gallery on September 20, displaying Bob Dylan's paintings of scenes in China and the Far East.[322] The New York Times reported that "some fans and Bob Dylanologists have raised questions about whether some of these paintings are based on the singer's own experiences and observations, or on photographs that are widely available and were not taken by Mr. Bob Dylan."[323] The Times pointed to close resemblances between Bob Dylan's paintings and six historic photos of Japan and China which had been posted on the Flickr website.[324] Bob Dylan's paintings also appeared to be based on photographs taken by Dmitri Kessel, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Jacob Aue Sobol. The Magnum photo agency confirmed that Bob Dylan had licensed the reproduction rights of these photographs.[325]


The discography lists 35 studio albums, 58 singles, 13 live albums, 9 albums comprising The Bootleg Series, and 14 compilation albums. It also includes three home videos, a bibliography, and a filmography.
Main article: List of awards received by Bob Dylan
President Barack Obama presents Bob Dylan with a Medal of Freedom (May 29, 2012).

Bob Dylan has won many awards throughout his career including 11 Grammy Awards, one Academy Award and one Golden Globe Award; Bob Dylan has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and Songwriters Hall of Fame. In May 2012, Bob Dylan was one out of thirteen honorees to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.[326]

Personal life


Bob Dylan married Sara Lownds on November 22, 1965. Their first child, Jesse Byron Bob Dylan, was born on January 6, 1966, and they had three more children: Anna Lea (born July 11, 1967), Samuel Isaac Abraham (born July 30, 1968), and Jakob Luke (born December 9, 1969). Bob Dylan also adopted Sara's daughter from a prior marriage, Maria Lownds (later Bob Dylan, born October 21, 1961). Maria married musician Peter Himmelman in 1988.[327] In the 1990s, Bob Dylan's son Jakob became well known as the lead singer of the band The Wallflowers. Jesse Bob Dylan is a film director and a successful businessman. Bob and Sara Bob Dylan were divorced on June 29, 1977.[328]

In June 1986, Bob Dylan married his longtime backup singer Carolyn Dennis (often professionally known as Carol Dennis).[329] Their daughter, Desiree Gabrielle Dennis-Bob Dylan, was born on January 31, 1986. The couple divorced in October 1992. Their marriage and child remained a closely guarded secret until the publication of Howard Sounes' Bob Dylan biography, Down the Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan in 2001.[330] Bob Dylan now lives in Malibu, California, when not on the road.[331] In total, Bob Dylan has six children (five biological and one adopted) and eleven grandchildren as of 2011.

Religious beliefs

Growing up in Hibbing, Minnesota, Bob Dylan and his family were part of the area's small but close-knit Jewish community, and in May 1954 Bob Dylan had his Bar Mitzvah.[332] Around the time of his 30th birthday, in 1971, Bob Dylan visited Israel, and also met Rabbi Meir Kahane, founder of the New York-based Jewish Defense League.[333] Time magazine quoted Bob Dylan saying about Kahane, "He's a really sincere guy. He's really put it all together."[334] Subsequently, Bob Dylan downplayed the extent of his contact with Kahane.[335]

For a period during the late 1970s and early 1980s, Bob Dylan was a public convert to Christianity. From January to April 1979, Bob Dylan participated in Bible study classes at the Vineyard School of Discipleship in Reseda, California. Pastor Kenn Gulliksen has recalled: "Larry Myers and Paul Emond went over to Bob's house and ministered to him. Bob Dylan responded by saying, 'Yes Bob Dylan did in fact want Christ in his life.' And Bob Dylan prayed that day and received the Lord."[336][337]

By 1984, Bob Dylan was distancing himself from the "born-again" label. Bob Dylan told Kurt Loder of Rolling Stone magazine: "I've never said I'm born again. That's just a media term. I don't think I've been an agnostic. I've always thought there's a superior power, that this is not the real world and that there's a world to come." In response to Loder's asking whether Bob Dylan belonged to any Church or synagogue, Bob Dylan laughingly replied, "Not really. Uh, the Church of the Poison Mind."[338] In 1997 Bob Dylan told David Gates of Newsweek:
“ Here's the thing with me and the religious thing. This is the flat-out truth: I find the religiosity and philosophy in the music. I don't find it anywhere else. Songs like "Let Me Rest on a Peaceful Mountain" or "I Saw the Light"—that's my religion. I don't adhere to rabbis, preachers, evangelists, all of that. I've learned more from the songs than I've learned from any of this kind of entity. The songs are my lexicon. I believe the songs.[1] ”

