Robert Allen Zimmerman
Bob Dylan, Bobby, Zimmy, Zimbo, The Voice of Protest, The Voice of a Generation, The Bard, Blind Boy Grunt, Elston Gunnn, Blind Boy, Grunt Bob, Landy Robert, Milkwood Thomas, Tedham Porterhouse, Lucky Wilbury, Boo Wilbury, Jack Frost, Sergei Petrov
Duluth, Minnesota, United States
Malibu, California, United States
Bob Dylan went to Hibbing High School and after graduation got admission at the University of Minnesota. However, he dropped out of university after completing his first year as he wanted to focus on his music.
Singer, songwriter, artist, writer
- Father – Abram Zimmerman (Electric appliance shop owner)
- Mother – Beatrice “Beatty” Stone
- Siblings – David Zimmerman (Younger Brother)
- Others – Zigman Zimmerman (Paternal Grandfather), Anna Zimmerman (Paternal Grandmother), Ben Stone (Maternal Grandfather), Florence Stone (Maternal Grandmother)
Bob Dylan is represented by Simon & Schuster.
Folk, blues, rock, gospel
Vocals, guitar, keyboards, harmonica
Columbia, Asylum Records
5 ft 7½ in or 171 cm
67 kg or 148 lbs
Girlfriend / Spouse
Bob Dylan has dated
- Mavis Staples – Bob Dylan is rumored to have dated gospel singer Mavis Staples. Although the exact timeline of their relationship isn’t known, it is assumed that he went out with her in his younger days.They had reportedly met at the taping of an unspecified TV show. Dylan had expressed that he wanted to marry Mavis and her father had asked him to talk to Mavis about it. So, they started going out thereafter. The couple used to exchange letters and would talk on the phone for long hours. They dated for about four or five years before ending their relationship.
- Suze Rotolo (1961-1964) – Bob first met artist and political activist Suze Rotolo in July 1961 at the Riverside Church folk concert. They were introduced by her sister Carla. It was love at first sight for Bob, who would later call her the most erotic thing he had ever seen in his life. They started living together at the start of 1962, much to her parents’ dismay, who were American Communist Party radicals. However, as his fame grew, she started finding their relationship a bit stressful. When she went to Italy with her mother to study a six months course in Perugia, Bob was heartbroken and it inspired some of his earliest love ballads. By 1963, she was pregnant with his child and had to get an abortion done. The abortion took its toll on their relationship. His affair with singer Joan Baez didn’t help things either. They eventually broke up in 1964 and he channeled his emotions to write, Ballad in Plain D.
- Joan Baez (1963-1965) – Joan Baez was a popular folk singer by the time he was starting out as a musician and was six months older to him. She made him popular by doing covers of his songs. It has been reported by music historians that Dylan was more interested in Joan’s sister but he soon came around. The Newport Folk Festival that was held in May 1963 is touted as the time they began their affair. After having performed With God on Our Side, they drove to her house and started one of the most passionate love affairs of the sixties. By the time, he set out for the UK Tour in 1965, he was losing interest in Baez and was getting more enamored with other women. Even, after the end of their relationship, she continued to champion his cause.
- Dana Gillespie (1965) – During his UK tour in 1965, Dylan is said to have hooked up with British pop singer Dana Gillespie. He was reported to have spent hours holed up in his hotel room with Dana during the tour. He met her during his subsequent visits as well as he was very comfortable with her. In fact, he was so comfortable that he once borrowed her pink and orange flowered pants and left her sitting in the room in her underwear. He had promised to return in a couple of hours but returned about 15 hours later.
- Sara Lownds (1965-1977) – In November 1965, Dylan got married to model and actress Sara Lownds. She was pregnant with their first child by the time they got married. In January 1966, she gave birth to a boy, Jesse Byron Dylan, who works as a film director and producer. In July 1967, they became parents to a daughter, Anna Lea, who was followed by a son, Samuel Isaac Abram in July 1968. In December 1969, she gave birth to Jakob Luke Dylan, who is a singer and songwriter. Dylan also adopted her daughter from a previous marriage, Maria Lownds (who was born in October 1961). Dylan even cast Sara as the female lead in his film, Renaldo and Clara. However, they got divorced in June 1977.
