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Bob Dylan (born 1941), better known by his pseudonyms Dylan Thomas, "Robert" Dylan, and Robert Allan Zimmerman is a highly influential and legendary American singer/songwriter who enjoyed widespread fame and popularity in the 1960s, during which he produced a prolific amount of songs. These songs ranged from simple musical parodies of respected American films to outspoken, riot-inducing protest songs.
He gained his most success from 1965's “Like A Rolling Stone” which hinged on the bitter criticism of an annoying, social-climbing whore fallen on hard times, an allegory of all the establishment suits and trendies one sees in the AMC television series Mad Men. Dylan is also known for his unique singing style, which broke down the convention of needing a
halfway decent beautiful voice to make it in the world of rock. However, his biggest accomplishment has always been his role in introducing The Beatles to marijuana, which would result in their creative awakening and subsequent years of innovative, classic rock music, supposedly without Dylan's help.
edit From Classical Music to Communism, According to Europeans
Born in 1941, and starting at an early age, Dylan was drop-dead serious about the artistry of guitar, piano and harmonica playing and writing lyrics. Dylan reportedly studied classical guitar from renowned flamenco guitar guru Stan Pickett. Dylan's serious devotion to mastering guitar technique was only surpassed by his devotion to lyrics. Dylan claimed that he memorized the complete works of William Shakespeare by the age of 15, including all the smarmy sonnets. Dylan refused to sing lyrics that weren't written in iambic pentameter.
After hearing a jug band in Soho, Dylan decided to abandon his classical training for the higher art of folk music. "I wanted to engage in polemics," Dylan said of his unusual transition. "I wanted to revolutionize society. I was the oracle of the '60s. I realized that through my music I could change the world for the better." Dylan abandoned his crystal clear iambic pentameter for wheezed gibberish. "Oracles are hard to understand, geniuses are even harder." said Dylan.
Sure enough, during the '60s, Dylan became an extremely popular figure among the counterculture, earning the nicknames "the Metallica of folk" and "the Lisa Simpson of grumbling". "I thrived on the publicity," Dylan said. "I personally write thank you notes and send $10 checks to each person who includes my name in a song." The Weathermen, a radical faction of the Students for a Democratic Society, took their name from a Dylan song. "I really supported the Weathermen in their efforts to overthrow the capitalist system. Music isn't about games, money, or fame to me."
At about this time, he decided he wanted to get drunk a lot, but he just didn't have time, so he invented a neat trick to save time, whereby instead of working on musical compositions, he just muttered whatever came into his head while bashing an out-of-tune guitar (Conor Oberst is a master in this field, surpassing even Dylan in recent years, when Bob decided to sing in a more clear, lucid manner after turning 70). Unfortunately, these songs were bad, and nobody wanted to listen to them, but luckily Bob had a second good idea: "If I trick The Beatles into saying I influenced them, everyone will pretend my music's bearable." So he invited The Beatles back to his hotel room, then when he realized they were squares, he got them stoned instead and told them he was Dylan Thomas, while John Lennon said he was The Walrus instead of Paul McCartney. None of the Beatles had heard of Dylan Thomas (by the time Paul Simon was coerced into admitting he was influenced by Dylan Thomas and Bob Dylan, he subsequently quit playing American pop music, and moved to Africa to eventually produce his classic album Graceland). Around this time, a flock of Los Angeles musicians and bands such as The Byrds and The Beach Boys needed help with their music, so Dylan and The Beatles agreed to be their sugar daddies for a few albums.
Bob Dylan's records such as Highway 61 Revisted ceased to make any sense to the listening public, especially to the traitorous British audience, whose imperialistic arrogance of turning Dylan into an Anglo-Saxon folkie purist irritated him into writing nonsensical lyrics, and playing electric guitar with The Band. Luckily, everybody thought his lyrics made no sense and signified nothing; they couldn't make out the words, thanks to his revolutionary singing technique through his nose, which kept him from being banned from culturally intolerant, anti-American countries across the world. The end of each line of lyric seemed to rhyme, so everyone decided he must be a poet, even though he was influenced by Greek poets such as Shakespeare, Jay-Z and Dr. Seuss. Dylan made lots of money from record sales, and used the time he saved not writing songs to write novels and screenplays, which were even worse than every critically-panned record he had ever done with The Beatles, Harry Nilsson, or The Killers.
edit Bob Dylan vs. bears
“I can't bear the sight of them. They remind me of Garrison Keillor.”
Sources tell us that Bob Dylan started hating bears around the late 1950's. Through the many periods of Dylan's career, the only thing that seems to remain constant is his deep-seated hatred of all things that roar. When Dylan first emerged onto the folk scene in the early 1960s, his message was obvious: "The bears, they are a-dyin', if I have anything to do with it!" His opposition stayed quiet until Dylan's electric performance of "Maggie's Farm (of Bears)" at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965. When the bear-loving, electric guitar-hating Communist Pete Seeger heard Dylan say to the audience "This one's for the bears! I hate them bear-studs!" the banjo-strumming folkie picked up an axe to take out Dylan, and any wires that made that horrible electric guitar sound. No bears were injured in the incident.
