Bob Dylan is one of the most influential and, at times, controversial figures in the music world of the last five decades. Over the last forty-eight years he has released forty-six albums and written over five hundred songs including ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’, ‘The Times They Are A-Changin’, ‘Like a Rolling Stone’, ‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door’ and ‘Make You Feel My Love’. Selling over 110 million records around the world, his songs have been covered more than three thousand times by artists as diverse as Sonny and Cher, The Byrds, the Rolling Stones, Duke Ellington, Jimi Hendrix, Keith Jarrett, Guns N’ Roses, Stevie Wonder, Rod Stewart, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bob Marley, Pearl Jam and Neil Young.
Bob Dylan’s music has been recognised and honoured with many awards. He received an honorary doctorate of music from Princeton University, New Jersey in 1970 and from St Andrews University, Scotland in 2004. In addition to winning numerous Grammy Awards, his song ‘Things Have Changed’ from the film ‘Wonder Boys’ (2000) won him an Academy Award in 2001 and his 2009 album, ‘Together Through Life’, entered the charts at number one in the UK and America, and charted Top Five in many other countries around the world.
From his performances in Greenwich Village coffee houses, festivals and rallies in the early 1960s, to his stadium concerts of the 1970s and his subsequent worldwide tours, Bob Dylan has built his musical reputation on the strength of his live appearances. He has played no fewer than one hundred shows a year since 1988 and has performed alongside other major artists such as Joan Baez, Tom Petty, George Harrison, the Grateful Dead, Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen.
Although Bob Dylan is best known as a singer and songwriter, he is also a writer, film director, actor, radio broadcaster and artist. His experimental collection of writings, ‘Tarantula’, was published in 1970 and his autobiography ‘Chronicles: Volume One’, released in 2004, became an international bestseller. Bob Dylan has both directed and acted in a number of films, making his first appearance in ‘Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid’ (1973) and more recently in ‘Masked and Anonymous’ (2003). A collection of Bob Dylan’s drawings and sketches, made while on a tour of America, Europe and Asia between 1989 and 1992, were published in ‘Drawn Blank’ in 1994. These drawings were re-worked and first shown at a museum exhibition in Germany in autumn 2007, and at Halcyon Gallery, London in 2008.
In April 2008, Dylan received a Special Citation Pulitzer Prize ‘for his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power’.