Bob Dylan First Bands as Teenager

Robert Zimmerman (Bob Dylan) on stage with the Golden Chords

Bob Dylan's Early Bands as a Child

In 1968, Le Roy Hoikkala, a sky, slight electronics technician, told Rober Shelton: “I met Bob downtown one day and we got to talking about music. We were in eighth grade, and I was very much involved in playing drums. Monte Edwardson was guitar player, and the three of us got together, around 1955, in Bob’s garage for some sessions.


Bob Dylan Music as a Child

Herzl camp 1957 Robert Zimmerman aka Bob Dylan, music as a child

Bob Dylan's music making as a child.

Strings of Freedom.

Although Bob Dylan's father Abe, never called himself a great music-lover, music was important to him. He trooped Beatty (Dylan's mother) off to a lodge dance at the drop of an invitation. A Gulbransen spinet piano arrived at much the same time as the television, and was set in the front room for all to admire. Abe couldn’t read a note, but he loved to fake a few chords.


Bob Dylan Bar Mitzvah and Jewish Tradition

Bob Dylan Jewish Background

Words and Music—Traditional

The emotional tethers of Judaism are as long and strong as the umbilicus. First- and second-generation offspring of Jewish immigrants found many powerful reasons for assimilating into the American grain. In the New World, the biblical-cum-medieval Jewish traditions had no apparent appeals and many obvious drawbacks.


Bob Dylan Poetry as a Child

 Bob Dylan poem as child for mother on Mother's Day

The Poet Before the Electric Age

Bob Dylan's poems for his parents (see below).

Bob Dylan's father, Abe Zimmerman, was a short man with an appealing smile that revealed irregular teeth. Behind his strong glasses, his eyes were a soft boyish blue, until they hardened. His wavy black hair was flecked with gray. He dressed in sport shirts, slacks, and sweaters that suggested California more than Minnesota. He frequently sported a fine, thick cigar. Abe’s speech was slow and deliberate, in contrast to Beatty’s (Bob Dylan's mother) torrential flow.


Bob Dylan's Birth

Bob Dylan get born

Bob Dylan was born on May 24th 1941 in St Mary's Hospital, Duluth, Minnesota. 

Although it may not have been widely noted at the time in Duluth, the literary world of 1941 mourned three of its giants. James Joyce died in Switzerland. F Scott Fitzgerald and Sherwood Anderson, two of the writers whom critic Maxwell Geismar later numbered among “the last of the provincials,” also died early in the year.

Meanwhile, Bob Dylan's mother, Beatty had a news bulletin of literary and musical significance. “Abe,” she exclaimed. “Abe, I feel it! I think the baby is coming.”


Bob Dylan Early Years

Bob Dylan early years with guitar case

Where i live now, the only thing that keeps the area going is tradition—it doesn’t count very much—everything around me rots…if it keeps up, soon i will be an old man—& i am only 15—the only job around here is mining—but jesus, who wants to be a miner…i refuse to be part of such a shallow death—everybody talks about the middle ages as if it was actually in the middle ages—i’ll do anything to leave here—my mind is running down the river—i’d sell my soul to the elephant-i’d cheat the sphinx—i’d liei to the conqueror…tho you might not take this the right way, i would even sign a chain

Bob Dylan Introduction

bob dylan with electric guitar

No other figure from the world of American popular music, of this or any other era, has attracted the volume of critical attention, much of it quite original and perceptive, that Bob Dylan has. Just as significantly, no popular culture figure has ever been adopted into the curricula of college and university language and literature departments in the way Dylan has; critics have called James Joyce “God’s gift to English departments,” but Dylan is no less deserving of that designation.


Chronology of Bob Dylan's Life

bob dylan

Chronology of Bob Dylan's Life

1941 Robert Allen Zimmerman, son of Abram and Beatrice (“Beatty”) Stone, born May 24 in Duluth, Minnesota.

1948 Abram relocates the Zimmerman family to Hibbing, Minnesota where Robert Allen spends the rest of his childhood.

1959 After playing in high school rock bands, he moves to Minneapolis and enrolls at the University of Minnesota. Hearing Odetta in a record store, he trades his electric guitar for an acoustic to begin performing folk music.