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Bob Dylan Biography

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Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman on May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, author, musician and poet who has been a major figure in popular music for five decades. Much of Dylan's best known work is from the 1960s when he became an informal documentarian and reluctant figurehead of American unrest. Some of his songs, such as "Blowin' in the Wind" and "The Times They Are a-Changin'", became anthems of the anti-war and civil rights movements. Forty years later, his 2001 album "Love and Theft", reached the top five on the charts in the U.S. and the UK. His latest studio album, Modern Times, released on August 29, 2006, became his first US #1 album in thirty years, making him the oldest living chart topper in history at the age of 65.

Dylan's early lyrics incorporated politics, social commentary, philosophy and literary influences, defying existing pop music conventions and appealing widely to the counterculture of the time. While expanding and personalizing musical styles, he has shown steadfast devotion to many traditions of American song, from folk and country/blues to rock 'n' roll and rockabilly, to Celtic balladry, even jazz, swing and Broadway.

Dylan performs with the guitar, keyboard and harmonica. Backed by a changing lineup of musicians, he has toured steadily since the late 1980s on what has been dubbed the Never Ending Tour. He has also recently performed alongside other major artists, such as Paul Simon, Joan Baez, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, Jack White, Eric Clapton, The Band, and Mark Knopfler. Although his contributions as performer and recording artist have been central to his career, his songwriting is generally held as his highest accomplishment.

His career accomplishments have been recognized with the Polar Music Prize, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, Kennedy Center Honors, and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Nashville Songwriters and Songwriters Hall of Fame. He has even been nominated several times for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Dylan was listed as one of TIME Magazine's 100 most influential people of the 20th century.

Bob Dylan's large and vocal fan base writes books, essays, 'zines, etc. at a furious rate. They also maintain a massive Internet presence with daily Dylan news, a site which rigorously documents every song he has ever played in concert, one that documents bootlegs that have been released on vinyl and disc, and one where visitors bet on what songs he will play on upcoming tours; along with many hundreds of other sites. Within minutes of the end of concerts, set lists and reviews are posted by his loyal following.

The poet laureate of Britain, Andrew Motion, is a vocal supporter of Dylan's work, as are musicians Lou Reed, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, David Bowie, Mike Watt, Roger Waters, Joni Mitchell, Ian Hunter, and Tom Waits.

The Dylan pool, which was created in 2001 has been featured on CNN, CBC, BBC, and the Associated Press. To the Associated Press, "The pool reflects both the obsessive interest Dylan still draws 40 years into his career and the way this road warrior has structured his career." It allows interaction between fans while adding a level of competition through the unique online Bob Dylan fantasy game.

After a lengthy delay, October 2004 saw the publishing of Dylan's autobiography Chronicles, Vol. 1, with which he once again confounded expectations. Dylan wrote three chapters about the year between his arrival in New York City in 1961 and recording his first album. Dylan focused on the brief period before he was a household name, while virtually ignoring the mid-1960s when his fame was at its height. He also devoted chapters to two lesser-known albums, New Morning (1970) and Oh Mercy (1989), which contained insights into his collaborations with poet Archibald MacLeish and producer Daniel Lanois. In the New Morning chapter, Dylan expresses distaste for the "spokesman of a generation" label bestowed upon him, and evinces disgust with his more fanatical followers.

Another section features Dylan's account of a guitar-playing style in mathematical detail that he claimed was the key to his renaissance in the 1990s. Despite the opacity of some passages, there is an overall clarity in voice that is generally missing in Dylan's other prose writings, and a noticeable generosity towards friends and lovers of his early years. At the end of the book, Dylan describes with great passion the moment when he listened to the Brecht/Weill song "Pirate Jenny", and the moment when he first heard Robert Johnson’s recordings. In these passages, Dylan suggested the process which ignited his own song-writing.

Chronicles, Vol. 1 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. Simultaneously, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble reported the book as their number two best-seller among all categories. Chronicles Vol. 1 is the first of three planned volumes.

The current members of Bob Dylan's touring band:
Artist information courtesy of their Wikipedia entry, which is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
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