- Françoise Hardy – Bob Dylan reportedly had an affair with French singer and songwriter Françoise Hardy in the mid-sixties.
- Edie Sedgwick (1965-1966) – Dylan’s relationship with actress and socialite Edie Sedgwick has often been disputed. Some sources claim that they had started going out in 1965 while she was living at the Chelsea Hotel. They dated until February 1966 when her former mentor and director Andy Warhol informed her that Dylan had married Sara Lownds several months earlier. There are some sources that claim they never dated and that Edie just had a crush on him. And after learning about his marriage, she just gave up the thought of bagging him.
- Chris O`Dell – Bob Dylan had a fling with Chris O`Dell, while she worked as his tour manager for two years. She has also hinted at their fling in her autobiography, Miss O’Dell: My Hard Days and Long Nights with the Beatles, the Stones, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, and the Women They Loved, which was published in January 2010.
- Sally Kirkland – The American actress Sally Kirkland was obsessed with Dylan for almost a decade before they started going out. Sally had first seen him in the early 60’s while standing in a receiving line at Carnegie Hall. She looked him in the eye and was awestruck. She spent the next decade getting more obsessed with him. In 1975, her close friend, who had grown up with Dylan, told her that she would set up a date with Bob if Sally hired her as her manager. So, she finally got to go on a date with Dylan in 1975. They broke up by the end of the next year. However, they kept on going back to each other and dated in the late 80’s and late 90’s as well.
- Ruth Tyrangiel (1974-1991) – No one knew about Dylan’s relationship with Ruth Tyrangiel until 1994, when she slapped him with a $5 million “palimony” suit. In her lawsuit, she claimed that they had been living as husband and wife for around 17 years. She also mentioned that they started dating in 1974 and were together till 1991. She was declared as his common-law wife and he decided to settle out of court.
- Carolyn Dennis (1986-1992) – Bob secretly got married to his backup singer Carolyn Dennis in 1986. During the course of their marriage, she gave birth to their daughter, Desiree Gabrielle Dennis-Dylan. Their marriage lasted for about six years and it remained a secret until 2001, when Howard Sounes published his biography, Down the Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan.
Race / Ethnicity
On his father’s side, he has Russian Jewish ancestry. While, on his mother’s side, he is of Lithuanian descent.
Dark Brown (Natural)
With his growing age, it has turned more into salt and pepper.
- Slight body frame
- Thin moustache
- Curly hair
His body measurements may be –
- Chest – 36 in or 91.5 cm
- Arms / Biceps – 12 in or 30.5 cm
- Waist – 40 in or 102 cm
8 (US) or 41 (EU) or 7 (UK)
Bob Dylan has done endorsement work for the following brands
- IBM Watson
- The Traveling Wilburys
- AARP Services
- Chrysler (Super Bowl Advert)
- Victoria’s Secret
- Cadillac Escalade
- Apple iPod
Bob Dylan’s religious views have shifted throughout his life. He was raised in a devout Jewish household and at the age of 13, had his bar mitzvah. Then in 1979, he claimed that he was born again and had found Christ. He even released two Christian gospel albums.
About a decade and a half later, he revealed that he didn’t believe in any organized religion and that music was his spirituality. Later, it was found that he was adhering to his childhood Jewish faith and had a bar mitzvah for his sons.
Best Known For
- Being one of the most popular musical artists with more 100 million record sales to his name.
- His work as one of the most influential and popular lyricists. His lyrics carry political, literary, philosophical, and social influences.
- Having won the much coveted and prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature.
- Being the recipient of more than ten Grammy awards, an Academy Award, and a Golden Globe Award.
In 1962, he released his debut studio album, Bob Dylan, which was certified as silver in the UK and also managed to creep up to the #13 position on the UK music charts.
