"Blowin" in the Wind," "Mr. Tambourine Man" and many more: Dylan"s songs were the soundtrack of rebab.net"s Susanne Spröer"s youth. A take it on the legend"s birthday.

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Then and also now: Bob Dylan is still a legend in ~ 80


My favourite Bob Dylan track is a lullaby. Dylan created it in 1966 for his boy Jesse: "Forever Young" constantly tugs at my own heartstrings. Perhaps because I sincerely wish the same for my 2 sons, nevertheless of what life may bring:"May you always be courageous, stand upright and be strong, may you continue to be forever young."


Like so plenty of of Dylan"s songs, this one has been covered many times through the most diverse of artists, indigenous Bruce Springsteento harry Belafonte,Meat Loaf and also the remarkable Joan Baez. There room versions in plenty of different languages, and also even one in a mix the English and Kölsch, the dialect talked in my embraced hometown of Cologne.

But I acquired to know Bob Dylan"s music long prior to I concerned Cologne. Ns was 13, and Dylan"s songs came to be the soundtrack of mine youth.

"A jingle jangle morning"under my institution desk

The songs lugged the huge wide world to mine doorstep in a village in southwestern Germany where I flourished up in the 1970s. That"s whereby we secretly smoked our an initial cigarettes ~ above the dust paths between vineyards, and strummed "Blowin" in the Wind" ~ above the guitar roughly the campfire at youth camps. And rather than memorizing boring dialogues native textbooks, rather I secretly looked up Dylan"s text while sitting in English class. Ns wasn"t always successful: ns couldn"t, for instance, uncover a "jingle jangle morning" in the school dictionary.

But once I heard "Mr. Tambourine Man," the tune struck a chord in me: the evokedthat morning after ~ a night of partying, as soon as a dreamcatcher wind chime rang softly in the summer breeze on the porch... However now, the ismere reverie.

Those moments, however, weremy an essential to Bob Dylan"s music. Ns understood few of the words at the time, however felt the musicintensely. And also unlike the English messages in schoolbooks, the wasn"t important what Bob Dylan wanted to call me with his songs. What was essential was what they stirred in me.

Growing up in Minnesota

Like me, Bob Dylan flourished up in a countryside area. He to be born Robert Allen Zimmermanon might 24, 1941, in Duluth, Minnesota, into a Jewish middle-class household that moved to the mining city of Hibbing a couple of years later. Robert learned to play the piano and also guitar, and also though was otherwise quite reserved, the teenager established his first rock "n"roll and jazz bands — feeling ideal at home on stage.


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On the road to brand-new York City: 19-year-old Bob Dylan


After high school, that enrolled in ~ the college of Minnesota in Minneapolis to examine art and also music. But rather than sit in top top lectures, he wanted performing song by his new idol Woody Guthrie, accompanying himself through guitar and harmonica.

The legend of the vagabond:Riding a freight train to brand-new York

In Minneapolis, Robert Allen Zimmerman renamed himself Bob Dylan— influenced by the poet Dylan Thomas, together he recounts in his memoir Chronicles, published in 2004.

Minneapolis soon ended up being too small for him, and in January 1961, the 19-year-old left for new York City. By freight train, he declared at the moment — cultivating the photo of a vagabond the fits his song so well. (Only much later did he recognize that he had actually actually traveled there quite comfortably through car).

With his folk repertoire, i beg your pardon was progressively supplemented through his own songs, he play incafes and also clubs in the artists" ar Greenwich Village. There, he additionally met Joan Baez, that was already a star the the individual music world at the time.

From people vagabond to symbol of the protest movement

When Baez take it him with her on tourism in respectable 1963, Dylan had already released two albums. However it was only through the joint performances on phase in front of tens of thousands world that his breakthrough came — it significant the beginning of an unmatched career.


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Icons the protest music: Joan Baez and also Bob Dylan in Washington, DC in 1963


In a an extremely short time, the 20-year-old became an icon of the protest movement. Together Joan Baez and also Martin Luther King, Dylan took part in the march on Washington, where an ext than 200,000 human being demonstrated against the Vietnam War and also racial segregation, and also Martin Luther King yielded his renowned "I have a Dream" speech. The complying with year, Dylan"s 3rd album, The time They room a-Changin, to be released.

