Singer-songwriter, author, and American treasure, Robert Allen Zimmerman, known as Bob Dylan, has been an artist in the spotlight for more than fifty years now (1). Drawn to Folk and Blues Music, Bob Dylan signed on with his first record label in 1961 and soon became one of the most influential singer-songwriters of the 20th century. Most known for confrontational lyrics regarding social and political issues, Bob Dylan has been decorated with Grammy, Academy, and Golden Globe awards along with a Presidential Medal of Freedom and a Nobel Prize for his literature.
While attending the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis in the early ‘60’s, Zimmerman soon found his passion for Folk music and began playing small gigs at local café’s and adopting the stage name of ‘Bob Dylan’. These small gigs soon ignited his passion even deeper and he dropped out of college to move to New York where he became a regular musician at folk clubs, bars, and coffee shops. There, he came in contact with many professional and rising artists and soon began writing songs at an incredible pace.
In 1961, his hard work and dedication finally paid off, and his performance was noted in a glowing review in The New York Times (2). From there, his career propelled him into a lifetime of Blues and folk music playing. In 1961 he signed his first record label with Columbia Records and legally changed his name to ‘Bob Dylan’. In 1962 he released his first two songs, a good start to his career. But only a year later in 1963, he released album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan and became recognized as a revolutionary singer-songwriter, poet, and artist.
From this album, his most notable songs include “Blowin’ in the Wind”, “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”, and many other classics from the library of Bob Dylan.
By 1963 young Bob Dylan had released the album The Times They Are A-Changin’ which officially established him as a social and political movement artists. His lyrics were confrontational, unafraid, and worked to shine light on big issues during the ‘60’s protest movement. Of this album, some of his most notable work include the songs “The Times They Are A-Changin’”, “Boots of Spanish Leather”, and “Restless Farwell”.
These songs and albums were only the beginning of a lifetime of professional music performance. He continued to tour nationally and internationally bringing his music to the world. Throughout the years, some of his top and most popular songs include ‘Like A Rolling Stone’, ‘Knockin’ On Heavens Door’, and ‘Hurricane’.
Notable Music Career
Bob Dylan has released 525 songs, was performing around 200 live concerts per year at the peak of his career, and was extremely dedicated to his passion for music making. Noted for the literature and poetry in his music, many books have been produced to take a more behind the scenes look of the legend’s famous lyrics.
This book Bob Dylan: All The Songs – The Story Behind Every Track by author Philippe Margotin focuses on Bob Dylan’s history, creative process, and a deeper look into all 525 songs he has produced over the years. Organized by album chronology, the author takes a look at the culture of the time, the careful words of Dylan, and the kind of impact it made on audiences at that time and even now. Many would argue that his lyrics still remain relevant and alive in today’s modern culture.
Another fantastic option for a deeper dive into the mind of artist, Bob Dylan, is the book called The Lyrics: 1961-2012 by Bob Dylan himself. This book is an excellent source of information as it comes directly from the artist.
From beginning to end, this book takes you through his entire career, his most notable songs, and the lyric meanings behind them. It even includes edits of his original songs, from his early work all the way up through his most recent work.
Bob Dylan’s Harmonica
Bob Dylan exclusively played Hohner diatonic harmonicas. In fact, Hohner made the Hohner Bob Dylan Signature Series Harmonicas modeled after the exact harmonica that Bob Dylan chooses to play throughout his career. This beautifully crafted harmonica is not just for Bob Dylan fans. It’s model and style makes it smooth, durable, and one of the finest harmonicas Hohner has to offer.
It’s snappy tones and easy bending makes it a professional classic. It includes a stainless steel cover plate with his signature etched into it, along with a special box and carrying case included. This harmonica is great for beginners and professionals alike, and with it’s responsive reeds make it a fun and easy instrument to play.
Of course, he is most noted for his ability to play both the guitar and harmonica at the same time and required a neck rack in order to do so. The Hohner HH01 10 Hole Harmonica Neck Holder fits any diatonic, 10-hole harmonica.
This nifty device is a part of a limited addition series and provides comfort and stability while playing the harmonica hands free. When playing on stage, as you may notice from watching Bob Dylan perform live, it is important that your neck rack does not budge during playing so that you don’t loose instrument or blow the wrong note. Have a neck rack that is comfortable, adjustable, or reliable is important for anyone looking to take their talents to the stage.