Bob Dylan

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Born in 1941, named Robert Zimmerman, in the small, nearly-abandoned mining town of Hibbing, Minnesota. He was a humble child of a humble town in a humble time for the country. In fact, had he not made his fateful sojourn to New York to meet his ailing hero, the legendary Woody Guthrie, he himself might have died the same lonesom, unobtrusive death that so many from his part of the world had died before him.

As far as the history of rock and roll (and indeed American development) is concerned, however, it's a very good thing he made the journey. Making his living playing clubs and coffee houses in these unfamiliar surroundings, strumming his accoustic guitar and blowing on his harmonica, he caused an immediate stir. Some loved his sound. Others couldn't bear it. But one thing was for sure, it was new, it was fresh, and it was about the shape the world that shaped it in the first place.

Besides being one of the (if not the) most major harmonica activists in music history, Dylan also introduced to what was considered by some to be a trite and unremarkable music scene his own special blend of intelligence and philosophy. His protest songs defined his generation and his leap to powerful electric rock and roll made his followers realize just how well-rounded this man was.

In fact, he's proven himself to be well-rounded an amazing number of times throughout his career, and few if any have survived experimenting so severely with their style as Dylan has. His musical incarnations so far have included (but by no means are limited to): traditional folkist, protest singer, rock and roller, country singer, gospel singer, bluesman, and he's dabbled in nearly every other form of music for at least a song or two.

His career has been a long and very glorious one. He's received more acclaim and has already proven more staying power than the idols that inspired him in the first place. His son Jakob enjoys fame and adoration fronting his own band, The Wallflowers. He's won many awards of high respect, and has been nominated numerous times for a Nobel Prize. However, none of these honors are nearly as important as having one of his very own lyrics (the whole "how many roads" bit) accepted by the one and only Benji Mouse as a "good enough" guess for The Question to The Ultimate Answer.

--Philip J Reed, VSc

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