Protest singer, poetic genius, and a song and dance man; Bob Dylan influenced both popular music and popular culture for more than five decades. Although often reduced to a nasally-voiced guitar player who cannot carry a tune, Dylan mesmerized a nation with his musical genius since the early 60s. His artistic talents posed opportunities for creativity in the music industry and proved that a singer does not need a beautiful voice in order to sing. The lyrics make the song. The voice of a generation, singer-songwriter Bob Dylan not only influenced popular culture in the 1960s, but he opened artistic avenues that transcend far beyond popular music, and into our hearts.
Deep into the frozen backcountry lies a miniscule town named Hibbing, Minnesota. Once a barren mining town in the 1940s, a young misanthrope named Robert Allen Zimmerman, emerged out of the frost-bitten state (Kristen and Young). There, the weather equalized everyone. Temperatures often fell so far below freezing that no one could rebel against the countless layers of clothes that concealed their identities (Shea).
Armed with only a guitar case and ambition in his heart, Zimmerman headed to the famous New York City. He writes, “Nobody knows me here, but that is all about to change (Shea).” There, he changed his identity to Bob Dylan after his favorite poet, Dylan Thomas. Playing for coffeehouses and small protest demonstrations in the early 60s, he made his mark in Greenwich Village, New York, the epicenter of the folk music revival (Shea). Dylan’s immense talent became highly recognized in collaboration with Columbia Records, catapulting him onto the stages at prestigious folk music festivals, into pivotal protests, and into history books.
The way Dylan plays his music and sings his songs, it seems as though the words simply flow out of him, as if he has told the story a thousand times before. In countless concerts and performances, he would make up the words as he went along, rhyming and serenading without skipping a beat. “Dylan always seemed to have an intimate delivery that starkly contrasts the way songs are usually sung. He is very forceful, he inhabits the songs,” says Steve Wilentz, a Princeton historian. According to Wilentz, Dylan hardly aspires to comprehensiveness. His connections seem unusual, in yet open the world to both excitement and confusion (Shea). Listeners may often find themselves immersed in his create-on-the-run approach and his fly-on-the-wall perspective, colliding with his trademark of stoic professionalism. Although he draws some of the more interesting crowds in today’s music scene: from young hipsters looking for a hip idol, to lifetime fans who have cherished him since the 60s (Kristen and Young). According to author Ian Inglis, Dylan’s concerts proved “sheer personal magnetism”.
Unlike most popular artists today, and even popular artists in the 60s, Dylan’s lyrics have complex...