In 1967, he made his theatrical film debut in the documentary film Don’t Look Back that covers his 1965 concert tour in England.
First TV Show
On March 10, 1964, Bob made his first TV show appearance on the comedy talk show, The New Steve Allen Show. On the same day, he also appeared in The Times They Are A-Changin’ episode of the TV show, Quest.
Information about his workout routine and diet plans are unknown.
Bob Dylan Favorite Things
- Poet – Dylan Thomas
- Movie – Shoot the Piano Player (1960)
- Old School Rapper – Public Enemy
- Literary Inspirations – Moby Dick by Herman Melville, All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque, and The Odyssey by Homer
Bob Dylan Facts
- While studying at the University of Minnesota, he used to perform at the Ten O’Clock Scholar, which was a coffeehouse located a few blocks from the campus.
- In his early days in New York City, he used to perform at the clubs around Greenwich Village area.
- He got his first breakthrough in 1961 when music critic Robert Shelton wrote a positive review of his performance in the New York Times. This review was instrumental in helping him bag a record deal with Columbia Records.
- As he was just 20 years old when he was signed up by Columbia Records, he had to get his parents’ signature on the contract as he was legally considered a minor. He found a way out of it by claiming that he was an orphan.
- In July 1966, he got hurt after having crashed his motorcycle near his house in Woodstock, New York City. He retired from the public life for two years to recover from his injuries and to deal with his stardom. He wouldn’t perform in a concert till 1974.
- His debut studio album Bob Dylan wasn’t a success in the United States and in the first year sold only 5,000 records. Within his record label, he was known as John Hammond’s folly. Hammond had signed him up with the company.
- Dylan’s uncles and great-grandfather were owners of the biggest movie theaters in Hibbing, due to which he could watch movies for free.
- When he was in the tenth grade, Dylan and his music band were rejected from a high school talent competition because the student council felt their performance was shocking and too loud.
- In June 1970, he was awarded an honorary degree by the Princeton University. In 2004, he was honored with an honorary doctorate in music from the University of St. Andrews.
- It has been reported that the first draft of his single Like a Rolling Stone was six pages long. The song peaked at the #2 spot on the music charts.
- As a part of his conversion to Christianity, he took a three-month-long course at the Vineyard School of Discipleship in 1978.
- After dropping out of university, he hitchhiked from Minnesota to New York City and took odd jobs along the way to pay for his passage. He also stopped at a courthouse to legally change his name to Robert Dylan.
- He started taking piano lessons at the age of ten. When he was in his teens, his father gifted him his first electric guitar.
- One of his most notorious stalkers, A.J. Weberman, accused Dylan of abandoning his political causes. He formed the Dylan Liberation Front and started staging protests in front of Dylan’s house, and even accused him of heroin abuse.
- One day Dylan lost his patience with Weberman after he pushed his wife Sara and broke into his house. Dylan went on to beat Weberman, who was bigger in size, in a fist fight.
- In 1997, he was hospitalized with a life-threatening heart condition known as pericarditis, which is caused by histoplasmosis. He had to cancel his European tour and even felt that he was going to die. Fortunately, he made a speedy recovery.
- In 2004, the Rolling Stones magazine placed his song Like A Rolling Stone on the first spot in the list featuring 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Blowin in the Wind was at #14 spot and overall, he had 12 songs on the list.
- He was a huge fan of the pop legend Elvis Presley and apparently was so upset with Elvis’ death that he didn’t speak to anybody for about a week.
- In February 2010, US President Barack Obama honored him with an American National Medal of the Arts for his services to arts. Previously, US President Bill Clinton had awarded him a Kennedy Center Honor.
- He is known to be quite rebellious in his teens and had run away from his house seven times between the ages of 10 and 18.
- When he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016, he became the second individual after British writer George Bernard Shaw to win the Academy Award as well as the Nobel Prize.
- Visit his official website @ bobdylan.com.
- Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Myspace.
Featured Image by Alberto Cabello / Flickr / CC BY 2.0