Singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, who took the folk music world by storm with “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “The Times They Are A-Changin’” - anthems for the anti-war and civil rights movements - became the first musician to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, in 2016.
Born Robert Allen Zimmerman on May 24, 1941, he became a regular in clubs and coffeehouses in New York City’s Greenwich Village in the early 1960s after dropping out of college. He soon signed his first recording contract and officially became Bob Dylan. His first album was 1962’s “Bob Dylan.”
Pictured: Dylan at age 22, performing on Nov. 8, 1963.
“The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan”
The cover of Dylan’s second album, “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan,” released in May 1963. The track list included “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “Girl from the North Country,” “A Hard Rains’ a-Gonna Fall,” “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” and “I Shall Be Free.” The album hit Number 1 in the U.K.
Some songs were replaced in later pressings of the album, and in 1991 outtakes from the “Freewheelin’” sessions were released as part of the “Bootleg Series.”
Bob Dylan and Joan Baez
Folk singers Joan Baez, left, and Bob Dylan performing at the Newport Jazz Festival in Newport, R.I. in 1963. Baez and Dylan had a romantic relationship for two years, and Dylan wrote several songs for her.
Dylan’s second album “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” in 1963 included “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall.” The first song became a big hit for the group Peter, Paul and Mary.
Bob Dylan in the recording studio in 1965.
By the time Dylan came out with his third album, “The Times They are A-Changin,” his gravelly voice and lyrics had become emblematic of the ‘60s protest movement.
Bob Dylan in March 1966 in New York.
Bob Dylan and The Band
Dylan, center, performed with Rick Danko, left, and Robbie Robertson of The Band at Carnegie Hall in New York City on Jan. 20, 1968. The concert was part of a benefit tribute to the late Woody Guthrie, Dylan’s idol.
The concert marked Dylan’s first public appearance after his motorcycle accident in August 1966, from which he spent nearly a year recovering.
American folk singer Bob Dylan performs during a three-day festival at Woodside Bay, Isle of Wight, England, on Sunday, Aug. 31, 1969.
Dylan during a news conference at New York’s Kennedy International Airport on his arrival from England on Sept. 2, 1969. He said a weekend concert on the Isle of Wight was a warm-up for the return of personal appearances in the United States.
Madison Square Garden
Bob Dylan (left), Leon Russell (back to camera) and George Harrison perform together at a benefit concert for refugees of East Pakistan at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Aug. 1, 1971.
“Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid”
In addition to appearing in the 1973 Sam Peckinpah western, “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid,” Bob Dylan also composed several songs for the film, including “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” (which was actually deleted from an early cut).
The cover of Bob Dylan’s 1974 album, “Planet Waves,” featuring The Band, with artwork by Dylan. It was his first album to hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts in the United States.
Dylan performed at the Houston Astrodome in Texas Jan. 25, 1975. That year he released “Blood on the Tracks,” which also became a No. 1 album.
Dylan sang on stage during his final appearance with The Band at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25, 1976. The show was filmed for the Martin Scorsese documentary, “The Last Waltz.”
In 1976, Dylan produced “Desire,” which included a song dedicated to boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, who was at the time serving a life sentence for what many people felt was a wrongful conviction for murder.
Folk singer Bob Dylan performs on July 4, 1978 at the Pavillon de Paris.
Bob Dylan and Joan Baez
And there they were again, nearly 20 years later, on June 6, 1982: Joan Baez and Dylan entertained more than 80,000 people who gathered at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. The event, a nuclear disarmament rally titled “Peace Sunday,” featured music, speeches and prayers.
Dylan, far left, attended the bar mitzvah of his son, Jesse, right, at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, Sept. 20, 1983.
American poet and folk singer Bob Dylan is photographed January 30, 1990 in Paris, after being awarded with the Commandership of Arts and Literature.
Dylan performed during the 33rd Annual Grammy Awards at New York’s Radio City Music Hall, Feb. 21, 1991. At the ceremony, he was awarded a lifetime achievement award.
Dylan sang during his anniversary concert at New York’s Madison Square Garden, Oct. 17, 1992. Joined by contemporary artists, Dylan celebrated the 30th anniversary of the release of his first Columbia album.
Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen
Dylan was joined by Bruce Springsteen during Dylan’s set for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame benefit concert Sept. 2, 1995, in Cleveland.
Dylan was inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.
Bob Dylan and Pope John Paul II
The pope greeted Dylan, who performed at a concert in honor of John Paul II in Bologna, Italy, Sept. 27, 1997. It was the highlight of a week-long religious congress in the northern Italian city and a chance for the pontiff to spend time with young people and their music.
Medal of Freedom
In 2012, President Barack Obama awarded the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest honor for a civilian, to a distinguished and diverse group, including rock legend Bob Dylan, former astronaut John Glenn, and former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.
Dylan was the first rock musician to ever be named a Kennedy Center honoree.
Dylan performed the song “Love Sick” during the 40th Annual Grammy Awards Feb. 25, 1998, at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Dylan won a Grammy award for Album of the Year.
A couple of years later, on Feb. 23, 2000, Dylan presented Carlos Santana with his eighth Grammy (for Album of the Year) for “Supernatural” during the 42nd Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.
Singer Bob Dylan, performing his song “Things Have Changed” (from the film “Wonder Boys”) via satellite, is shown on a giant screen at the 73rd Annual Academy Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles March 25, 2001.
Dylan won the Oscar for Best Original Song.
Dylan performed “Cry A While” at the 44th Annual Grammy Awards, Feb. 27, 2002.
Newport Folk Festival
Dylan performed at the Newport Folk Festival, Aug. 3, 2002.
It was the first time he played Newport since July 1965, when he appeared onstage for the first time with an electric guitar - smashing barriers between folk and rock, and earning boos from folk-music purists.
Dylan's Fender Stratocaster Guitar
The Fender Stratocaster electric guitar, played by Dylan for the first time on July 25, 1965 at the Newport Folk Festival, sold for$965,000 at Christie’s in New York City, Dec. 2013.
The performance was known as “the night Dylan went electric.”
“Masked and Anonymous”
Dylan played Jack Fate and Angela Bassett, the Mistress, in the movie “Masked and Anonymous” (2003).
Dylan waits at the University of St. Andrew’s in Scotland, as he is watched by two unidentified women, June 23, 2004, after he received an honorary degree of Doctor of Music.
Dylan, whose hits include “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Mr. Tambourine Man,” has only ever accepted one other honorary degree, from Princeton University in 1970.
Bob Dylan performs from his repertoire of more than 400 songs and 50 albums at the 22nd annual Bluesfest music festival near Australia’s Byron Bay on April 25, 2011.
Critics’ Choice Movie Awards
Bob Dylan performs during the 17th annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards on Jan. 12, 2012 in Los Angeles.
A visitor looks at a painting by folk singer Bob Dylan, shown at the “New Orleans Series” exhibition, on February 6, 2013 at the Palazzo Reale in Milan.
Honoree Bob Dylan speaks onstage at the 25th anniversary MusiCares 2015 Person Of The Year Gala at the Los Angeles Convention Center on February 6, 2015 in California.
Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra and his team paint a 60 foot-by-150 foot mural of musician Bob Dylan on the side of a building on August 28, 2015 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.