In an interview published in The New York Times on September 28, 1997, journalist Jon Pareles reported that "Bob Dylan says Bob Dylan now subscribes to no organized religion."[339]

Bob Dylan has been a supporter of the Chabad Lubavitch movement in the last 20 years,[340] and has privately participated in Jewish religious events, including the bar mitzvahs of his sons and attending Hadar Hatorah, a Chabad Lubavitch yeshiva. In September 1989 and September 1991, Bob Dylan appeared on the Chabad telethon.[341] Bob Dylan reportedly visits Chabad synagogues; on September 22, 2007 (Yom Kippur), Bob Dylan attended Congregation Beth Tefillah, in Atlanta, Georgia, where Bob Dylan was called to the Torah for the sixth aliyah.[342]

Bob Dylan has continued to perform songs from his gospel albums in concert, occasionally covering traditional religious songs. Bob Dylan has also made passing references to his religious faith—such as in a 2004 interview with 60 Minutes, when Bob Dylan told Ed Bradley that "the only person you have to think twice about lying to is either yourself or to God." Bob Dylan also explained his constant touring schedule as part of a bargain Bob Dylan made a long time ago with the "chief commander—in this earth and in the world we can't see."[32]

In a 2009 interview with Bill Flanagan promoting his Christmas LP, Christmas in the Heart, Flanagan commented on the "heroic performance" Bob Dylan gave of "O Little Town of Bethlehem" and that Bob Dylan "delivered the song like a true believer". Bob Dylan replied: "Well, I am a true believer."[283]

Bob Dylan is one of the most influential figures of the 20th century, musically and culturally. Bob Dylan was included in the Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century where Bob Dylan was called "master poet, caustic social critic and intrepid, guiding spirit of the counterculture generation".[2] President Barack Obama said of Bob Dylan in 2012, "There is not a bigger giant in the history of American music."[13] Biographer Howard Sounes placed him among the most exalted company when Bob Dylan said, "There are giant figures in art who are sublimely good—Mozart, Picasso, Frank Lloyd Wright, Shakespeare, Dickens. Bob Dylan ranks alongside these artists."[343] Rolling Stone magazine ranked Bob Dylan at Number Two in their 2011 list of "100 Greatest Artists" of all time.[344]

Initially modeling his writing style on the songs of Woody Guthrie,[6] and lessons learned from the blues of Robert Johnson,[7] Bob Dylan added increasingly sophisticated lyrical techniques to the folk music of the early 1960s, infusing it "with the intellectualism of classic literature and poetry".[345] Paul Simon suggested that Bob Dylan's early compositions virtually took over the folk genre: "[Bob Dylan's] early songs were very rich ... with strong melodies. 'Blowin' in the Wind' has a really strong melody. Bob Dylan so enlarged himself through the folk background that Bob Dylan incorporated it for a while. Bob Dylan defined the genre for a while."[346]

When Bob Dylan made his move from acoustic music to a rock backing, the mix became more complex. For many critics, Bob Dylan's greatest achievement was the cultural synthesis exemplified by his mid-1960s trilogy of albums—Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde. In Mike Marqusee's words: "Between late 1964 and the summer of 1966, Bob Dylan created a body of work that remains unique. Drawing on folk, blues, country, R&B, rock'n'roll, gospel, British beat, symbolist, modernist and Beat poetry, surrealism and Dada, advertising jargon and social commentary, Fellini and Mad magazine, Bob Dylan forged a coherent and original artistic voice and vision. The beauty of these albums retains the power to shock and console."[347]

One legacy of Bob Dylan's verbal sophistication was the increasing attention paid by literary critics to his lyrics. Professor Christopher Ricks published a 500-page analysis of Bob Dylan's work, placing him in the context of Eliot, Keats and Tennyson,[348] and claiming that Bob Dylan was a poet worthy of the same close analysis.[349] Former British poet laureate, Sir Andrew Motion, argued that Bob Dylan's lyrics should be studied in schools.[350] Since 1996, academics have lobbied the Swedish Academy to award Bob Dylan the Nobel Prize in Literature.[351][352][353][354]

