Seeing Bob Dylan live is an epic two-hour audible journey. Whether you’re a huge Dylan fan or just curious to know what the big deal is, you’d never forget attending one (or more) of his concerts.
Keep reading to learn more about Bob Dylan. Find out how he got started, who his children are, his best-known songs, upcoming concerts, and more.
Let’s jump in!
The Story of Bob Dylan
Where do you even start when talking about Bob Dylan? The man has a 60-year career, won the Nobel Prize in literature in 2016, and has published eight books of drawings and paintings. Before we start talking about his music, maybe we should just start at the very beginning.
Bob Dylan wasn’t always Bob Dylan. He started as Robert Allen Zimmerman, a kid from Minnesota born on May 24, 1941. In 1955, at age 14, he got his first guitar. Dylan started playing in bands in high school and then in Dinkytown coffeehouses. He began calling himself Bob Dylan in 1959.
Dylan’s first album came out on March 19, 1962, and he hasn’t stopped releasing albums since. On June 19, 2020, he released his 39th album, Rough and Rowdy Ways.
He has been embraced and rejected throughout his career, especially when he transitioned from folk to rock. In 1965 he headlined the Newport Folk Festival. It was his first electric set since high school, and concertgoers met him with cheering and booing. He left the stage after three songs.
We could write volumes and volumes about Dylan. Since 1962, he has been nominated 49 times, won 15 awards, and been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Who Is Bob Dylan’s Son?
Bob Dylan has four children born between 1966 and 1969, Jesse Byron, Anna Lea, Samuel Issac, and Jakob Luke.
You may or may not know it, but Jakob Luke started the Wallflowers band back in 1989. The Wallflowers has released seven studio albums, three compilation albums, 15 singles, and ten soundtrack albums.
Some of the Wallflowers’ most popular songs include “One Headlight,” “6th Avenue Heartache”, “Sleepwalker,” and “The Dive Bar in My Heart.” The song “One headlight” even won two grammy awards.
What Happened to Bob Dylan’s Voice?
Whether you’ve heard Bob Dylan live or in a studio recording, you know that he has always had a unique and unpolished voice. Over the years, though, his voice has changed. It has become coarse and rough, unable to access a high pitch range.
So what brought about the change in his voice? There are probably quite a few reasons for the change, but his vocal cords are clearly damaged. The damage could be from years of smoking and overuse.
Also, when singers are on tour, they have many late nights, suffer from sleep deprivation and vocal strain. Dylan’s rigorous tours, adding up to around 3,000 concerts since the 60s, have certainly affected his voice.
In addition to the toll multiple concerts and tours have had on his vocal cords, Dylan is getting older. As we age, our voices change due to a loss of collagen and other factors that keep our vocal cords tight and healthy.
Bob Dylan’s Best Known Songs
With more than 500 songs under his belt, Bob Dylan is a prolific singer and songwriter. Narrowing down his best-known songs can be a daunting task. Here are our picks.
All Along the Watchtower
Originally written and recorded by Dylan in 1967, ‘All Along the Watchtower’ ranks as one of his best-known songs. Dylan has played it around 2,300 times. The song first appeared in his 1967 album John Wesley Harding, but he released different versions on four other live albums over the years.
He performed the song live for the very first time in 1974. Although it’s Dylan’s song, Jimi Hendrix took the piece to the next level.
Like a Rolling Stone
Bob Dylan released ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ in July 1965, and it quickly reached #2 on US Billboard Charts. The song was revolutionary and completed Dylan’s journey from Folk Singer to Rockstar.
Not only was the song a big hit for Dylan, but Jimi Hendrix, Rolling Stones, and Green Day also covered it.
The song is a staple in Dylan’s concerts, but it almost didn’t get released at all. Columbia Records did not want to release it due to its length and electric sound.
Blowin’ in the Wind
In 1962, Dylan wrote the anthem of the Civil Rights Movement, ‘Blowin’ in the Wind.’ The song was initially released as a single and later included in the 1963 album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ is a protest song about peace, war, and freedom.
Peter, Paul, and Mary released a cover of the song in 1963, reaching #2 on Billboard charts and #1 on adult contemporary charts.
Is Bob Dylan Touring Now (and Is It Worth It)?
Bob Dylan has been on tour nearly non-stop since his first world tour in 1964. He went on hiatus for eight years after a motorcycle accident in 1966 but was back on the road by 1974. He’s been traveling so much so that he even started the Never Ending Tour on June 7, 1988. After 31 years, the Never Ending Tour unexpectedly ended in 2020.
In September 2021, Dylan announced The Rough and Rowdy Ways World Wide Tour. The tour kicked off on November 2, 2021, and producers expect it to run through 2024.
If you’re interested in attending, you might want to sign up for concert updates on his website.
Is It Worth Seeing Bob Dylan Live?
Seeing Bob Dylan live is definitely worth it.
Not only do you have a chance to enjoy a unique concert experience with a legendary songwriter and star, but you’ll certainly have an incredible story to tell.
How many times have you seen Bob Dylan live?