His Visit to India and Other Nuggets for Your Bob Dylan Fact Box

Here are some handy facts about Bob Dylan for conversations post his Nobel Prize win.

2 min read
File photo of Bob Dylan performing in Los Angeles. (Photo: AP)

American singer and songwriter Bob Dylan is now a Nobel Laureate. On Thursday, the Nobel Foundation announced that Dylan has won the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition".

Of course, there’s all the more reason now for the legendary Dylan to come up in conversations, over cigarette breaks, at dinner tables or at parties.

So if you want to be armed with a handy list of facts about Dylan, here you go:

  • He began his career as an acoustic singer-songwriter specialising in protest songs like ‘Blowin' In The Wind'. His first album was the eponymous ‘Bob Dylan’ released in 1962.
  • At the height of the hippie movement in the US, Dylan visited a quaint hillside village in India. The Kasar Devi village in Almora is home to the Crank’s Ridge or ‘Hippie Hill’ which Dylan visited and reportedly loved.
  • He created a controversy at a folk festival in 1965 when he set aside his acoustic guitar and played an electric guitar. He only played three songs. While the crowd booed him for this move, it’s unclear if it was because of the guitar or the short set.
Bob Dylan in London, 1965. (Photo: AP)
Bob Dylan in London, 1965. (Photo: AP)
  • Dylan went off the radar after a July 1966 motorcycle accident. The crash let him escape the mounting pressures of fame and he didn’t tour again for almost eight years.
  • He has generally eschewed praise. He has variously described himself as a trapeze artist, an "ashtray bender", a "rabbit catcher" and a "dog smoother".
  • Dylan is of Jewish heritage – his real name is Robert Zimmerman.
  • He became a Christian in 1979 after a divorce. He released three albums of religious-based music, then mostly stopped making overt references to Christianity in his songs until 2009, with a Christmas album.
  • Here are some of his most famous songs:

(With inputs from Reuters, National Geographic Traveller India,

(This story was first published on 13 October 2016 and has been reposted from The Quint’s archives to mark Bob Dylan’s birthday.)

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