Bob Dylan's voice was, in some ways, as startling as his lyrics. New York Times critic Robert Shelton described Bob Dylan's early vocal style as "a rusty voice suggesting Guthrie's old performances, etched in gravel like Dave Van Ronk's."[355] David Bowie, in his tribute, "Song for Bob Dylan", described Bob Dylan's singing as "a voice like sand and glue". Bob Dylan's voice continued to develop as Bob Dylan began to work with rock'n'roll backing bands; critic Michael Gray described the sound of Bob Dylan's vocal on his hit single, "Like a Rolling Stone", as "at once young and jeeringly cynical".[356] As Bob Dylan's voice aged during the 1980s, for some critics, it became more expressive. Christophe Lebold writes in the journal Oral Tradition, "Bob Dylan's more recent broken voice enables him to present a world view at the sonic surface of the songs—this voice carries us across the landscape of a broken, fallen world. The anatomy of a broken world in "Everything is Broken" (on the album Oh Mercy) is but an example of how the thematic concern with all things broken is grounded in a concrete sonic reality."[357]

Bob Dylan's influence has been felt in several musical genres. As Edna Gundersen stated in USA Today: "Bob Dylan's musical DNA has informed nearly every simple twist of pop since 1962."[358] Many musicians have testified to Bob Dylan's influence, such as Joe Strummer, who praised Bob Dylan as having "laid down the template for lyric, tune, seriousness, spirituality, depth of rock music."[359] Other major musicians to have acknowledged Bob Dylan's importance include John Lennon,[360] Paul McCartney,[361] Pete Townshend,[362] Neil Young,[363] Bruce Springsteen,[94] David Bowie,[364] Bryan Ferry,[365] Nick Cave,[366][367] Patti Smith,[368] Syd Barrett,[369] Cat Stevens,[370]Joni Mitchell,[371] and Tom Waits.[372] More directly, both The Byrds and The Band, two 1960s contemporary groups with some measure of influence on popular music themselves, largely owed their initial success to Bob Dylan: the Byrds with their hit of "Mr. Tambourine Man" and subsequent album; and The Band for their association with him on tour in 1966, on retreat in Woodstock, and on their debut album featuring three previously unreleased Bob Dylan songs.

Some critics have dissented from the view of Bob Dylan as a visionary figure in popular music. In his book Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom, Nik Cohn objected: "I can't take the vision of Bob Dylan as seer, as teenage messiah, as everything else he's been worshipped as. The way I see him, he's a minor talent with a major gift for self-hype."[373] Similarly, Australian critic Jack Marx credited Bob Dylan with changing the persona of the rock star: "What cannot be disputed is that Bob Dylan invented the arrogant, faux-cerebral posturing that has been the dominant style in rock since, with everyone from Mick Jagger to Eminem educating themselves from the Bob Dylan handbook."[374] Joni Mitchell described Bob Dylan as a "plagiarist" and his voice as "fake" in a 2010 interview in the Los Angeles Times, in response to a suggestion that she and Bob Dylan were similar since they had both changed their birthnames.[375][376] Mitchell's comment led to discussions of Bob Dylan's use of other people's material, both supporting and criticizing Bob Dylan.[377]

If Bob Dylan's legacy in the 1960s was seen as bringing intellectual ambition to popular music, now that Bob Dylan has passed the age of 70, Bob Dylan has been described as a figure who has greatly expanded the folk culture from which Bob Dylan initially emerged. As J. Hoberman wrote in The Village Voice, "Elvis might never have been born, but someone else would surely have brought the world rock 'n' roll. No such logic accounts for Bob Dylan. No iron law of history demanded that a would-be Elvis from Hibbing, Minnesota, would swerve through the Greenwich Village folk revival to become the world's first and greatest rock 'n' roll beatnik bard and then—having achieved fame and adoration beyond reckoning—vanish into a folk tradition of his own making."[378]

   According to Bob Dylan biographer Robert Shelton, the singer first confided his change of name to his high school girlfriend Echo Helstrom in 1958, informing her Bob Dylan had found a "great name, Bob Dillon". Shelton surmises the name Dillon had two sources: Marshal Matt Dillon was the hero of the popular TV western Gunsmoke; Dillon was also the name of one of Hibbing's principal families. When writing his biography in the mid 1960s, Bob Dylan told Shelton: "Straighten out in your book that I did not take my name from Bob Dylan Thomas. Bob Dylan Thomas's poetry is for people that aren't really satisfied in their bed, for people who dig masculine romance." At the University of Minnesota, the singer told a few friends that Dillon was his mother's maiden name, which was untrue. The singer later told reporters that Bob Dylan had an uncle named Dillon. Shelton adds that only when Bob Dylan reached New York in 1961 did the singer begin to spell his name 'Bob Dylan', by which time Bob Dylan was acquainted with the life and work of Bob Dylan Thomas. Shelton, No Direction Home, 2011, pp. 44–45.


