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Bob Dylan (/ˈdɪlən/; born Robert Allen Zimmerman, May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, artist and writer. He has been influential in popular music and culture for more than five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when his songs chronicled social unrest, although Dylan repudiated suggestions from journalists that he was a spokesman for his generation. Nevertheless, early songs such as "Blowin' in the Wind" and "The Times They Are a-Changin'" became anthems for the American civil rights and anti-war movements. Leaving his initial base in the American folk music revival, Dylan's six-minute single "Like a Rolling Stone" altered the range of popular music in 1965. His mid-1960s recordings, backed by rock musicians, reached the top end of the United States music charts while also attracting denunciation and criticism from others in the folk movement.
Dylan's lyrics have incorporated a variety of political, social, philosophical and literary influences. They defied exisiting pop music conventions and appealed to the burgeoning counterculture. Initially inspired by the performances of Little Richard, and the songwriting of Woody Guthrie, Robert Johnson and Hank Williams, Dylan has amplified and personalized musical genres. His recording career, spanning 50 years, has explored the traditions in American song—from folk, blues, and country to gospel, rock and roll, and rockabilly to English, Scottish, and Irish folk music, embracing even jazz and swing. Dylan performs with guitar, keyboards and harmonica. Backed by a changing line-up of musicians, he has toured steadily since the late 1980s on what has been dubbed the Never Ending Tour. His accomplishments as a recording artist and performer have been central to his career, but his greatest contribution is considered his songwriting.
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