"The times They are a-Changin":also in the 1970s

Some 15 year later, the location song likewise became a protest anthem for me and my team of friends. "Come mothers and also fathers throughout the floor / and also don"t slam / what you can"t understand / your sons and also daughters / are beyond your command" spoke ideal to our hearts. We, too, feeling the times had to change.


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Rebellion in action: rebab.net"s Susanne Spröer in her youth


After all, in ~ the finish of the 1970s, the people was in the grip of the Cold War. NATO and also the Warsaw Pact says were irreconcilably protest to one other, and it would take another 10years prior to the autumn of the Berlin Wall.

In addition, in January 1979, the very first smog alarm was sounded in West Germany. In march of the year, us heard on the Tagesschau news program about the serious Three Mile Island nuclear strength plant accident near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA, the worst accident in the background of nuclear power up until that time.

Dylan"s lyrics seemed tailor-made for our youthful protests against nuclear power and pollution, and for our adolescent rebellion against parents and teachers.


"It Ain"t Me, Babe": not a voice the a generation

An icon of the protest movement, the voice the a generation — the was something he had actually actually never ever wanted come be, together he created in his autobiography: "All I"d ever before done was sing songs that were dead straight and expressed powerful new realities," he created in Chronicles, reflecting back over the mid-1960s. "I had very tiny in common with and also knew even less about a generation that ns was supposed to be the voice of."

The year 1965 also marked a musical transforming point: once Dylan play an electric guitar rather of one acoustic one because that the very first time at the Newport people Festival, the folk purists booed in ~ him. However the performance was a historic moment: when people went rock, and also it came to be legend.

Dylan significantly withdrew from the public eye. ~ a motorcycle accident in 1966, the disappeared for months, and he additionally did not appear at the wood storm Festival in 1969.


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Dylan as actor and also film composer: "Pat Garrett and also Billy the Kid"


In the years that followed, Dylan experimented with various styles that music and tried his hand at acting in Pat Garrett and also Billy the Kid. Regardless of being a Jew, at the end of the 1970s, he turned come Christianity and also began composing gospels. Adhering to the collapse of his very first marriage in 1977, he remarried in 1986, ultimately becoming the dad of 6 children.

Though the start of the 1980s to be wrought through crisis, that made a comeback, returning toward the end of the decade through his The Never finishing Tour, which started in June 1988 and continues to this day. The plays around 100 concert a year, and has ongoing to release albums. However, the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020/21 threw a wrench in his tourism plan.

Multiple award-winner, including the Nobel Prize

In the previous decades, Bob Dylan has actually garnered substantial international accolades, includingnumerous Grammys,an Oscar for the film song "Things have Changed"and the prestigiousPulitzer Prize. In 2012, previous US president Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal that Freedom, the highest possible honor in the unified States.


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Former us president Barack Obama bestowed Dylan with the country"s highest honor in 2012


And in 2016, Bob Dylan obtained the Nobel Prize for Literature, the an initial musician ever before to execute so: He had actually "created new poetic develops of expression in ~ the good American track tradition," the jury stated.

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Regarding the Nobel Prize, Dylan reacted in common fashion — no at all, in ~ first. Climate he sent out Patti smith to the award ceremony to perform his song "A hard Rain"s A-Gonna Fall." Eventually, the did pick up the award, in a small, non-public circle. Instead of the usual, required lecture as deemed by the academy, he sent a sound recording, witha nod to musical and literary function models.


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Body and also soul in harmony: Bob Dylan in 2020


"May you continue to be forever young"

In 2020, Dylan released his latest album Rough and also Rowdy Ways (though the will likely not it is in his last). To mark the occasion, he offered a rare interview come The new York Times. Asked how he go it, remaining fit and also balancing mind and also body, the said, "I like to think the the mind as spirit and the body together substance. Exactly how you integrate those two things, I have no idea. I just shot to go on a straight line and stay on it, continue to be on the level."

Is it strange to great someone a "happybirthday" using words from one of their own songs? no ifthe words are pitch perfect. In the spirit: "May your heart always be full of joy, her songs never ever forgotten, and also may you remain forever young." Happy 80th Birthday, Bob Dylan!