   a b c Gates, David (October 6, 1997). "Bob Dylan Revisited". Newsweek. Retrieved June 8, 2010.
   a b Cocks, Jay (June 14, 1999). "The Time 100: Bob Dylan". Retrieved October 5, 2008.
   Bob Dylan sang "Blowin' in the Wind" at the Washington D.C. concert, January 20, 1986, which marked the inauguration of Martin Luther King Day. Gray, 2006, The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia, pp. 63–64.
   "Bob Dylan 'reveals origin of anthem'". BBC News. April 11, 2004. Retrieved February 6, 2009.
   Marcus 2005, pp. 6–8
   a b Bob Dylan, Chronicles, Volume One, pp. 243–246.
   a b Bob Dylan, Chronicles, Volume One, pp. 281–288.
   a b Shelton, No Direction Home, pp. 38–40.
   Browne, David (September 10, 2001). "Love and Theft review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 7, 2008.
   a b Pessl, Marsha (June 1, 2008). "When I Paint My Masterpiece". The New York Times Book Review. Retrieved October 20, 2010.
   a b c Gray, Michael. "Bob Dylan's Drawn Blank Paintings Exhibition". BobBob Retrieved June 11, 2012.
   "The Pulitzer Prize Winners 2008: Special Citation". Pulitzer. May 7, 2008. Retrieved September 6, 2008.
   a b c Itzkoff, Dave (May 29, 2012). "Bob Dylan Among Recipients of Presidential Medal of Freedom". The New York Times. Retrieved May 30, 2012.
   Sounes, Down The Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan, p. 14, gives his Hebrew name as Shabtai Zisel ben Avraham
   A Chabad news service gives the variant Zushe ben Avraham, which may be a Yiddish variant "Singer/Songwriter Bob Dylan Joins Yom Kippur Services in Atlanta". News. September 24, 2007. Retrieved September 11, 2008.
   Sounes, Down The Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan, p. 14
   "Robert Allen Zimmerman". Minnesota Birth Index, 1935–2002. Retrieved September 6, 2011. "Name: Robert Allen Zimmerman; Birth Date: 24 May 1941; Birth County: Saint Louis; Father: Abram H. Zimmerman; Mother: Beatrice Stone"(subscription required)
   a b Sounes, Down the Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan, pp. 12–13.
   Bob Dylan, Chronicles, Volume One, pp. 92–93.
   a b Gray, Michael (May 22, 2011). "One of a kind: Bob Dylan at 70". The Japan Times. Retrieved December 30, 2011.
   Heylin, 1996, Bob Dylan: A Life In Stolen Moments, pp. 4–5.
   Sounes, Down The Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan, pp. 29–37.
   LIFE Books, Bob Dylan, Forever Young, 50 Years of Song, Time Home Entertainment, 2012, Vol. 2. No 2, February 10, 2012, p. 15
   An interview with Bobby Vee suggests the young Zimmerman may have been eccentric in spelling his early pseudonym: "[Bob Dylan] was in the Fargo/Moorhead area ... Bill [Velline] was in a record shop in Fargo, Sam's Record Land, and this guy came up to him and introduced himself as Elston Gunnn—with three n's, G-U-N-N-N." Bobby Vee Interview, July 1999, Goldmine Reproduced online: "Early alias for Robert Zimmerman". Expecting Rain. August 11, 1999. Retrieved September 11, 2008.
   Sounes, Down The Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan, pp. 41–42.
   Heylin, Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades Revisited, pp. 26–27.
   a b c d e Biograph, 1985, Liner notes & text by Cameron Crowe.
   Shelton, No Direction Home, pp. 65–82.
   a b This is related in the documentary film No Direction Home, Director: Martin Scorsese. Broadcast: September 26, 2005, PBS & BBC Two
   Heylin, 1996, Bob Dylan: A Life In Stolen Moments, p. 7.
   Bob Dylan, Chronicles, Volume One, pp. 78–79.
   a b Leung, Rebecca (June 12, 2005). " "Bob Dylan Looks Back". CBS News. Retrieved February 25, 2009.
   Sounes, Down The Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan, p. 72
   Bob Dylan, Chronicles, Volume One, p. 98.
   Bob Dylan, Chronicles, Volume One, pp. 244–246.
   Bob Dylan, Chronicles, Volume One, pp. 250–252.
   Shelton, No Direction Home, 2011, pp. 74–78.
   Robert Shelton, The New York Times, September 21, 1961, "Bob Dylan: A Distinctive Stylist" reproduced online: Robert Shelton (September 21, 1961). "Bob Dylan: A Distinctive Stylist". Bob Dylan Roots. Archived from the original on April 21, 2008. Retrieved September 11, 2008.
   Richie Unterberger (October 8, 2003). "Carolyn Hester Biography". All Music. Retrieved September 11, 2008.
   Scaduto, Bob Dylan, p. 110.
   A photo of Bob Dylan with Victoria Spivey at this session was used by Bob Dylan on the cover of his 1970 album, New Morning. See Gray, The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia, pp. 630–631.
