The name Bob Dylan conjures up images of the 1960s and a legendary back catalog of music. Mind you, we don’t need to conjure: we’ve got an amazing selection of vintage pictures right here. From obscure details blowin’ in the wind, to Dylan’s fascinating personal and creative life that keep him forever young, here’s the electrifying lowdown on the timeless strummer, told through stunning photography.
Zimmerman into Dylan
Born Robert Zimmerman, he entered the world on May 24, 1941, growing up in the port city of Duluth, as well as Hibbing, Minnesota. Zimmerman changed his name in 1962, but why? “Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, Marshall Matt Dillon of TV’s iconic western Gunsmoke, and Dillon Road in Hibbing have all been suggested as possible sources,” noted an article on the website of Marquette University Law School.
Simple Twist of Fate
By the early 1960s Dylan was performing in New York, coming into contact with musical heroes such as Woody Guthrie. He began drawing attention from critics and audiences, finding himself on the cusp of superstardom. It maybe wasn’t the life he’d envisaged as he performed in clubs during a tumultuous decade for the United States. Still, he turned into an icon.
Word of mouth
Dylan was approached by John Hammond of Columbia Records, who watched him accompany artists on the harmonica. In 1962 the future music legend signed his first record contract, releasing his debut self-titled album the same year. Was it a smash? Surprisingly, no. And one of the tracks was a cover: “Man of Constant Sorrow.” It would later be used in the 2000 movie O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Second time’s the charm
In 1963 he released The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, which put him on the map. It opens with one of his most familiar songs, “Blowin’ in the Wind.” The first U.S. Top 40 entry for Dylan was 1965’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues”, but the former song remains special. He performed it to acclaim during a British TV play called Madhouse on Castle Street.