The Musician: A Biographical Q&A Of Bob Dylan

1443 words - 6 pages

Q: What influenced Bob Dylan to pursue a life in music?
A: Dylan had come from a musically inclined family. Dylan’s father played the violin with his brothers Jack and Marion who played the violin and piano respectively. In addition, Dylan’s mother played the piano. Dylan became involved with performing since he was four years old. He sang popular radio tunes for the entertainment of his relatives at a party. Soon after that, his family requested that he sing again at his aunt’s wedding. Dylan also wrote poetically when he was around ten years old. He wrote a poem for his mother on mother’s day, a poem for his father on father’s day, and many more poems after that. When Dylan was around eleven years old, his parents acquired a Gulbranson spinet piano in hopes that their two children would become interested. Dylan and his younger brother were tutored by their cousin Harriet Rutstein. Dylan’s younger brother played the piano better than he did. Dylan became frustrated with his cousin’s tutoring, and decided to teach himself the piano. He was also encouraged to pick up another instrument, and he taught himself the guitar as well (Sounes 12-20).
In an interview with Ed Bradley, Dylan said: “I listened to the radio a lot. I hung out in the record stores, and slam-banged around on the guitar, and played the piano, and learned songs from a world that didn’t exist around me.” Dylan’s first great musical influence was Hank Williams. Dylan bought most of Williams’s records. “Bob [spent] hours listening to Gatemouth Page, a disk jockey on a Little Rock, Arkansas, radio station who played Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf and B. B. King and Jimmy Reed.” Dylan’s next prominent influence was Little Richard. Dylan imitated Richard’s style, but most people did not like it. Then, when Dylan was fourteen, he listened to Rock Around the Clock, a plausible origin of rock-and-roll and a large influence in Dylan’s early performances. Other musicians which reached Dylan included Elvis Presley, Bill Haley, and Buddy Holly. (Scaduto 5-11). Dylan’s last prominent influence was Woody Guthrie, whom Dylan visited in the hospital. Guthrie suffered from a degenerative neurological disease, and Dylan would play for him. Woody endorsed Dylan, and told other prominent musicians about him (Biography Documentary Videos).
Q: What was Bob Dylan’s early years like?
A: Before he was Bob Dylan, he was Robert Allen Zimmerman. He was born on May 24, 1941 to Abraham (Abe) and Beatty Zimmerman in Duluth, Minnesota, and lived there until he was six years old (Scaduto 3). Bob and his family moved to Hibbing, Minnesota after his mother gave birth to David, and his father contracted polio. They first lived with Beatty’s mother, Florence Stone, but eventually moved into a two-story house in 1948. There, Bob and his younger brother, David, shared a room. Although, they were not particularly close. Bob’s childhood friend said in an interview: “I don’t recall [Bob] having a very warm, friendly...

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