On Bob Dylan's 70th, We Flip Through His 'Back Pages'

Originally published on May 24, 2011 6:06 pm

Seventy years ago Tuesday in Duluth, Minn., Robert Zimmerman was born. He grew up a little north of there in the town of Hibbing. While still in his teens, he moved to New York City. Under the name Bob Dylan, he's been writing and singing songs ever since.

Dylan's career has no parallel in American history. He's still out there, turning out new songs, while his older work still speaks to us. The occasion of his 70th birthday offers an excellent excuse to wish him well — and to celebrate the music of his past, present and future.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


A birthday today for singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. He's 70. He arrived on the national stage in the early 1960s using music to protest, ramble and rock. He's been a phenomenon, a prophet, a raspy complainer and a constant reinventor of himself. He was born Robert Zimmerman in my home state of Minnesota.


And he arrived as a teenager in my hometown, New York, and he started doing what he's still doing, using his words and music to tell stories. People love him, people hate him, but he's one of a kind, possessed by spirits we can only guess at.

NORRIS: And to paraphrase a line from his song, "She Belongs to Me," Bob Dylan, we salute you as your birthday comes. Happy 70th.


BOB DYLAN: (Singing) ...teach. Fearing not that I'd become my enemy in the instant that I preach. My existence led by confusion boats. Mutiny from stern to bow. Ah, but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now. Yes, my guard stood hard when abstract threats too noble to neglect, deceived me into thinking I had something to protect. Good and bad, I define these terms. Quite clear, no doubt, somehow. Ah, but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.