Born Robert Allen Zimmerman in Duluth, Minnesota, in 1941, Dylan got his first guitar at the age of 14 and performed in rock’n’roll bands in high school. He adopted the name Dylan, after the poet Dylan Thomas, and, drawn to the music of Woody Guthrie, began to perform folk music.
He moved to New York in 1961, and began performing in the clubs and cafes of Greenwich Village. His first album, Bob Dylan, was released in 1962, and he followed it up with a host of albums now regarded as masterpieces, including Blonde on Blonde in 1966, and Blood on the Tracks in 1975.
He is regarded as one of the most influential figures in contemporary popular culture, though his music has always proved divisive. Speaking last year, Dylan said: “Critics have been giving me a hard time since day one.”