BoB Dylan

Regarding significant musical movements in history,
more specifically
the twenty first century, few were more important than the
folk revolution that
took shape in the mid-nineteen hundreds. One of the
leaders of this
revolution was Robert Allen Zimmerman, known by his popular
name, Bob Dylan. Born in 1941 in Minnesota, Dylan grew up
the grandchild
of Jewish-Russian immigrants and had a surprisingly
childhood. His interest in music became evident in his
high school years
when he taught himself basic piano and guitar. From these
rudimentary skills
Dylan would build his knowledge and experience in music to
his present
status as a forefather of folk music in the rock era.
Accordingly, a song from
the pinnacle of his career embodies his style and poetic
capabilities, acting as
a reference point of the music it followed and the music
that was to come.
Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowland is an unmistakably remarkable
example of the
work of Bob Dylan in his finest hour.
To fully understand the influence of Bob Dylan on
the American folk
revolution and his importance in the pop culture of todays
youth, one must
first understand his background and development musically.
First of all Bob
Dylan was born in Minnesota, not a particular hub of
musical activity.
Author Bob Spitz makes a good point concerning Dylans
History has taught us that no matter how we change the
environment it is impossible to change the man…After all,
anybody is as their land and air is….If that is so, it is
wonder that Bob Dylan became such a luminous amalgam
of showmanship and aloofness, spirituality and desolation,
eloquence and exaggeration, individuality and
schizophrenia. These seesawing extremes, among others,
are indigenous to the historical landscape of northern
Minnesota. (Spitz 9)
For others this might have been a setback but for Dylan it
was the perfect
environment to nurture his interests, in music
specifically. At the age of ten
he was writing poems and by thirteen was setting them to
music with
self-taught piano and guitar skills. Dylans interest in
music continued to
climb as he entered Hibbing High School. During his high
school years
Dylan would become involved in musical productions and
attempt forming
many bands with such names as the Golden Chords and Elston
Gunn and His
Rock Boppers. He began to idolize such new rock stars as
Elvis Presley and
Jerry Lee Lewis to the point that his high school yearbook
listed his goal in
life as joining Little Richard. An eighteen year old
Dylan left his hometown
of Hibbing in the fall of 1959 for college at the
University of Minnesota,
Minneapolis. This would be his first taste of the big city
and the life that
awaited him.
The sight and sounds of the big city opened many
new vistas for the
young Dylan and he took advantage of his situation by
studying the roots of
contemporary rock. He began to listen to the works of folk
pioneers like
Hank Williams, Robert Johnson, and Woody Guthrie. At the
same time
Dylan was beginning to perform solo at local Minneapolis
night spots such as
the Ten OClock Scholar cafe and the St. Pauls Purple
Onion Pizza Parlor.
During this time Dylan was honing his guitar skills and
harmonica work and
developing his famous nasal voice which would become his
Halfway through his college career Dylan decided it
was time for a
move. He packed up and moved to New York City with two main
motivations. His primary motivation was to become part of
the Greenwich
Village folk-music scene which was burgeoning in the city.
His second
reason for moving was to meet his idle, Woodie Guthrie, who
was in a
hospital in New Jersey with a rare hereditary disease.
Dylan would succeed
on both counts. Not only did he meet Guthrie but he became
a fixture at his
bedside. As well, Bob Dylan was now a recognizable name
among the folk
clubs and coffee houses of New York. Dylan had a
proficiency at learning
songs perfectly the first time he heard them which was
admired by his peers
that, along with tireless song writing, brought him much
acclaim. In the fall
of 1961


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