1. Bob Dylan was born Robert Allen Zimmerman on May 24 1941.
2. He is an American singer-songwriter, artist and writer.
3. He has been influential in popular music and culture for more than five decades.
4. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when his songs chronicled social unrest, although Dylan repudiated suggestions from journalists that he was a spokesman for his generation.
5. Nevertheless, early songs such as “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “The Times They Are a-Changin'” became anthems for the American civil rights and anti-war movements.
6. After he left his initial base in the American folk music revival, his six-minute single “Like a Rolling Stone” altered the range of popular music in 1965.
7. His mid-1960s recordings, backed by rock musicians, reached the top end of the United States music charts while also attracting denunciation and criticism from others in the folk movement.
8. Dylan’s lyrics have incorporated various political, social, philosophical, and literary influences.
9. They defied existing pop music conventions and appealed to the burgeoning counterculture. Initially inspired by the performances of Little Richard, and the songwriting of Woody Guthrie, Robert Johnson, and Hank Williams, Dylan has amplified and personalized musical genres.
10. His recording career, spanning 50 years, has explored the traditions in American song—from folk, blues, and country to gospel, rock and roll, and rockabilly to English, Scottish, and Irish folk music, embracing even jazz and the Great American Songbook.
11. Dylan performs with guitar, keyboards, and harmonica. Backed by a changing line-up of musicians, he has toured steadily since the late 1980s on what has been dubbed the Never Ending Tour. His accomplishments as a recording artist and performer have been central to his career, but songwriting is considered his greatest contribution.
12. Since 1994, Dylan has published six books of drawings and paintings, and his work has been exhibited in major art galleries.
13. As a musician, Dylan has sold more than 100 million records, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time.
14. He has also received numerous awards including eleven Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and an Academy Award.
15. Dylan has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Minnesota Music Hall of Fame, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and Songwriters Hall of Fame.
16. The Pulitzer Prize jury in 2008 awarded him a special citation for “his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power.”
17. In May 2012, Dylan received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.
18. During his days in Greenwich Village in the 1960s, Dylan became a chess friend.
19. Dylan’s father, Abe, was a semi-professional baseball player before he contracted polio in his early twenties.
20. According to Bob Spitz, author of The Beatles: The Biography, it was Dylan who first introduced the Fab Four to marijuana.
21. After seeing Rebel Without a Cause, Dylan became obsessed with James Dean.
22. His great-grandfather and uncles owned the biggest movie theaters in Hibbing, Minnesota, allowing a young Dylan to watch films for free.
23. Dylan’s first professional recording was as a harmonica player at a Harry Belafonte session.
24. In 10th grade, Dylan and his back-up band were rejected from a high school talent show because the student council judged his performance at the audition too shocking.
25. In 1960, Tommy Smothers of the Smothers Brothers tried to get the manager of a Denver club to kick Dylan off the bill, complaining that his voice was awful.
26. In college, Dylan was known for scamming his friends out of cigarettes and articles of clothing.
27. Before he flunked out of the University of Minnesota, Dylan pledged to the fraternity Sigma Alpha Mu.
28. When Dylan met girlfriend Suze Rotolo’s mother, Mary, he lied and told her that he had a degenerative eye disease that would eventually lead him to go blind, earning him Mary’s eternal distrust.
29. Suze Rotolo’s pet names for Dylan were “the Pig” and “RAZ.”
30. When a CBS censor informed him that he couldn’t play “Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues” on The Ed Sullivan Show, Dylan refused to go on.
31. In 2004, Dylan earned an honorary doctorate in music from the University of St. Andrews.
32. The only other honorary degree Dylan has accepted was in 1970 from Princeton.
33. The first time Donovan and Bob Dylan met, Dylan and his entourage all wore Halloween masks.
34. Dylan’s first draft of “Like a Rolling Stone” was six pages long.
35. is first wife, Sara Lownds, worked as a Playboy bunny.
36. Aside from song-writing, Dylan is also a prolific painter. The cover of his 1970 Self Portrait is his own painting.
37. After Dylan’s 1966 motorcycle accident, Allen Ginsberg brought him a box full of books to aid his recovery.
38. The original title of Planet Waves was Ceremonies of the Horsemen.
39. After Elvis died, Dylan didn’t speak to anyone for a week.
40. Seinfeld veteran Larry Charles directed Dylan’s 2003 film Masked & Anonymous.