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Bob Dylan was the most influential songwriter in the popular music of the 1960s He was born Robert Allen Zimmerman on May 24 1941 in Duluth Minnesota His father owned an appliance store and his mothers parents managed a clothing store Dylan loved music from the time of his childhood He later changed his name to Bob Dylan to leave behind his real identity and his past to become the person who dreamed of being a rock n roll star bigger than Elvis Presley and to pay tribute to his favorite poet Dylan Thomas Dylan was a student of music His study of the roots of rock music led him to the blues and American folk music His discovery of the music of Woody Guthrie was a turning point in his career Bob Dylans realization that music could be used for social protest helped him develop as the musical conscience of his generation Dylan left the University of Minnesota after three semesters and then moved to Greenwich Village in New York City Encouraged by Woody Guthrie Dylan began to write and perform his own songs his best early song being Song to Woody a tribute to the great folk artist Dylan often visited Guthrie in the hospital where Woody was dying from Huntingtons disease Bob and Woody had long talks and played songs for each other Dylans performances in the folk clubs of Greenwich Village brought him to the attention of a man by the name of Robert Shelton who was a powerful New York columnist as well as a music critic He interviewed Dylan and wrote a great review in which he ranked Bob Dylan far above the other young folk singers of his time A few weeks later Dylan signed a recording contract with Columbia Records Dylan produced a large number of protest songs between 1962 and 1964 Bob Dylans appearance at Newport in 1963 marked the high point of his career
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