Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman on May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, author, musician and poet who has been a major figure in popular music for five decades. Much of Dylan’s best known work is from the 1960s when he became an informal documentarian and reluctant figurehead of American unrest. Some of his songs, such as “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “The Times They Are a-Changin’”, became anthems of the anti-war and civil rights movements. Forty years later, his 2001 album “Love and Theft”, reached the top five on the charts in the U.S. and the UK. His latest studio album, Modern Times, released on August 29, 2006, became his first US #1 album in thirty years, making him the oldest living chart topper in history at the age of 65.
Dylan’s early lyrics incorporated politics, social commentary, philosophy and literary influences, defying existing pop music conventions and appealing widely to the counterculture of the time. While expanding and personalizing musical styles, he has shown steadfast devotion to many traditions of American song, from folk and country/blues to rock ‘n’ roll and rockabilly, to Celtic balladry, even jazz, swing and Broadway.
Dylan performs with the guitar, keyboard and harmonica. Backed by a changing lineup of musicians, he has toured steadily since the late 1980s on what has been dubbed the Never Ending Tour. He has also recently performed alongside other major artists, such as Paul Simon, Joan Baez, Tom Petty, Jack White, Eric Clapton,and Mark Knopfler. Although his contributions as performer and recording artist have been central to his career, his songwriting is generally held as his highest accomplishment.
His career accomplishments have been recognized with the Polar Music Prize, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, Kennedy Center Honors, and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Nashville Songwriters and Songwriters Hall of Fame. He was listed as one of TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential people of the 20th century.