Bob Dylan will go down as the greatest songwriter of the 20th century and has tantalised generations of music lovers with his intricate lyrics.
But while his songs may be well-known to millions, here are eight things you (probably) didn’t know about Bob Dylan…
Picture from Pixabay
1) Like a Rolling Stone Had 20 Pages of Lyrics
While hardly a short song at 6 minutes and 10 seconds long, the legendary 1965 track, Like A Rolling Stone, on Highway 61 Revisited album, initially had up to 20 pages of lyrics, before Dylan managed to shorten them down to under seven minutes.
2) Imagine a World Where Bob Dylan was “Elston Gunn”
Of course, The Bard wasn’t born as Bob Dylan, with his birth name given as Robert Allen Zimmerman. However, as he moved into performing he frequently flittered between stage names – briefly using the title of “Elston Gunn”, shortly before settling on Bob Dylan, which he then made officially by legally changing his name to Robert Dylan in 1962.
3) Bob Dylan NEVER Had a Number One Single
Remarkably, despite being one of the greatest songwriters of all-time, Bob Dylan has never had a number one single in the UK or US. The closest he came was with Like A Rolling Stone and the 1966 tune Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 which both peaked at number two on the American Billboard chart. In the UK, meanwhile, his biggest hit was also Like A Rolling Stone which reached number four.
Despite a relative lack of single success though, Dylan has enjoyed six number one studio albums in the UK, as well as five in the States – although it wasn’t until his 13th release, Planet Waves in 1974, that he secured his first American chart-topper.
4) He’s Not Played an Acoustic Song in Concert Since 1992
Despite making his name with a simple guitar and lyrics, Bob Dylan hasn’t performed a single acoustic track in concert since 1992, when he played “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)”. Regarding the song, Dylan said he wrote it with Johnny Cash’s “How High’s the Water, Mama?” reverberating in his head.
5) He Built a Giant Iron Gate for a Casino
Dylan’s talent obviously stretches beyond song writing, with him also producing many works of art. And, you can also add metalworking to his array of talents now, with Dylan producing a giant 26 foot by 15-foot metal sculpture to the entrance of a new casino in 2016.
The Minnesota-born artist has been well-known to divulge in many of life’s pleasures and if he is partial to a wager from time to time, you can be sure it’s at the best casino websites – in particular, this casino promotion would fit even a king of the ilk of Dylan. Who knows, maybe we could still see him perform in front of his monument.
6) Bob Dylan Can Play 18 Instruments
Bob Dylan can play a remarkable 18 musical instruments. The list includes: the Autoharp, Bugle, Conga, Cowbell, Didgeridoo, Drums, Acoustic Guitar, Bass Guitar, Electric Guitar, Harmonica, Harmonium, Electric Keyboard, Mandolin, Piano, Flute, Saxophone, Trumpet, and Whistle. If only he had more hands, he wouldn’t even need the help of a band!
7) Bob Dylan Opened for Martin Luther King
Young musicians often open performances for big, better-known artists, but a 22-year-old Bob Dylan once opened Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech in 1963 in front of more than 200,000 people in Washington. Dylan played two songs in a short set, “When the Ship Comes in” and the apt “Only A Pawn In Their Game”.
8) He Shunned His High School Graduation Party
Under his yearbook picture from school, Dylan (then Zimmerman) wrote his life goal was “to join Little Richard”. However, he had a sour end to his schooling experience, which resulted in him skipping his school graduation party after the school principal cut off his band’s performance of a Little Richard song during a 1956 school talent show.