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Bob Dylan

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As a child Dylan was comfortable being the center of attention, often writing creative poetry for his mother and on occasion singing. Dylan had no formal music lessons, but none the less he began to compose. Later at age 14, he took up the guitar and shortly after formed a band, one of many he played the guitar in. Always plunging ahead, performing to his up most potentional, Dylan absorbed his surroundings as a source of inspiration. Even during his early efforts Dylan responded very positivly to mainstream musicians, such as country star Hank Williams. Yet, he responded especially well to early rock stars such as Little Richard, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis. In the summer of 1959, after graduation Dylan began to work at a cafe, where he began to pay increasing attention to folksingers such as Judy Collins and Jesse Fuller. Finding an instant connection with their songs, songs relevant to social issues. Dylan was drawn into both the musical style and the social message of these indivisuals.

In 1959 he left for college, but instead of consentrating on his studies he devoted himself to his music. He sang wherever he could, his performance style, a nasal tone with annunciation problems sometimes drew applause while other times critisism, yet this would later became his trademark sound. It was also around this time when he began performing with a guitar and harmonica. It was during his performing days in Dinkytown that the young Bob Zimmerman first began using Bob Dylan as his stage name. No clear reason can be assertained for the choice of Dylan. Whatever its source, the name gave him a public image distinct from his Jewish heritage, enhancing his already growing career.

Beyond this, an influential figure stepped into the light in his life. Woody Guthrie, a dieing folksinger emerged, consuming Dyaln's attention. After Guthries death in 1967 Dyaln adopted his styles of: a rough, hagard voice with guitar accompaniment in a folk music orientation. By the end of 1960 Bob Zimmerman made his final step into becoming Bob Dylan, the last stage in his early life. He decided to move to New York, to try to make it "big". Despite his early intrest in rock, Dylan's music turned folk. Playing everywhere, he made his name known amoung musicians and audiences alike. Many people were drawn to his messages, others to his unique voice. In 1961, Robert Shelton of the New York Times decided to attend a performance of a young musician at Gerde's Folk City Cafe, curious as to who this man was. After his attendence, Shelton wrote a favorable review in September and by October of the same year Dylan signed a recording contract with Columbia Records



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