Top Best Moments in Bob Dylan's Early Career

Bob Dylan is one of the most influential singer/songwriters ever, whether you're looking at Folk, Pop, or Rock. His career has enjoyed several twists and turns that have kept fans (and often Bob himself) on their toes. If you don't have the patience for Scorsese's very long Documentary on Dylan, have no fear. I'll sum it up for you by ticking off the ten biggest moments at the start of his career.
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Bob Goes to College

For Bob Dylan, going to college was more about heading to a larger city and becoming inundated with the Minneapolis music scene. He made some important strides in Minneapolis, but continued to remain mediocre as a performer. Still, it was the first time he really set out on his own once and for all to be a musician. It was also the time when he dropped his last name (Zimmerman) to go by the name of Bob Dylan. Of course, he quickly dropped out of school.
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Bob Dylan Moves to New York

Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan in New York City, 1962. John Cohen/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Bob headed to New York because he wanted to find Woody Guthrie. He'd never been there, and probably didn't even realize he would find himself in a town where everyone was doing what he was. His move to New York challenged him to be a better performer, and as the story goes, he managed to buck up to the task within a couple of months. Soon, he had even stopped playing other people's songs altogether, and was writing his own tunes.
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Bob Dylan Meets Woody Guthrie

Bob had discovered Woody Guthrie's music while he was a teenager, and had been singing and immitating Woody's style ever since. By the time he got to New York and found his hero, Woody was in a psychiatric clinic. It wasn't what Bob expected, but at Woody's request, Bob wound up visiting regularly and playing old Folk songs for his hero.

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Bob Dylan Signs With Columbia Records

Over a few months, Bob had begun drawing attention to himself with his renditions of Folk songs he picked up from records, as well as from other artists on the scene. He was one of the first of his crowd to start playing gigs at Gerde's Folk City, and had a friend who was shopping him around to the major labels. Thanks to some luck (and the reputation of John Hammond), he gained the attention of Columbia Records.

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Bob Dylan Plays with Pete Seeger

By the time his second album had come out, Bob had been forever dubbed (whether he liked it or not) a Folksinger. As he started writing his own tunes and moving away from being dubbed a Woody Guthrie wannabe, the folks at Columbia records encouraged him to spend some time with Pete Seeger singing at Civil Rights rallies in the south. Being that Pete was Woody's biggest protege, it seemed only natural.

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Bob Dylan Plays at Newport Folk Festival

In 1963, riding on a high from the seemingly sudden success of his second record, Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, Bob was invited to play amid the bluegrass jammers, Gospel groups, and world music dancers at the hugely popular Newport Folk Festival.

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Bob Dylan and Joan Baez

It all started at some West Village dive bar where someone was gushing to Joan Baez about Bob Dylan's work. Once the duo met, they were (at least apparently) inseparable for the next few years. They played music together, they toured together, they even showed up at the historical march on Washington, DC, together. Their voices blended famously, and Joan went on to have hits with several of Bob's original tunes.
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Bob Dylan Goes Electric

After making several solo acoustic records, and being hailed for his earnest, insightful Folk songs, Bob showed up at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965 with a Rock band backing him up. Many of the fans who'd been following his career since the early 1960s were disappointed and uninterested in his new sound. And the traditionalists at Newport were appalled. Still, his first electric record, Bringin it All Back Home was one of his best ever.
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Bob Dylan Gets in a Motorcycle Accident

In 1966, Dylan was in an accident while riding his motorcycle in Woodstock, New York. After the accident, he became even more elusive. During the next year, he recorded a stack of demos with his band, which were never meant to be released commercially. Eventually, however, his record company released them, and they wound up being the first ever recordings that were illegally bootlegged.
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Bob Dylan Makes a Comeback

After not making any big waves for a year, Dylan returned in 1968 with the release of John Wesley Harding, which could easily be considered one of the earliest Alternative Country records. Folk and Rock and Roll had changed during the year of Dylan's seclusion, and this time Dylan was able to startle his audience with yet another direction. This record would eventually prove a great influence on the Byrds and later Alt Country bands.

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