Reinvention is the theme of Robert Allen Zimmerman's life. Naming himself Bob Dylan, he continually recreated his public image. Because Dylan often told reporters mistruths, many biographical sources are inaccurate. A sidebar, featuring the story of Dylan's first guitar, reveals the complications involved in writing Dylan biographies. Dylan considered his Hibbing, Minnesota, childhood too tame for the provocative persona he wanted fans to embrace. Enrolling at the University of Minnesota, Dylan soon ditched classes to play folksongs in coffeehouses near campus. Dylan traveled to New York City to meet folk musician Woody Guthrie. Playing at Greenwich Village clubs, Dylan incorporated new insights in his songwriting. He gained acclaim when he wrote and performed protest songs that voiced social concerns many people had in the sixties. Throughout his career, Dylan revised lyrics to reflect his changing outlook. Rock, country, and emerging musical fads influenced him. Audiences had mixed reactions to much of Dylan's experimental work, especially his religious songs. Sidebars provide contextual information and supplementary Dylan details. Illustrations portray Dylan from teenager to current musician and depict album covers, performance sites, and friends. A section recommends albums to listen to for an overview of Dylan's styles and inspirations. Students researching topics related to Dylan, his peers, and the 1960's will find the bibliography, discography, and recommended websites and films useful. This book is part of the "Lerner Biographies" series. 2005, Lerner, Ages 12 up.
Elizabeth D. Schafer