1940s to 1950s: The early years

Leaving is coming home

1941
  • Robert Allen Zimmerman born in Duluth/MN on May 24
1947
  • Zimmermans move to Hibbing/MN
1953
  • Robert grows up listening to singers like Johnnie Ace, Hank Williams and Jimmie Rodgers. Decades later he'll perform his own versions of their songs.
1955
  • Rock & Roll hits Minnesota with Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti", Robert starts to play his first instrument - the piano - and he plays it standing and wild, just like his R&R idols.
1956
  • Forms his first bands, the "Shadow Blasters" and the "Golden Chords"
1959
  • Graduation from Hibbing High School, his ambition noted in the yearbook: "to join Little Richard"
  • Fascination with older blues R&B begins, listening to Blind Lemon Jefferson, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Leadbelly and Chuck Berry among many others.
  • Leaves Hibbing for Minneapolis on Highway 61, learns to play acoustic guitar and meets Bonnie Beecher, the real "Girl from the North Country". Invents his "alter ego" Bob Dylan, probably inspired by beat poet Dylan Thomas.

1960s: The classic years »

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