Skip to Content

Bob Dylan Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

(CNN) — Here’s a look at the life of singer-songwriter and Nobel laureate Bob Dylan.


Birth date: May 24, 1941

Birth place: Duluth, Minnesota

Birth name: Robert Allen Zimmerman

Father: Abraham Zimmerman, a furniture and appliance salesman

Mother: Beatty (Stone) Zimmerman, a former model and housewife

Marriages: Carol Dennis (1986-1992, divorced); Sara Lowndes (1965-1977, divorced)

Children: with Carol Dennis: Desiree; with Sara Lowndes: Jesse, Jakob, Samuel, and Anna

Education: Attended University of Minnesota, 1959-1960

Other Facts

Has won 10 Grammy Awards out of 38 nominations. Also received a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Has won an Academy Award out of one nomination.

Early musical influences include Hank Williams, Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf.

Known in his early career for playing the guitar and the harmonica, and for his distinctive vocal phrasing.

Many cities worldwide celebrate Dylan’s birthday with Dylanfest or the Bob Dylan Birthday Bash.


1960-1961 – Drops out of college and goes to New York, hoping to meet his idol, Woody Guthrie, and begins performing in the folk scene in Greenwich Village.

1962 – His first album, “Bob Dylan,” debuts. It consists mostly of old folk songs redone by Dylan. He legally changes his last name to Dylan in August.

1963 – His second album, “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan,” is released. It contains original songs written by Dylan, such as “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall” and “Blowin’ in the Wind.”

1965 – Album “Bringing It All Back Home” is released, containing the songs “Subterranean Homesick Blues” and “Maggie’s Farm.” Later that year, Dylan is booed at the Newport Folk Festival when he performs with an electric guitar.

1965 – Album “Highway 61 Revisited” is released. It contains “Like a Rolling Stone” which goes to No. 2 on US charts.

July 29, 1966 – Suffers a broken neck in a motorcycle accident.

December 1967 – Album “John Wesley Harding” is released, containing the song “All Along the Watchtower.”

1971 – His book “Tarantula” is published.

March 3, 1973 – Wins the Grammy Award for Album of the Year for “The Concert For Bangladesh.” The award is shared with Billy Preston, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Klaus Voormann, Leon Russell, Ravi Shankar and Ringo Starr.

1973 – Dylan signs with Asylum after his contract with Columbia expires and releases two new albums, “Planet Waves” and “Before the Flood.”

1973Appears in the movie, “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.”

1975 Re-signs with Columbia and releases “Blood on the Tracks.”

1978Directs and stars in the film “Renaldo and Clara.”

1979 – Studies Christianity at the Vineyard Christian Fellowship school in California.

1979-1981 – The next three album releases, “Slow Train Coming,” “Saved” and “Shot of Love,” reflect his new Christian beliefs.

February 27, 1980Wins a Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance for “Gotta Serve Somebody.”

1980sTours with Tom Petty and the Grateful Dead.

1988 – Is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Traveling Wilburys album “Volume 1” is released with Dylan, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne and George Harrison.

February 21, 1990 – Wins a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal – The Traveling Wilburys, for “Traveling Wilburys Volume 1.”

May 1997 – Is hospitalized for a fungal infection called histoplasmosis.

1997Performs for Pope John Paul II in Bologna, Italy.

December 1997 Becomes the first rock musician to receive the Kennedy Center honors, which recognize a lifetime achievement in the performing arts.

February 28, 1998Wins three Grammy Awards: Best Contemporary Folk Album for “Time Out of Mind,” Best Male Rock Vocal Performance for “Cold Irons Bound” and Album of the Year for “Time Out of Mind.”

March 25, 2001Wins an Academy Award for Best Original Song, for “Things Have Changed” from “Wonder Boys.”

2003Writes and stars in the film “Masked and Anonymous.”

October 2004 “Chronicles: Volume One,” Dylan’s autobiography, is published.

April 28, 2006Kicks off the first Jazz Fest in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

May 3, 2006 Dylan begins a weekly show on XM satellite radio called “Theme Time Radio Hour.”

February 11, 2007Wins two Grammy Awards: Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance for “Someday Baby” and Contemporary Folk/Americana Album for “Modern Times.”

April 7, 2008Wins a Pulitzer Prize special citation for “his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power.”

February 9, 2010 – Performs “The Times, They Are a Changin” at the White House in honor of Black History month, as part of a celebration of music from the Civil Rights Movement.

January 2011Signs a six-book deal with Simon & Schuster.

April 2011Performs for the first time in Vietnam and mainland China.

May 29, 2012 Receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.

February 3, 2015 – His 36th studio album, “Shadows in the Night,” is released. Dylan gives away 50,000 copies to seniors who subscribe to AARP’s magazine.

October 13, 2016 – Is awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

April 1, 2017 – Belatedly accepts the Nobel Prize during a private ceremony in Stockholm.

May 2018 – Releases a collection of whiskeys called “Heaven’s Door.”

March 27, 2020 – Releases “Murder Most Foul,” the first single from his upcoming album, “Rough and Rowdy Ways.”

June 19, 2020 – Album “Rough and Rowdy Ways” is released, his first original recorded material in eight years.

November 20, 2020 – Auctioneers announce that a collection of Dylan memorabilia including letters, unpublished lyrics and handwritten lyrics to “Blowin’ in the Wind” have sold for nearly half a million dollars.

December 7, 2020 – It is announced that Dylan has sold his entire catalog of songs to Universal Music Publishing Group.

August 13, 2021 – A woman claims that Dylan sexually abused her when she was a 12-year-old girl in 1965, according to a New York lawsuit. On July 28, 2022, a judge dismisses the lawsuit after the plaintiff voluntarily drops the case.

May 10, 2022 – The Bob Dylan Center, with a permanent exhibit of his life and work, opens in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

November 1, 2022 – Dylan’s book “The Philosphy of Modern Song” is published.

™ & © 2024 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - National

Jump to comments ↓

CNN Newsource


KTVZ NewsChannel 21 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content