   a b c Unterberger, Richie. "Blind Boy Grunt". Retrieved February 12, 2011.
   Shelton, No Direction Home, pp. 157–158.
   Gill, My Back Pages, 23
   Sounes, 2001, Down The Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan, p. 121
   Sounes, 2001, Down The Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan, p. 116
   Gray, The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia, pp. 283–284.
   Heylin, Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades Revisited, pp. 115–116.
   a b Heylin, 1996, Bob Dylan: A Life In Stolen Moments, pp. 35–39.
   a b c d Llewellyn-Smith, Caspar (September 18, 2005). "Flash-back". The Observer. Retrieved June 17, 2012.
   Shelton, No Direction Home, pp. 138–142.
   Shelton, No Direction Home, p. 156.
   The booklet by John Bauldie accompanying Bob Dylan's The Bootleg Series Volumes 1–3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961–1991 (1991) says: "Bob Dylan acknowledged the debt in 1978 to journalist Marc Rowland: Blowin' In The Wind' has always been a spiritual. I took it off a song called 'No More Auction Block'—that's a spiritual and 'Blowin' In The Wind follows the same feeling.'" pp. 6–8.
   Heylin, Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades Revisited, pp. 101–103.
   Ricks, Bob Dylan's Visions of Sin, pp. 329–344.
   Scaduto, Bob Dylan, p. 35.
   Mojo magazine, December 1993.
   Hedin (ed.), 2004, Studio A: The Bob Dylan Reader, p. 259.
   Sounes, 2001, Down The Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan, pp. 136–138.
   Joan Baez entry, Gray, The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia, pp. 28–31.
   Meacham, Steve (August 15, 2007). "It ain't me babe but I like how it sounds". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved September 24, 2008.
   Biograph, 1985, Liner notes & text by Cameron Crowe. Musicians on "Mixed Up Confusion": George Barnes & Bruce Langhorne (guitars); Dick Wellstood (piano); Gene Ramey (bass); Herb Lovelle (drums)
   Bob Dylan had recorded "Talkin' John Birch Society Blues" for his Freewheelin album, but the song was replaced by later compositions, including "Masters of War". See Heylin, Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades Revisited, pp. 114–115.
   Bob Dylan performed "Only a Pawn in Their Game" and "When the Ship Comes In"; see Heylin, Bob Dylan: A Life In Stolen Moments, p. 49.
   Gill, My Back Pages, pp. 37–41.
   Ricks, Bob Dylan's Visions of Sin, pp. 221–233.
   Williams, 1992, Bob Dylan: a man called alias, p. 56.
   Shelton, No Direction Home, pp. 200–205.
   Part of Bob Dylan's speech went: "There's no black and white, left and right to me any more; there's only up and down and down is very close to the ground. And I'm trying to go up without thinking of anything trivial such as politics."; see, Shelton, No Direction Home, pp. 200–205.
   Heylin, 1996, Bob Dylan: A Life In Stolen Moments, p. 60.
   Shelton, No Direction Home, p. 222.
   In an interview with Seth Goddard for Life magazine (July 5, 2001) Ginsberg claimed that Bob Dylan's technique had been inspired by Jack Kerouac: "(Bob Dylan) pulled Mexico City Blues from my hand and started reading it and I said, 'What do you know about that?' Bob Dylan said, 'Somebody handed it to me in '59 in St. Paul and it blew my mind.' So I said 'Why?' Bob Dylan said, 'It was the first poetry that spoke to me in my own language.' So those chains of flashing images you get in Bob Dylan, like 'the motorcycle black Madonna two-wheeled gypsy queen and her silver studded phantom lover,' they're influenced by Kerouac's chains of flashing images and spontaneous writing, and that spreads out into the people." Reproduced online: "Online Interviews With Allen Ginsberg". University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. October 8, 2004. Retrieved September 11, 2008.
   Shelton, No Direction Home, pp. 219–222.
   Shelton, No Direction Home, pp. 267–271; pp. 288–291.
   Heylin, Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades Revisited, pp. 178–181.
   Heylin, Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades Revisited, pp. 181–182.
   Heylin, 2009, Revolution In The Air, The Songs of Bob Dylan: Volume One, pp. 220–222.
   Marqusee, Wicked Messenger, p. 144.
   Gill, My Back Pages, pp. 68–69.
   Lee, Like a Bullet of Light: The Films of Bob Dylan, p. 18.
   a b Sounes, Down The Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan, pp. 168–169.
