American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan wins Nobel Prize in literature

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(Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for VH1)

The Swedish Academy announced Thursday morning that American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan has won the Nobel Prize in Literature for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”

Dylan, 75, was born on May 24, 1941, in Duluth, Minnesota. Known to be one of the most influential musicians in history, Dylan has sold more than 100 million records, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time.

Dylan’s greatest hits range from “It Ain’t Me Babe,” “Mr. Tambourine Man,” and “Like a Rolling Stone” to “Just Like a Women” and “I Want You.”

“He is a great poet and a great poet in the English-speaking tradition,” said Sara Danius, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy. “he is a wonderful sampler, a very original sampler. He embodies the tradition and for 54 years now, he’s been at it.”

Here’s a look at the life of singer-songwriter and Grammy Award winner Bob Dylan:

  • Personal: Birth date: May 24, 1941
  • Birthplace: Duluth, Minnesota
  • Birth name: Robert Allen Zimmerman
  • Father: Abraham Zimmerman, a furniture and appliance salesman
  • Mother: Beatty (Stone) Zimmerman, a former model, and housewife
  • Marriages: Carol Dennis (1986-1992, divorced); Sara Lowndes (1965-1977, divorced)
  • Children: with Carol Dennis: Desiree; with Sara Lowndes: Jesse, Jakob, Samuel, and Anna
  • Education: Attended University of Minnesota, 1959-1960
  • Other Facts: Winner of 10 Grammy Awards (including Album of the Year), one Golden Globe and one Academy Award.
  • Early musical influences included Hank Williams, Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf.
  • Known in his early career for playing the guitar and the harmonica and for his distinctive vocal phrasing.
  • Many cities worldwide celebrate Dylan’s birthday with Dylanfest or the Bob Dylan Birthday Bash.
  • Timeline: 1960-1961 – Drops out of college and goes to New York, hoping to meet his idol, Woody Guthrie, and begins performing in the folk scene in Greenwich Village.
  • 1962 – His first album, “Bob Dylan,” debuts. It consists mostly of old folk songs redone by Dylan.
  • 1963 – His second album, called “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan,” is released, containing original songs he had written, such as “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall” and “Blowin’ in the Wind.”
  • 1965 – Album “Bringing It All Back Home” is released, containing the songs “Subterranean Homesick Blues” and “Maggie’s Farm.” Later that year, Dylan is booed at the Newport Folk Festival when he performs with an electric guitar.
  • 1965 – Album “Highway 61 Revisited” is released. It contains “Like a Rolling Stone” which goes to No. 2 on U.S. charts.
  • July 29, 1966 – Suffers a broken neck in a motorcycle accident.
  • December 1967 – Album “John Wesley Harding” is released, containing the song “All Along the Watchtower.”
  • 1971 – His book “Tarantula” is published.
  • March 3, 1973 – Wins the Grammy Award for Album of the Year for “The Concert For Bangladesh.” The award is shared with Billy Preston, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Klaus Voormann, Leon Russell, Ravi Shankar and Ringo Starr.
  • 1973 – Dylan signs with Asylum after his contract with Columbia expires and releases two new albums, “Planet Waves” and “Before the Flood.”
  • 1973 – Appears in the movie, “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.”
  • 1975 – Re-signs with Columbia and released “Blood on the Tracks.”
  • 1978 – Directs and stars in the film “Renaldo and Clara.”
  • 1979 – Studies Christianity at the Vineyard Christian Fellowship school in California.
  • 1979-1981 – The next three album releases, “Slow Train Coming,” “Saved” and “Shot of Love,” reflect his new Christian beliefs.
  • February 27, 1980 – Wins a Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance for “Gotta Serve Somebody.”
  • 1980s – Tours with Tom Petty and the Grateful Dead.
  • 1988 – Is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Traveling Wilburys album “Volume 1” is released with Dylan, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne and George Harrison.
  • February 21, 1990 – Wins a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal – The Traveling Wilburys, for “Traveling Wilburys Volume One.”
  • May 1997 – Is hospitalized for a fungal infection called histoplasmosis.
  • 1997 – Performs for Pope John Paul II in Bologna, Italy.
  • December 1997 – Receives the Kennedy Center honors which recognize a lifetime achievement in the performing arts, the first rock musician to do so.
  • February 28, 1998 – Wins three Grammy Awards: Best Contemporary Folk Album for “Time Out of Mind,” Best Male Rock Vocal Performance for “Cold Irons Bound” and Album of the Year for “Time Out of Mind.”
  • 2001 – Wins a Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Original Song, for “Things Have Changed” from “Wonder Boys” (2000).
  • 2003 – Writes and stars in the film “Masked and Anonymous.”
  • October 2004 – “Chronicles: Volume One,” Dylan’s autobiography, is released.
  • April 28, 2006 – Kicks off the first Jazz Fest in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
  • May 3, 2006 – Dylan begins a weekly radio show on XM satellite radio, called the “Theme Time Radio Hour.”
  • February 11, 2007 – Wins two Grammy Awards: Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance for “Someday Baby” and Contemporary Folk/Americana Album for “Modern Times.”
  • April 7, 2008 – Wins a Pulitzer Prize special citation for “his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power.”
  • February 9, 2010 – Performs “The Times, They are a Changing” at the White House in honor of Black History month, as part of the President’s Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement.
  • January 2011 – Signs a six-book deal with Simon & Schuster.
  • April 2011 – Performs for the first time in Vietnam and mainland China.
  • May 29, 2012 – Receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama during a ceremony in the White House East Room.
  • September 11, 2012 – His 35th studio album, “Tempest,” is released.
  • December 3, 2013 – The Paris prosecutor’s office says Dylan is being investigated on suspicion of inciting hatred. He allegedly compared the conflict between Croatians and Serbs to the Nazis’ persecution of Jews in an interview he did last year for the French edition of Rolling Stone.
  • February 3, 2015 – His 36th studio album, “Shadows in the Night,” is released. Dylan gives away 50,000 copies to seniors who subscribe to AARP’s magazine.
  • May 20, 2016 – Releases his 37th studio album, Fallen Angels.

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