I like to refer to my favorite folk singer as Bobby Z (A.K.A. Bob Dylan) whose real name is Robert Zimmerman. He changed his last name to Dylan (after the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas) very early in his career. One of his most popular songs, Knockin On Heaven’s Door, was written for a movie score about Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid…
One of the reasons I like Bob Dylan, is because he isn’t afraid to speak his mind. His lyrics can be painfully honest and very convicting too. They make an impact on the listener, often providing them with a different perspective to consider.
Bob often stuck his neck out on controversial issues during the Civil Rights movement and the Viet-Nam War era which caused a great divide among people. They either loved him, or hated him, but no one could ever ignore him. He, himself doesn’t really seem to care what anyone thinks. He just does his own thing and remains who he is. There is no hype.
Like all musician/songwriter’s, Dylan’s songwriting drew from people he admired, the most important influence in his early years being the American folk singer Woody Guthrie. Woody was a man who cared about and spoke for the people of his generation through songs like This Land Is Your Land.
Woody’s son, Arlo Guthrie, was a contemporary of Dylan’s who also became famous during the sixties. Arlo wrote the song “Alice’s Restaraunt” among others, and was one of the many well known rock icons who performed at the Woodstock festival.
In 1979 Dylan declared that he had become a “born-again Christian” and was heard playing harmonica on the album “No Compromise” with the popular contemporary-Christian recording artist Keith Green. Dylan later went on to win his first Grammy Award that same year with a Contemporary Chirstian album of his own called “Slow Train Coming.”
Bob Dylan’s influence on the direction of popular music is legendary. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1989. During the ceremony Bruce Springstein said Bob Dylan…
“broke through the limitations of what a recording artist could achieve, and changed the face of rock and roll forever.”
Other notable artists such as Jimi Hendrix, The Byrds, Eric Clapton, Gun’s and Roses, have covered Dylan’s songs and re-created their own hit versions of…
– All Along the Watchtower – Jim Hendrix
– Hey Mr. Tambourine Man – The Byrds
– Knockin On Heavens Door – Eric Clapton / Guns and Roses
Undoubtably, the songs that Bob Dylan gave us will continue to inspire musicians and songwriters for years to come.