The next year, an enraged audience member at a show in England called Dylan "Judas." Dylan responded, "I don't believe you...You're a bear." While many fans were outraged that Dylan had abandoned his folk roots, others embraced his new rock material. His new fans hated bears more anyway, and that made Bob happy. He later wrote of his old fans, "You got a lotta nerve/To say you're not a bear/When I was down/You just stood there roaring." Another of Dylan's late '60s masterpieces, "It's Alright, Paw (I'm Only Bleeding)" was purported to be written from the perspective of a wounded bear. Not long after the release of the album Bear On Bear, Bob Dylan was injured in a near-fatal boat accident. "It was awful," his wife remembers tearfully. "He saw a bear in the distance, and tried to make a sharp turn so he could shoot it, and he just lost control." His wife was later found to be a bear herself, and they were divorced.
Another incident that was widely regarded as one of the most important in Dylan's "War Against Bear-Affectionism" (WABA) was the one later named "Bear-icane". It is said that Dylan stumbled in to a bar one late night in the 60s, and in his craze, he thought it was filled with bears. He pulled out his silver bear-killing shotgun, and saved the bar from the ferocious beasts. When he realized the bar was a hunting tavern and he had slain companions of his own bear-slaying tour, he called the police on the bear-loving middleweight boxer, Rubin "Honeycomb" Carter.
Dylan apparently had a brief reconciliation with the bear species when a recent biography revealed that he had in fact been secretly married to a bear for a short time in the late 1980s. The line, "My woman's got a face like a teddy bear/She's swingin' a baseball bat in the air" from a song on his critically reviled 2001 album 'Shovin' Heft', originally thought to be little more than a silly rhyme scheme not to be taken literally, now lends credence to the 'forest bride' allegations while offering a harrowing glimpse into the couple's tumultuous relationship, and Dylan's continued difficulties with all things ursine.
Over 40 years after his first album was released, Dylan remains one of the greatest, most influential artists of all time. But, above anything, it is his hatred of bears that sets him apart. "When The Bear Goes Down" is arguably the best song on his latest album. The closing lines of the album featured a tribute to all Bob Dylan's bear-hating fans, encouraging the extermination of the roaring, godless beasts. "Ain't talking/Just shootin'/My way through this/Weary world of bears".
Dylan's hatred of bears is further explored in the song "Shelter From the Bears": "I seen that a-bear in the forest, when I went for a walk, Couldn't help but notice that the trees were made of cork, Imagine a place where honey is available to share, Come on you gotta give me - shelter from the bears"
Upon recent speculation that he no longer hates bears, Dylan stated, "Of course I still hate them! When I was a child, I could take a walk alone through the woods with my picnic basket full of honey. It's been years since I could do that without being mauled." Bob Dylan promised in 2008 that he will not die until every last bear has been tortured, killed, and put on display.
To this day, Dylan drinks tea mixed with honey gathered by migrant worker bears in California.
edit Relationship with dinosaurs
It is a well known fact that dinosaurs are closely related to chicken-like birds. Bob Dylan clearly says, "The son's not yellow, it's chicken" in his Jurassic Period hit "Tombstones Haven't Been Invented Yet Blues." With this line, Dylan is actually admitting to a scandalous relationship revealing the maternity of his son and the missing link in the evolutionary time line. By cheating on his yellow-scaled triceratops girlfriend(affectionately called "Doreen"), he redirected the evolutionary path of the dinosaurs by intermixing his eagle genes with that of the dinosaurs. This resulted in the chickens we know and love today.
Some suspect that Dylan knows the reason why dinosaurs became extinct. Some suspect that Dylan is the reason dinosaurs became extinct.
When asked about his involvement with the dinosaurs Dylan merely said, "Mmm urogmmmm mmgropmm" and broke into an extremely spirited version of "Death Is Not the End."
edit The Boat Wreck: Dylan and the 70's
Moonlighting as a fisherman to make ends meet due to the poor ticket sales of his directorial debut— the 1966 pornographic film Blonde On Blonde—Dylan was off the coast of Florida catching marlon, when he hooked a fifteen foot swordfish. For three days, he fought the swordfish. The great fish pulled his boat to Iceland, where he exchanged a meaningful glance with Bjork. He was then pulled back to the coast of Florida. On the third day, he fell asleep and the fish pulled him overboard to an enchanted undersea world. He was nursed to health by generous mer-men and it was there that he met a band called The Group aka The Band.
Dylan and The Group recorded hundreds of songs in the undersea kingdom (before being banished after abusing several small off switches) most of which are difficult to find today, despite Google and the interweb.
