Robert Alan Zimmerman (1941-), a.k.a. music icon Bob Dylan, was born on this day in in Hibbing, Minnesota. With supreme instinct and genius, the singer-songwriter altered the course of popular music from the minute he started strumming his guitar in Greenwich Village in the 1960s.
"Just because you like my stuff doesn't mean I owe you anything," he once said.
Dylan's gift to Rock and Roll was intellectual credibility. With Dylan, lyrics became passionate tools of self-expression."A poem is a naked person," he said.
A visionary, he inspired others to open up and speak their minds about the things that mattered most to them. To look at pressing social issues. To make the lyrics poetic. To create complex messages.
Dylan has revived, renewed, and celebrated music, staying true to his authentic heart. In the Martin Scorsese film, No Direction Home, Dylan called himself "a musical expeditionary." In 2008, the artist became the first musician to win a Pulitzer Prize for his “profound impact" on music and culture.
"The highest purpose of art is to inspire," Dylan said. "What else can you do? What else can you do for anyone but inspire them?"
John Lennon, Joni Mitchell, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Tom Petty, Kurt Cobain, Alanis Morissette...the list goes on and on. Dylan inspired them all. With his sneering nasal delivery, confident messages, and put downs and complexities, he passionately insists that we sing our own song.
More ROCK & ROLL Quotations