Happy Birthday, Bob!

It’s Bob Dylan’s birthday today, May 24th.

Biography.com documents Bob Dylan as signing his first recording contract in 1961. He is known as one of the most influential songwriters to document both social and cultural issues.

Born Robert Allen Zimmerman in 1941, young Bob was heavily influenced by Elvis, Jerry Lewis and Little Richard. While attending the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, he was beginning to take interest in folk singing and playing both folk and country songs at local cafes.

In 1960, Bob dropped out of college and moved to New York. While in New York he frequently visited his idol, Woodly Gutherie, while Woody was in the hospital. Bob became a regular of folk clubs and coffeehouses. In 1961 after an impressive review from the New York Times, Dylan signed a record contract with Columbia Records.

The rest is history, Bob Dylan would become a prolific figure both in songwriting and a serious force in the social and cultural influence of the 60s and beyond.

Here are some of the funny or odd stories about Bob Dylan per vulture.com:

  • Bob Dylan's Dog crapped in Katherine Hepburn's Flowers

    For a short time, Bob Dylan rented a property next to Katherine Hepburn. According to one of his aides, Dylan’s Bullmastiff, Brutus, would defecate in Hepburn’s flowers. Which wouldn’t be the biggest deal, except that a Bullmastiff is a MASSIVE animal. Thus massive craps that upset Hepburn pretty badly.

  • Bob gave the Beatles their first weed

    In 1964 at the Delmonico Hotel, Bob Dylan turned the Beatles onto weed for the first time. Beatles manager, Brian Epstein, talked to Bob and explained to him that they had never had weed. Bob was confused as he was sure they had but he misheard the lines in “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” as “I get high”, instead of “I can’t hide”.

  • He asked Princess Leia for Cologne names

    In Carrie Fisher’s autobiography “Wishful Drinking” she mentioned getting a call from Dylan. He wanted to ask her on what a cologne he wanted to endorse should be called. Some of the unflattering names she jokingly gave included: “Ambivalence, for the scent of confusion” and Empathy — feel like them and smell like this. And even though they were sarcastic, Bob loved them. 

  • Don't punch Bob!

    Bob Dylan was a boxing enthusiast and would often spar for exercise. Comedian Daniel Russel was in Texas in 2008 when he was asked to get in the ring.

    “In comes a diminutive, skinny man. Looks to be a little older than me, has short curly hair. He turns to face me. It’s Bob Dylan.” Russ tells the gym owner, “If you paid me by the shot, I wouldn’t hit this guy ever.” The gym owner says, “Good. Don’t.”

  • Where'd my records go?

    Paul Nelson, music critic, was a good friend of Bob Dylan. Paul and his friends would play records for Bob. At one point Bob stole some records from Paul’s friend. To quote Paul from his biography “The Life of Paul Nelson”,

    “He came along, and he took about twenty or thirty of them.” Though he admitted that Dylan “had impeccable taste. He took the best.”

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