Bob Dylan is a legend of legends in the music world. He is rock music’s greatest poet. He’s sold millions of records and albums and his live concerts have been unforgettable events since the sixties. In 2008, Bob was awarded a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation. Now, as if his career hadn’t been incredible enough already, he won the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature. Okay, let’s take a look at a few other interesting facts about Mr. Bob Dylan.
1. Robert Allen Zimmerman briefly used the alias “Elston Gunn” before he adopted the first name of Irish poet Dylan Thomas to become “Bob Dylan.”
2. Dylan was so grief-stricken over the death of Elvis Presley that he didn’t speak to anyone for a week.
4. In 1960, Dylan almost got kicked off the bill at a Denver club after Tommy Smothers complained to the manager that the up-and-coming folk singer had a “terrible voice.”
5. A New Jersey homeowner called the cops on Dylan in 2009 because he was wandering around the neighborhood shabbily dressed in the rain. As a result, the officers detained him until they had determined he was not a menace to society.
6. When Dylan heard the call of Jesus in 1978, he spent three months at the Vineyard School of Discipleship before he was converted to born-again Christianity. He eventually turned his back on Christianity. Told Rolling Stone magazine that he did not subscribe to any formal religion in 1997, but in the late 1990s and 2000s he returned to his religion of birth, Judaism, by studying and attending an ultra-orthodox Jewish sect called the Chabad Lubavitcher Chassidim.
7. Always something of a Casanova, he had his first steady girlfriend at age 14 and was seeing as many as five girls at once by the time he reached college.
8. He reputedly introduced the Beatles to marijuana. At the Warwick hotel in New York in August of 1964, Bob and the Fab Four, plus Beatles manager Brian Epstein, imbibed marijuana together. For the Liverpool lads, it was their first time (but not the last).
9. Committing a cardinal musical sin, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger tried to prevent Dylan’s 1997 performance before Pope John Paul II. Ratzinger went on to become Pope Benedict.
10. Dylan attended the University of Minnesota briefly. He flunked out for “refusin’ to see a rabbit die” in a science class and reading Kant instead of a required textbook. He also cut classes to attend local coffeehouses.
11. He took a tour of John Lennon’s childhood home in Liverpool, England, along with a small group of tourists. Dylan was unrecognized by any of the tourists, but a tour guide spotted him and asked if he would like a private tour. Dylan said he preferred to take the tour along with the group.
12. Before Sarah Lowndes married him in November 1965, Dylan’s first wife worked as a Playboy Bunny. The couple divorced in June 1977.
13. Scoring his first professional recording gig, Dylan played harmonica during a session for singer Harry Belafonte.