Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman; May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, musician, painter and poet. He has been a major figure in popular music for five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when he was at first an informal chronicler, and later an apparently reluctant figurehead of social unrest. A number of his songs such as "Blowin' in the Wind" and "The Times They Are a-Changin'" became anthems for the civil rights and anti-war movements. His early lyrics incorporated a variety of political, social and philosophical, as well as literary influences. They defied existing pop music conventions and appealed hugely to the then burgeoning counterculture. Dylan has both amplified and personalized musical genres, exploring numerous distinct traditions in American song –from folk, blues and country to gospel, rock and roll and rockabilly, to English, Scottish and Irish folk music, embracing even jazz and swing. He has received numerous awards over the years including Grammy, Golden Globe and Academy Awards; he has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2008 a Bob Dylan Pathway was opened in the singer's honor in his birthplace of Duluth, Minnesota. The Pulitzer Prize jury in 2008 awarded him a special citation for what they called his profound impact on popular music and American culture, "marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power."
Having become synonymous with acoustic folk music and having performed as a professional musician with little instrumentation prior to the incident in question, singer-songwriter Bob Dylan was the subject of much controversy at Newport Folk Festival on Sunday July 25, 1965. During his performance Dylan "went electric", by playing with an electric blues band in concert for the first time. This seeming rejection of what had gone before made Dylan unpopular in parts of the folk community, alienating some fans, and is considered to have deeply affected both folk and rock 'n' roll.
In the American folk music revival taking place at the time, Dylan had emerged as one of the country's leading young folk singers, and was greeted warmly at the 1963 and 1964 Newport festivals. He was the Sunday-night headliner in 1965, and had just released the album Bringing It All Back Home (in March), which was half-electric and half-acoustic. Dylan performed three songs acoustically ("All I Really Want to Do", "If You Gotta Go, Go Now", and "Love Minus Zero/No Limit") at a Newport workshop on Saturday, July 24, before he told organist Al Kooper that he wanted to play with a pickup band the following evening.
As Dylan recovered from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident in July 1966, he summoned the Band and began to record both new compositions and traditional material with them. 
All of the sixteen Dylan compositions are thought to have been recorded in 1967 in the basement of Big Pink, a house shared by three of the members of the Band, while the eight Band songs were recorded at various times and locations between 1967 and 1975; overdubs were also added in 1975 to some of the Dylan songs.
The sleeve notes of the album were written by Greil Marcus; in these notes, Marcus compared Dylan's compositions to what he termed "the most mysterious songs" in American culture, Elvis Presley's "Mystery Train" and Robert Johnson's "Love in Vain". In his subsequent book Invisible Republic (later reissued as The Old, Weird America) Marcus expanded his interpretation of The Basement Tapes songs in order to link them to the world of pre-war traditional music which Harry Smith compiled on his Anthology of American Folk Music.
"Like a Rolling Stone" is a song by American songwriter Bob Dylan. One of his best-known and most influential compositions, the song's origins lie in an extended piece of verse which Dylan had written in June 1965 following his tour of England. Subsequently transforming his sprawling verse into a confrontational song, Dylan recorded "Like a Rolling Stone" a few weeks later, but Columbia Records, unhappy with the single's length and sound, held up its release for a full month. It is considered an extremely influential track in early rock and roll, and acclaimed as one of the greatest compositions ever in that genre.
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- ^ Dylan sang Blowin’ In The Wind at the Washington D.C. concert, January 20, 1986, which marked the inauguration of Martin Luther King Day. Gray, 2006, The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia, pp. 63–64.
- ^ "Dylan 'reveals origin of anthem'". BBC News. 2004-04-11. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
- ^ Browne, David (2001-09-10). "Love and Theft review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2008-09-07.
- ^ "Dylan Way Opens in Duluth". Northlands News Centre. 2008-05-15. Retrieved 2009-01-29.
- ^ Rollingstone.com: "Dylan Goes Electric in 1965"
- ^ Sounes, 2001, Down The Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan, pp. 222–225.
- ^ Heylin, Clinton. Bob Dylan: The Recording Sessions, 1960–1994 (New York: St. Martin's Press 1995), p. 55–56.
- ^ a b Griffin, Sid. Million Dollar Bash: Bob Dylan, the Band, and the Basement Tapes (London: Jawbone 2007) p. 293-303.
- ^ Griffin, Sid. Million Dollar Bash: Bob Dylan, the Band, and the Basement Tapes (London: Jawbone 2007) p. 85, 177, 190-221.
- ^ Heylin, Clinton. Bob Dylan: The Recording Sessions, 1960–1994 (New York: St. Martin's Press 1995), p. 59, 67–68.
- ^ Erlewine, Stephen. "Bob Dylan". Allmusic. Retrieved September 9, 2009.
- ^ a b "Like A Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 9, 2009.
- ^ a b Gerard, James. "Like A Rolling Stone". Allmusic. Retrieved October 24, 2009.
- ^ Considine, Shaun (December 3, 2004). "The Hit We Almost Missed". The New York Times. Retrieved January 13, 2010.