By Chad Koch
"I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom" - Bob Dylan.
1. Crooning Bob, Hidden Muse
Recently a Japanese writer named Junichi Saga was astonished and flattered to learn that passages from one of his books apparently found their way into a few of Bob Dylan's lyrics. In Bob Dylan's 2001 song, "Floater", he croons - "My old man, he's like some feudal lord, got more lives than a cat." "I'm not quite as cool or forgiving as I sound" "Sometimes somebody wants you to give something up, and tears or not, it's too much to ask."
On page six of Junicihi Saga's book, "Confessions of a Yakuza", he writes - "My old man would sit there like a feudal lord." "I'm not as cool or forgiving as I might have sounded." Then on page 182, writes - "Tears or not, though, that was too much to ask."
The practitioner of Chinese medicine resounded that the revelation of Dylan calling upon his own work was surprising. This could be counted as a literary theft of sorts, but the author has stated he has no plans to sue. "Why would I sue? To take something that made people around the world happy and try to exploit it for money - that's poverty", stated Saga.
"This shows that people in other countries can relate to the harsh realities of prewar Japan, which was a poor, struggling nation. I'm just happy somebody read my book and liked it.", said Saga. "My book hasn't even sold that well, and it's out of print in Japan." He further added he has estimated to have only made about $8,475 from the publication.
A few weeks ago, Saga bought his first Bob Dylan CD, "The Best of Bob Dylan".
2. Masked and Anonymous
Would you reach out a hand to save a drowning man if you thought he might pull you in? This is the tagline for Bob's latest film called, "Masked and Anonymous". In it, Bob plays Jack Fate, a singer whose career has gone on a downward spiral and is forced to make a comeback to the performance stage for a benefit concert.
For this film he was joined by some of Hollywood's hottest and brightest, all of which reportedly signed onto the film at scale rates. The cast includes: John Goodman, Jessica Lange, Luke Wilson, Jeff Bridges, Penelope Cruz, Reggie Lee, Angela Bassett, Steven Bauer, Larry Campbell, Bruce Dern, Alex Desert, Treva Etienne, Dan Frischman, Tony Garnier, Laura Elena Harring, Ed Harris, Shawn Michael Howard, Val Kilmer, Bruce Kirschbaum, Antonio David Lyons, Cheech Marin, Chris Penn, George Receli, Giovanni Ribisi, Mickey Rourke, Sam Sarpong, Charlie Sexton, Jon Sklaroff, Christian Slater and Fred Ward. On top of all of that, T-Shirt King friend, Keri Bruno, pulls 2nd Unit Directing duties on the talent heavy film. The film hits theatres in a limited US release on July 25th.
3. Robert Allen Zimmerman
At 5 foot six inches, Robert Allen Zimmerman might be a slight man, but under the name Bob Dylan, he is a legendary giant of a musician.
4. Elston Gunn
Robert Allen Zimmerman was born May 24th 1941 in Duluth, Minnesota. His father, Abe, was employed by the Standard Oil Company there, but when Robert was six the family moved to Hibbing, Minnesota. The one riddling note about Hibbing is that is very often the coldest place in the United States. Yikes. Growing up there he taught himself piano and guitar and formed several high school rock bands. Around this time he toyed with the stage name, "Elston Gunn".
5. A Star Is Born
By 1959, Robert entered the University of Minnesota and began performing under the name Bob Dylan at clubs in Minnesota and St. Paul.
6. A Legend Mends A Legend
In 1960 he traveled to New York to perform in various folk clubs throughout Greenwich Village. While in New York he spent time with his idol, Woody Guthrie at his hospital room.
Late in 1961 he landed a contract with Columbia Records and the following year his debut album was released with two original songs. A year after that, "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" emerged with an all original album, including a song that became an anthem of the '60's - "Blowin' in the Wind".
8. Bringing It All Back Home
In February 1964 Dylan and a small group of friends drove south out of New York City and stopped in unannounced to see poet 'Carl Sandburg' in North Carolina. Disappointingly, Dylan left only 10 minutes after arriving when he realized he couldn't get the venerable man of letters to take him seriously as a fellow poet.
He popped folk-rock into the mainstream after touring with Joan Baez with his own flavor of electric/acoustic swagger, culminating with his hit song, "Bringing it all Back Home". Soon after the Byrd's turned his song "Mr. Tambourine Man" into another hit with their cover version of the famous tune.
9. Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid
Following a motorcycle accident in 1966 which took him out of the limelight until 1969. Around that time, Sam Peckinpah asked him to compose the score and appear in his film, "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid". This would be the only the beginning of a long and continuing relationship with Hollywood and filmmaking.
10. Grammy Time
In 1974, Bob Dylan and The Band hit the road to promote their first number one album, "Planet Waves". The next year they had another chart-topper with the release of, "Blood on the Tracks". He followed that with several Rolling Thunder tours, a film called, "Renaldo and Clara" and then stunned the music world with the release of his fundamentalist Christian album, "Slow Train Coming". A song from this album garnered him his first Grammy.
11. Pope On The Red Line
In May 1997, he was stricken with histaplasmosis, a possibly fatal infection of the heart sac, but recovered to take on a tour of Europe. He kicked off the trip by September, starting off in Rome by special request of the Pope.
12. In Their Father's Footsteps?
His son Jakob Dylan has made a good time semi-emulating his infamous father with his own band, The Wallflowers. However, his Jesse Dylan has taken a slightly altered route to stardom, opting for the glamour of Tinsletown. His first major directing gig is about to be released, "American Pie 3". Jesse also directed a film called, "How High" and appears with a special thanks credit on "The Matrix Revisited".
13. Albums Of The Year
He is truly legendary, his 1997 album, "Time Out of Mind" and his 2001 album "Love and Theft" were both voted Album of the Year by the Village Voice's annual critics' poll. Seems like a no-brainer to us.
14. Hollywood Hit List
He has composed and recorded songs or had his recorded songs used in the following films:
Gods and Generals
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
Remember the Titans
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
The Big Lebowski
Breaking the Waves
Band of the Hand
Renaldo and Clara
Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid
15. Jack Fate
The small $10 million dollar film, "Masked and Anonymous" was directed by veteran TV comedy director, Larry Charles, who has also helmed shows for, "Mad About You", "Seinfeld" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm".
He appeared on the TV show, "Dharma and Greg" playing himself. When he met Conan O'Brien at a recent concert, Bob was quoted as saying, "I know you from the TeeVee."
16. Award Monger
He has received numerous awards of note, including: The Polar Music Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in 2000, The Commandeur dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from France in 1990, an honorary doctorate from Princeton University in 1970 and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Bruce Springteen at New York's Waldorf Astoria Hotel in 1988.
17. The Missing Beatle?
He appears on the sleeve of the Beatles' "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club". At the famous "Johnny Cash at San Quentin" concert, Johnny Cash introduced a song he co-wrote with Dylan by describing his as "... the greatest writer of our times."
To read more articles by Chad, visit the American Pop Culture Encyclopedia at: American Pop Culture Encyclopedia. If you would like to read this article, or others like it, on American Pop Culture Encyclopedia, please visit: Bob Dylan
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