PHOTOS: Legendary singer, songwriter Bob Dylan turns 80

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(NewsNation Now) — Regarded as one of the world’s greatest and influential songwriters, Bob Dylan is still going strong as he celebrates his 80th birthday Monday.

Dylan was born Robert Allen Zimmerman in Duluth, Minnesota in 1941. He first entered the public consciousness in New York City’s Greenwich Village folk scene during the early 1960s, eventually selling more than 125 million records globally.

THE JOHNNY CASH SHOW – Airdate: June 7, 1969. (Photo by Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)
BOB DYLAN;JOHNNY CASH
WASHINGTON D.C. – AUGUST 28: Folk singers Joan Baez and Bob Dylan perform during a civil rights rally on August 28, 1963 in Washington D.C. (Photo by Rowland Scherman/National Archive/Newsmakers)
29th April 1965: American folk pop singer-songwriter, Bob Dylan. (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)
August 1969: American electric folk hero Bob Dylan (born Robert Zimmerman) performing at the Isle of Wight Festival. (Photo by Ian Tyas/Keystone/Getty Images)
HARD RAIN — Pictured: Bob Dylan performing, circa 1975. — Photo by: NBCU Photo Bank
US poet and folk singer Bob Dylan performs on July 4, 1978 at the Pavillon de Paris. AFP PHOTO PIERRE GUILLAUD / AFP PHOTO / PIERRE GUILLAUD (Photo credit should read PIERRE GUILLAUD/AFP via Getty Images)
American singer-songwriter, author, and visual artist Bob Dylan at the Isle of Wight Festival press conference, Wootton, UK, 27th August 1969. (Photo by Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES – FEBRUARY 28: The 26th Annual Grammy Awards, presented at Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles. Broadcast on CBS television on February 28, 1984. An event recognizing the achievements and talents of singers, musicians, and music industry persons. Pictured from left is Bob Dylan and Stevie Wonder. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
LONDON – FEBRUARY 10: Bob Dylan’s new painting entitled ‘Staircase’ is shown for the first time at Halcyon Gallery on February 10, 2010 in London, England. The Bob Dylan on Canvas Exhibition debuts the music legend’s first-ever paintings on canvas. Open to the public from Saturday 13th February until 10th April 2010 at Halcyon Gallery at 24 Bruton Street, Mayfair – London. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images for Halcyon Gallery)
TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY BRIGITTE DUSSEAU
A woman views a painting “Still Life with Peaches” (L) and a print “Train Tracks, 2013” (R) by Bob Dylan on display as part of “The Drawn Blank Series” exhibition of the singer’s artwork at the Ross Art Group gallery on May 8, 2014 in New York. The exhibition marks the first time this series of Bob Dylans artwork has been shown in the US and is based on drawings and sketches made by Dylan while on the road during the period of 1989 through 1992. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE, MANDATORY CREDIT OF THE ARTIST, TO ILLUSTRATE THE EVENT AS SPECIFIED IN THE CAPTION (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP via Getty Images)
NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 21: A rare early collection of poems written by Bob Dylan in 1960 lies on display at Christie’s Auction House, November 21, 2005 in New York City. The collection is expected to bring approximately $60,000 to $80,000 at today’s auction. (Photo by Stephen Chernin/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA – JANUARY 12: Musician Bob Dylan performs onstage during the 17th Annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards held at The Hollywood Palladium on January 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for VH1)
US President Barack Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to musician Bob Dylan during a ceremony on May 29, 2012 in the East Room of the White House in Washington. The award is the country’s highest civilian honor. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GettyImages)
NEW YORK – MAY 19: Musical guest Bob Dylan performs on the Late Show with David Letterman, Tuesday May 19, 2015 on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 06: Honoree Bob Dylan speaks onstage at the 25th anniversary MusiCares 2015 Person Of The Year Gala honoring Bob Dylan at the Los Angeles Convention Center on February 6, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. The annual benefit raises critical funds for MusiCares’ Emergency Financial Assistance and Addiction Recovery programs. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Dylan’s songs have been recorded more than 6,000 times, by various artists from dozens of countries, cultures and music genres, including the Jimi Hendrix version of “All Along The Watchtower” and The Byrds’ “Mr. Tambourine Man,” as well as “Make You Feel My Love”, a chart-topping hit for Adele.

The copyrights for songs spanning Dylan’s 60-year career include such anthems as “Blowin’ In The Wind”, “The Times They Are A-Changin” and “Tangled Up In Blue.”

Dylan’s most recent album “Rough and Rowdy Ways” was released in June 2020. He was touring until the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of dates across the world.

He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016 “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition” — the first songwriter to receive such a distinction. In 2012, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor, by President Barack Obama. Nominated for 38 Grammy Awards over his career, he has ten wins. He won an Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Things Have Changed” in 2001.


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In addition to his music, Dylan is also a visual artist with drawing and painting exhibitions often inspired by the people met and places encountered while touring. There’s also a whiskey collection “Heaven’s Door” named after a song. In honor of his birthday, 100% of profits from each purchase will be distributed to food banks.

In November 2020, a long-lost trove of Bob Dylan documents including the singer-songwriter’s musings about anti-Semitism and unpublished song lyrics has sold at auction for $495,000.

In December 2020, Universal Music Group’s publishing arm bought Dylan’s entire back catalog of more than 600 songs, from towering classics such as 1965’s “Like a Rolling Stone” to last year’s 17-minute epic “Murder Most Foul.” It was a blockbuster deal with an undisclosed price but estimates were in the hundreds of millions.


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An upcoming auction in Beverly Hills will feature the handwritten lyrics to Dylan’s 1969 song, “Lay Lady Lay,” written in pencil on a sheet of notepaper from a lumber company. The lyrics carry an estimate of $500,000-600,000 in a two-day auction from June 12-13 that also features a cheeky self-portrait by Kurt Cobain and five guitars designed by the late Eddie Van Halen. 

“That’s the most expensive item in the auction in June. It’s with all the hand notations from Bob Dylan, including chord notations,” said Martin Nolan, executive director of Julien’s.

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