   Warwick, N., Brown, T. & Kutner, J. (2004). The Complete Book of the British Charts (Third Edition ed.). Omnibus Press. p. 6. ISBN 978-1-84449-058-5.
   Whitburn, J. (2008). Top Pop Singles 1955–2006. Record Research Inc. p. 130. ISBN 0-89820-172-1.
   Shelton, 2003, No Direction Home, pp. 276–277.
   Heylin, Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades Revisited, pp. 208–216.
   "Exclusive: Bob Dylan at Newport—Who Booed?". Mojo. October 25, 2007. Retrieved September 7, 2008.
   CP Staff (April 28, 2010). "Al Kooper talks Bob Dylan, Conan, Hendrix, and lifetime in the music business". City Pages (Village Voice Media): p. 3. Retrieved May 1, 2010.
   Jackson, Bruce (August 26, 2002). "The myth of Newport '65: It wasn't Bob Dylan they were booing". Buffalo Report. Archived from the original on February 23, 2008. Retrieved May 8, 2010.
   Shelton, No Direction Home, pp. 305–314.
   A year earlier, Irwin Silber, the editor of Sing Out!, had published an "Open Letter to Bob Dylan", criticising Bob Dylan's stepping away from political songwriting: "I saw at Newport how you had somehow lost contact with people. Some of the paraphernalia of fame were getting in your way." Sing Out!, November 1964, quoted in Shelton, No Direction Home, p. 313. This letter has been mistakenly described as a response to Bob Dylan's 1965 Newport appearance.
   Sing Out!, September 1965, quoted in Shelton, No Direction Home, p. 313
   "You got a lotta nerve/To say you are my friend/When I was down/You just stood there grinning" Reproduced online:Bob Dylan. "Positively 4th Street". bobBob Retrieved September 30, 2008.
   Sounes, Down The Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan, p. 186.
   a b c "The Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rock List Music. Retrieved May 2, 2010.
   Springsteen's Speech during Bob Dylan's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, January 20, 1988 Quoted in Bauldie, Wanted Man, p. 191.
   "500 Greatest Songs Of All Time". Rolling Stone. May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 1, 2011.
   Gill, 1999, My Back Pages, pp. 87–88.
   Polizzotti identifies Charlie McCoy on guitar and Russ Savakus on bass as the accompanying musicians, see Polizzotti, Highway 61 Revisited, p.133
   Gill, My Back Pages, p. 89.
   Palmer, Robert (November 1, 1987). "Recordings; Robbie Robertson Waltzes Back Into Rock". The New York Times. Retrieved September 27, 2008.
   Sounes, Down The Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan, pp. 189–90.
   Heylin, Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades Revisited, pp. 238–243.
   "The closest I ever got to the sound I hear in my mind was on individual bands in the Blonde on Blonde album. It's that thin, that wild mercury sound. It's metallic and bright gold, with whatever that conjures up." Bob Dylan Interview, Playboy, March 1978; reprinted in Cott, Bob Dylan on Bob Dylan: The Essential Interviews, p. 204.
   Gill, My Back Pages, p. 95.
   a b Sounes, Down The Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan, p. 193.
   Shelton, No Direction Home, p. 325.
   Heylin, Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades Revisited, pp. 244–261.
   "Live 1966". NME. UK. September 6, 1998. Retrieved May 2, 2010.
   Bob Dylan's dialogue with the Manchester audience is recorded (with subtitles) in Martin Scorsese's documentary No Direction Home
   Heylin, 2011, Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades: The 20th Anniversary Edition, p. 251.
   Heylin, 2011, Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades: The 20th Anniversary Edition, p. 250.
   Rolling Stone, November 29, 1969. Reprinted in Cott (ed.), Bob Dylan on Bob Dylan: The Essential Interviews, p. 140.
   Jones, Rebecca (May 23, 2011). "Bob Dylan tapes reveal heroin addiction". BBC Radio 4. Retrieved May 26, 2011.
   Greene, Andy (May 23, 2011). "Questions About Bob Dylan's Claim That Bob Dylan was Once a Heroin Addict". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 26, 2011.
   Brown, Mick (May 23, 2011). "Bob Dylan: finally an admission about his heroin use, but is it the truth?". Retrieved May 26, 2011.
   Sounes, Down The Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan, p. 215.
   a b c Sounes, Down The Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan, pp. 217–219.
   Heylin, Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades Revisited, pp. 268.
   Bob Dylan, Chronicles, Volume One, p. 114.
   Heylin, 1996, Bob Dylan: A Life In Stolen Moments, p. 143.
