© 2020 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Happy 80th Birthday Robert Allen Zimmerman AKA Bob Dylan

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN'")

BOB DYLAN: (Singing) Come gather round people, wherever you roam.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

OK, this very day, May 24, is the 80th birthday of Bob Dylan.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN'")

DYLAN: (Singing) And accept it that soon you'll be drenched to the bone. If your time to you is worth savin'...

INSKEEP: His home state of Minnesota is paying tribute. Jon Bream is music critic for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

JON BREAM: There's all kinds of celebrations at the legendary First Avenue Club. There's a series of local musicians that are covering his songs. There will be a backup band that includes some of the Minneapolis musicians that played with him on "Blood On The Tracks."

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

That's one of Dylan's more famous albums where he sang that he was tangled up in blue. Dylan was born in Duluth in 1941 and lived in other cities before briefly attending the University of Minnesota.

BREAM: A lot of Minnesota shows up in Bob Dylan's songwriting - "Girl From The North Country," obviously. In "Tangled Up In Blue," he mentions someone from the great Northwoods.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TANGLED UP IN BLUE")

DYLAN: (Singing) I had a job in the great Northwoods working as a cook for a spell. But I never did like it all that much, and one day, the ax just fell.

BREAM: Highway 61 runs through Minnesota. And 4th Street - he lived on 4th Street in Dinkytown when he was a student at University of Minnesota and first started performing as Bob Dylan.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "POSITIVELY 4TH STREET")

DYLAN: (Singing) You got a lot of nerve to say you are my friend.

JEREMY MESSERSMITH: Being a singer-songwriter living in Minnesota at the same time as Bob Dylan is kind of like being a playwright in England during the time of Shakespeare.

INSKEEP: Jeremy Messersmith is a Minnesota singer-songwriter.

MESSERSMITH: He's as much of a mystery now as he ever was, including here, even in his home state.

MARTIN: Dylan is known for being reclusive, and Bream says he's best understood through his lyrics.

BREAM: Bob Dylan speaks the truth from a different angle. He's always had kind of a side-eye view of the world, and there's a timelessness to his music.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MR. TAMBOURINE MAN")

DYLAN: (Singing) Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free, silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands with all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves. Let me forget about today until tomorrow. Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me. I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.