In the late 60's and early 70's Dylan began the long project of alienating all of his fans. Despite his best efforts, his live shows managed to attract thousands of Japanese businessmen. After rudeness and insulting his fans had failed to drive them away he ordered his most fanatical fans to attach bombs to themselves and blow up other fans at his concerts. He protected himself from splatter and debris by hiding behind abnormally fat men. When this failed to drive them away he played an electric guitar live.
Fed up with fame, Dylan moved to Texas under an alias for a few years and was once photographed with famed cocaine cowboy and film director Sam Peckinpah. Not much is known about Dylan's life during this period, and Dylan has only said that he "ate a lotta beans" and returned to music because he "got bored with waiting for the daylight to catch up with the dawn."
edit A Slow Train Wreck: Dylan and the 80's
Sometime in the late 70s, Bob Dylan and some of his buddies were smoking a bong when Tom Petty dared Dylan to inhale an entire canister of helium which ruined his voice for a long time. Nobody listened to the scores of records Dylan put out in the 1980s more than a single time, because they couldn't understand a word he was saying. As best as Dylan scholars have been able to make out, most of them were country-soul-gospel and some even had a dance-beat with female background singers. It is also said that he found Jesus and when that wasn't helping his record sales, he started running with the Grateful Dead and circus act Van Halen.
He finally joined The Traveling Wilburys with his haggard friend and USSR head of state George Harrison, and also Chuck Berry, Carlos Santana, Charles Darwin, and Frank Sinatra. It was during this time that Harrison taught Dylan the art of bull riding, which he had learned during his stay in India in the late 1960s.
Around this time, it was reported that as a result of many years of tending to his flock of ducks, and being on tour for years at a time, Bob Dylan suffered a near-fatal heart attack. "I'm lucky to be alive after that one man, I was nearly playing guitar with Elvis ya know," he informed The New York Times.
edit The 90's and beyond
In the last years of his life, Bob created conspiracy theories about the government and aliens, but as he was too afraid that he might be found out he recorded these conspiracies in a strange code language he called "poetry" after watching hours of Alex Jones. To this day, historians still have been unable to interpret this bizarre language.
In 1991, the canister of helium that Dylan inhaled over a decade prior expanded further inside his stomach, causing Dylan to experiment with new vocal styles in his live performance dance onstage. The results of this can be heard on the live album Name That Animal Mating Call (Live in Stuttgart).
One day in the late 90s, all of the helium from years earlier finally dissipated from his lungs. Unfortunately for Dylan, it was at this exact moment that an explosive frog containing razor blades jumped down his throat. The frog exploded, shredding his vocal chords. Soon after, he was awarded the Guinness World Record for "Longest Chain-Smoking Spree" as he had been smoking at least one cigarette at any given moment for the last 50 years.
In recent years Dylan entered his so-called "old man phase." Although his music sounded largely the same, fans could tell it was his "old man phase" because he wore the same Texan outfit everyday, and attempted to seduce Alicia Keys (whom he had mistaken for Mama Cass). Not to mention that he, in fact, began to sound like an old man (his life-long ambition).
One of the greatest tragedies of Dylan's recent career was the cancellation of a show he was scheduled to play in Phoenix, Arizona on August 11, 2009. The show was cancelled a couple days before the show, because he thought it would be too hot for him to perform. It ended up being cloudy and 85 degrees that day in Phoenix, causing the state of Arizona to start a state-wide boycott of Dylan's music.
In 2009, Dylan released his strangest album yet, a Christmas album named "Christmas in My Wallet." When asked about the intentions of this album, Dylan shrugged saying "I wanted to show the world how much Gene Krupa meant to me." He then went outside in the backyard to whack a dead bear with his trusty crowbar.
edit Personal life
- It is rumored that Jerry Garcia spiked Dylan's harmonica with NASA-grade ketamine, although Garcia strongly denied the allegation. In an interview from 1978 he stated "I've never met Bob Dylan, and I don't know what a harmonica is."
- Bob Dylan is not a vegetarian, but supports vegetables
- A lover of animals, Dylan recently paid for an elephant to go windsurfing, for his next album cover
- In 1990, Dylan allegedly crashed Willie Nelson's tour bus into a California television studio, injuring a weatherman. Dylan and Nelson had been drunk and stoned out of their minds, and Dylan accidentally turned the wheel when he leaned over to snort some coke. When asked to comment, Nelson said, "Well, I guess you don't need a weatherman to know which way my bus goes." The weatherman sustained permanent injuries from the accident, both physical and mental. He has since written thousands of books on the evils of Bob Dylan, and has been known to violently stalk Dylan in revenge.
- Dylan went into a state of depression, and refused to speak to the media, after hearing Rebecca Black destroy his song "Friday" and seeing all the comments criticizing it on YouTube. He then filed legal action, and demanded the video be removed off of YouTube, but it was too late as the song and its singer had already been slammed by the American public.
edit See also
- Protocols of the Elders of Zimmerman
- Friday, Dylan's freedom movement anthem (covered in 2011 by Rebecca Black)