His music has transcended generations, he has found himself elevated to the forefront of America’s civil rights movement and, in between, managed to record an astonishing number of songs and play countless gigs around the world.
The enigma that is Bob Dylan turns 70 this week, with various stars lining up to pay tribute to a man that deserves his place among music’s geniuses.
Dubbed the “voice of a generation”, Dylan shows no signs of slowing down as he enters a new decade – still on what has been dubbed the Never Ending Tour.
“He’s an inspiration, really, to us all, beyond even the songwriting, because he’s always trying to go somewhere new. I love the man,” Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards told the AFP.
U2 frontman Bono added that Dylan was way ahead of his time.
“The tumble of words, images, ire and spleen … shapeshifts easily into music forms ten or 20 years away, like punk, grunge or hip-hop,” he wrote in Rolling Stone magazine.
Originally taking inspiration from the music of folk singer Woody Guthrie, a young Robert Zimmerman changed his name to Bob Dylan and began performing in local nightclubs. A self taught musician, Dylan found himself his harmonica and his acoustic guitar thrust to the front of various movements fighting social injustice, war and racism.
Over the course of his career, Dylan has won 11 Grammy awards, one Golden Globe and even an Oscar in 2001.
But the singer has said he has no plans to retire anytime soon.
“Critics might be uncomfortable with me (working so much). Maybe they can’t figure it out,” he said in an interview with Rolling Stone. “But nobody in my particular audience feels that way about what I do. Anybody with a trade can work as long as they want.
“My music wasn’t made to take me from one place to another so I can retire early.”
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