The term ‘legend’ is one that may be used in a number of different contexts; it has many meanings and it is certainly a term loosely used in a number of perhaps inappropriate situations. It has become a ubiquitous term and has lost some of its potency. For example, one could claim a person to be a legend for lending money to them so they can buy a pack of sweets, whereas some would say even the greatest people among us, like Al Gore or those who risk their lives as firemen - in particular those heroes of 9/11 - and doctors and nurses haven’t quite achieved enough to attain the prestigious title of ‘legend’. Some would say you have to be dead to be a legend, however the person I’m talking about isn’t a doctor a nurse and certainly isn’t recognised in the same way as the greats like Nelson Mandela or Mother Theresa. But the impact he has had on so many I feel equals that of even the most prolific legends.
Many would say I’m fool for comparing Bob Dylan to the like of Nelson Mandela but these people clearly have never been touched by him in the way I, as so many before me and so many have yet to feel, have done. He started life in Minnesota in 1941 with the name Robert Allen Zimmerman. His parents, Abram Zimmerman and Beatrice "Beatty" Stone, were part of the area's small but close-knit Jewish community. Zimmerman lived in Duluth until age seven. When his father was stricken with polio, the family returned to nearby Hibbing, where Zimmerman spent the rest of his childhood. He had a decent childhood: his parents earned a fair living and he got by, listening to the radio regularly as his passion for the newfound emersion of blues soon followed by rock ‘n’ roll.
In High School he formed a number of bands, some more successful than others. The Golden Chords for example were a big hit amongst his peers and he earned two dates with Bobby Vee, playing piano and providing handclaps. His passion though was always to “Join little Richard”. In 1959 he enrolled...