Robert Allen Zimmerman, or Bob Dylan, was born to become a star. As a child he had dreamed of becoming a musical icon which he tried to achieve during his younger years. As part of his ambition to become a famous musician and icon, at age ten, Bob Dylan started to write poems and even taught himself to play the guitar and piano (Millar n. p). His musical style was primarily influenced by Elvis Presley, Little Richard, and Jerry Lee Lewis which became apparent in the progression of his career.
The drive and passion of Bob Dylan in pursuing his musical career escalated when he went to the University of Minnesota where he began to consider the folk and rock songs of artists such as Hank Williams, Woody Guthrie and Robert Johnson (Millar n. p). During his college years, he had a hard time attending schools because of his preoccupation in music. He finally dropped out of college to pursue his dreams. When Bob finally had his break in 1961, he first played folk songs instead of his own desired genre.
His first album was not how he expected it to be because he really wanted to do his own songs. However, Bob Dylan turned his situation around in the next albums that he made. His succeeding songs were basically inspired by the profound “political activism” of the young people during the 1960s (Lemieux 1). The people were very empowered to make a stand and respond to the pressing problems of the society like gender, class, and race. This escalating emotion ultimately paved the way for mass protests and movements for social change.
These situations during the 60s also influenced the music of Bob Dylan which is distinctively political in nature. Although Bob would assert that he is more of a social commentator, the people listening to his music are actually receiving a different vibe or perspective (Lemieux 1). Bob Dylan’s Music One of Bob Dylan’s most famous songs, “Blowin’ in the Wind,” became an anthem in America’s 1960 counterculture. He wrote it during the Vietnam War era as a response to the eventualities and casualties of that period in American history (Mason n.
p). The song greatly depicts Bob Dylan’s observation of the political and social status of the society and how the people tends to shrug-off the escalating problem in the Vietnam crisis which eventually worsened. This is perceived in the second stanza of the song stating: Yes, ‘n’ how many ears must one man have Before he can hear people cry? Yes, ‘n’ how many deaths will it take till he knows That too many people have died? The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind, The answer is blowin’ in the wind. (Dylan n. p)
Aside from the song “Blowin’ in the Wind,” Bob Dylan also created another politically inclined song entitled “The Times They Are A-Changin” (Mason n. p). The song, which was actually written after John F. Kennedy was assassinated also became significant as it expresses the confidence and the hope perceived in the political and social movements during the 60s. As observed in the song, the singer is inviting the people from different walks of life to come together and pursue the future with a glimmer of hope and unity.
Moreover, in the latter part of the song, Bob Dylan gave a great amount of effort in creating a beautiful lyrical stanza which encourages the people never to give up and continue looking for the silver lining in their current social instability. Bob Dylan is indeed a great singer during his time. His passion for music and empowering lyrics really enabled the people to make a difference and stand firm for what they believe is right. It is also because of the socio-political awareness imparted by Bob Dylan’s songs that he was seen by the society as a great protest singer and an inspirational person as well.
Works Cited Dylan, Bob. “Blowin’ in the Wind. ” 1962. 16 May 2008 <http://bobdylan. com/songs/blowin. html>. Lemieux, Nicole. Bob Dylan and the Sixties: A Social Commentary Reflecting Politics and Existentialism. Diss. Pace University, 2006. Mason, Catharine. “Bob Dylan: A Biography. ” March 2005. Bob Dylan’s Performance Artistry. 16 May 2008 <http://www. unicaen. fr/musa/bob_dylan/bio. htm>. Millar, BJ. “The Life of Bob Dylan. ” n. d. 16 May 2008 <http://www. angelfire. com/on/dylan/bio. html>.