   Sounes, Down The Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan, p. 216.
   Sounes, Down The Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan, pp. 222–225.
   Marcus, The Old, Weird America, pp. 236–265.
   Helm, Levon and Davis, This Wheel's on Fire, p. 164; p. 174.
   "Bob Dylan's 1967 recording sessions". Bjorner's Still On the Road. Retrieved November 10, 2008.
   Björner, Olof. "Columbia Studio A, Nashville, Tennessee, 29 November 1967". Björner's Still On The Road. Retrieved June 11, 2012.
   Wadey, Paul (September 23, 2004). "Kenny Buttrey :'Transcendental' drummer for artists from Elvis Presley to Bob Dylan and Neil Young". The Independent (UK). Retrieved September 25, 2008.
   Harris, Craig. "Pete Drake: Biography". Country Music Television. Retrieved September 25, 2008.
   Heylin, Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades Revisited, pp. 282–288.
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   C. P. Lee wrote: "In Garrett's ghost-written memoir, The Authentic Life of Billy The Kid, published within a year of Billy's death, Bob Dylan wrote that 'Billy's partner doubtless had a name which was his legal property, but Bob Dylan was so given to changing it that it is impossible to fix on the right one. Billy always called him Alias.'" Lee, Like a Bullet of Light: The Films of Bob Dylan, pp. 66–67.
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   Bob Dylan's comment in booklet notes to Biograph, 1985, CBS Records.
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   a b Gray, 2000, Song & Dance Man III, p. 13.
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   Scott Marshall wrote: "When Bob Dylan sings that 'The sun is going down upon the sacred cow', it's safe to assume that the sacred cow here is the biblical metaphor for all false gods. For Bob Dylan, the world will eventually know that there is only one God." Marshall, Restless Pilgrim, p. 103.
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   "Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award". Retrieved September 25, 2008.
   a b Heylin, Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades Revisited, pp. 664–665. Heylin quotes the speech: "My daddy once said to me, Bob Dylan said, 'Son, it is possible for you to become so defiled in this world that your own mother and father will abandon you. If that happens, God will believe in your ability to mend your own ways.' "
   Gray, The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia, p. 423.
   Sounes, Down The Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan, pp. 408–409.
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   "Remarks by the President at Kennedy Center Honors Reception". Clinton White House. December 8, 1997. Retrieved September 7, 2008.
   "Column, tower, and dome, and spire/ Shine like obelisks of fire/ Pointing with inconstant motion/ From the altar of dark ocean/ To the sapphire-tinted skies", ll.67–71 from Lines Written Among the Euganean Hills by Percy Bysshe Shelley, October 1818. [1]
   "2000 Oscars – Winners and Nominees". Retrieved May 1, 2010.
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   "Love and Theft". Retrieved September 7, 2008.
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   This is a reprint of the article from The Wall Street Journal cited in next footnote."Did Bob Dylan Lift Lines From Dr Saga?". California State University, Dear Habermas. July 8, 2003. Retrieved September 29, 2011.
   "Did Bob Dylan Lift Lines From Dr Saga?". Wall Street Journal. July 8, 2003. Retrieved September 29, 2011.
   Bob Dylan co-wrote Masked & Anonymous under the pseudonym Seregei Petrov, taken from an actor in the silent movie era; Larry Charles used the alias Rene Fontaine. Gray, The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia, p. 453.
   A. O. Scott (July 24, 2003). "Film Review; Times They Are Surreal In Bob Dylan Tale". The New York Times. Retrieved October 4, 2008.
   Todd McCarthy (February 2, 2003). "Masked and Anonymous". Variety. Retrieved October 4, 2008.
   "Masked & Anonymous". The New Yorker. July 24, 2003. Retrieved February 1, 2007.
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   Gray, The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia, pp. 136–138.
