Rock legend Bob Dylan became the first songwriter to win the Nobel Prize for Literature and the first American to win the literature prize since Toni Morrison in 1993.
Born Robert Allen Zimmerman in 1941. Dylan grew up in a Jewish middle-class family in Duluth, Minnesota. In the late 1970s converted to born-again Christianity and later said he followed no organized religion.
As a teenager he played in various bands and began his musical career in 1959, playing in coffee houses in Minnesota.
In 1961 Dylan moved to New York and began to perform in clubs and cafés in Greenwich Village. He met the record producer John Hammond with whom he signed a contract for his debut album, called Bob Dylan (1962).
In the following years he recorded a number of albums which have had a tremendous impact on popular music: Bringing It All Back Home and Highway 61 Revisited in 1965, Blonde On Blonde in 1966 and Blood On The Tracks in 1975. His productivity continued in the following decades, resulting in masterpieces like Oh Mercy (1989), Time Out Of Mind (1997) and Modern Times (2006).
Besides his large production of albums, Dylan has published experimental work like Tarantula (1971) and the collection Writings and Drawings (1973). He has written the autobiography Chronicles (2004), which depicts memories from the early years in New York and which provides glimpses of his life at the center of popular culture. Since the late 1980s, Bob Dylan has toured persistently, an undertaking called the “Never-Ending Tour”. Dylan has the status of an icon.
The 75-year-old influence on contemporary music is profound, and he is the object of a steady stream of secondary literature.
Twitter broke into a celebration over Dylan’s win while sill Dylan’s win is creating a pretty deep divide in opinion:
@JDBakewell every politician should listen to Masters of War every morning before they go to work
— Richard Coomber (@SaltaireSam) October 13, 2016
The idea that Dylan is a greater writer (rather than song versifier) than Philip Roth is, frankly, absurd. https://t.co/jLCaBBd3Nf
— Rock’s Backpages (@rocksbackpages) October 13, 2016