Here are 10 things you didn’t know about the musical legend…
- Elston Gunn
Even casual fans know he was born Robert Allen Zimmerman. What’s less known is that he started out under the stage name of Elston Gunn.
- Harmonica With Harry
Dylan’s first paid professional recording? Playing the harp on a Harry Belafonte track.
- Turning On The Beatles
Bob wasn’t just “Blowin’ In The Wind”, he was blowing the minds of the Beatles, being the first one to turn them on the marijuana.
- With Joni On Johnny
The first-ever episode of TV’s The Johnny Cash Show in 1969 featured Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell. Not that they got on, with Mitchell recently saying: “Bob is not authentic at all. He’s a plagiarist, and his name and voice are fake. Everything about Bob is a deception. We are like night and day, he and I.” Ouch!
- Like A Rolling Stone
The first draft of this 1965 classic was a whopping 10 pages of verse. It was voted the best song of all time by… you guessed it… Rolling Stone magazine.
- Dylan The Dauber
While he’s one of the world’s best-known singer-songwriters, Bob is also a seriously good accomplished painter and sculptor. His 2013 book Revisionist Art comprises playful silkscreened fake covers of popular magazines from the last half century.
- He Wrote Fiction, Too
In 1971, Dylan released an experimental book of prose poetry called Tarantula. Here’s a sample line: “Now’s not the time to get silly, so wear your big boots and jump on the garbage clowns.”
- Born Again Bob
In 1978 Dylan became a born-again Christian, doing a three-month course at the Vineyard School of Discipleship as part of his conversion. He announced his faith to the world when he released his 1979 LP Slow Train Coming, which includes the great track “Gotta Serve Somebody”. It’s thought he’s still a quiet believer.
- Played For The Pope
In fact, in 1997 Bob played for Pope John Paul II, doing a set that included “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”, “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall” and “Blowin’ in the Wind”. The gig happened over the furious objections of Cardinal Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict, who worried Dylan was a false prophet.
- Bob’s Santa Album
Like any self-respecting legend, from Elvis Presley to Frank Sinatra, Bob has recorded an album of Christmas songs. All proceeds went to charities devoted to ending hunger. Frequent collaborator, Aussie Nash Edgerton, brother of Joel, directed the wild music video for “Must Be Santa”.