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   Greil Marcus wrote: "There is nothing like 'I'm Not There' in the rest of the basement recordings, or anywhere else in Bob Dylan's career. Very quickly the listener is drawn into the sickly embrace of the music, its wash of half-heard, half-formed words and the increasing bitterness and despair behind them. Words are floated together in a dyslexia that is music itself – a dyslexia that seems to prove the claims of music over words, to see just how little words can achieve."; see Marcus, The Old, Weird America, pp. 198–204.
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   Bob Dylan also devoted an hour of his Theme Time Radio Hour to the theme of 'the Cadillac'. Bob Dylan first sang about the car in his 1963 nuclear war fantasy, "Talkin' World War III Blues", when Bob Dylan described it as a "good car to drive—after a war".
   Michaels, Sean (January 30, 2009). "Bob Dylan to appear with Will.I.Am in Pepsi advertisement". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved May 2, 2010.
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   Cairns, Dan (October 5, 2008). "Tell Tale Signs". The Sunday Times (London). Retrieved October 6, 2008.
   Michael Gray expressed his opinion in his Bob Dylan Encyclopedia blog "Tell Tale Signs Pt. 3, Money Doesn't Talk...". Bob Dylan Encyclopedia blog. August 14, 2008. Retrieved September 6, 2008.
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   "A Hard Reindeer's A-Gonna Fall". The New Yorker. September 21, 2009. Retrieved October 13, 2009.
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   Heylin, Bob Dylan: A Life In Stolen Moments, p. 297.
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   Gray, The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia, pp. 198–200.
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   According to Robert Shelton, Bob Dylan's teacher was "Rabbi Reuben Maier of the only synagogue on the Iron Range, Hibbing's Agudath Achim Synagogue". See Shelton, No Direction Home, pp. 35–36.
   Heylin, Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades Revisited, p. 328.
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   Heylin, Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades Revisited, p. 329.
   Heylin, Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades Revisited, p. 494.
   Gray, The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia, pp. 76–80.
   Rolling Stone, June 21, 1984, reprinted in Cott (ed.), Bob Dylan on Bob Dylan: The Essential Interviews, p. 288.
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   Fishkoff, The Rebbe's Army: Inside the World of Chabad-Lubavitch, p. 167.
   Heylin, 1996, A Life In Stolen Moments, p. 317 and p.343.
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   Fong-Torres, The Rolling Stone Interviews, Vol. 2, p. 424. Reproduced online:"Rolling Stone interview (1972)". Bob Dylan Roots. June 6, 1972. Archived from the original on April 21, 2008. Retrieved September 8, 2009.
   Marqusee, Wicked Messenger, p. 139.
   Ricks, Christopher (2003). Bob Dylan's Visions of Sin. Penguin/Viking. ISBN 0-670-80133-X.
   MacLeod, Donald (July 13, 2004). "Ricks profile: Someone's gotta hold of his art". The Guardian (London). Retrieved September 7, 2008.
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   McCartney: "I'm in awe of Bob ... Bob Dylan hit a period where people went, 'Oh, I don't like him now.' And I said, 'No. It's Bob Dylan.' To me, it's like Picasso, where people discuss his various periods, 'This was better than this, was better than this.' But I go, 'No. It's Picasso. It's all good.' "Siegel, Robert (June 27, 2007). "Paul McCartney interview". A.V. Club. Retrieved October 13, 2008.
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   "Bob Dylan, I'll never be Bob Dylan. He's the master. If I'd like to be anyone, it's him. And he's a great writer, true to his music and done what Bob Dylan feels is the right thing to do for years and years and years. He's great. He's the one I look to." Time interview with Neil Young, September 28, 2005. Reproduced online : Tyrangiel, Josh (September 28, 2005). "Resurrection of Neil Young". TIME. Retrieved September 15, 2008.
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   Time Out interview with Patti Smith, May 16, 2007: "The people I revered in the late '60s and the early '70s, their motivation was to do great work and great work creates revolution. The motivation of Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan or The Who wasn't marketing, to get rich, or be a celebrity.""Patti Smith: interview". Time Out. May 16, 2007. Retrieved September 8, 2008.
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