On His 70th Birthday, Images From Bob Dylan's Career

Bob Dylan--iconic rocker, poet, songwriter, and Victoria's Secret salesman--turns 70 today. His 50-year career has encompassed phases ranging from young folk-poet activism to earnest Christian evangelism. Here are a few choice photos from those phases, courtesy of LIFE.com.

Which portion of Dylan's career has mattered the most? Writing for The Atlantic in 1999, critic Francis Davis posited that Dylan's work from the release of Bringing It All Back Home in 1965 to John Wesley Harding 1967 was the most significant:

Three years is nothing, yet in this brief span Dylan altered the course of popular music more fundamentally than even Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, or the Beatles. As songwriters, John Lennon and Paul McCartney were surprisingly traditional; they brought a youthful cheekiness to pop, but in terms of lyrical sentiment and melodic structure their songs of the sixties merely updated Tin Pan Alley conventions. Dylan shifted the focus of lyric writing from craftsmanship to self-expression -- a concept once as alien to pop as it was to folk, whose modern-day practitioners were encouraged to speak their minds only about pressing social issues.

See more photos at LIFE.com. The site also has shots of Dylan's early years and of the people he has sung about.

Presented by

Spencer Kornhaber is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where he edits the Entertainment channel. More

Before coming to The Atlantic, he worked as an editor for AOL's Patch.com and as a staff writer at Village Voice Media's OC Weekly. He has also written for Spin, The AV Club, RollingStone.com, Field & Stream, and The Orange County Register.

The Blacksmith: A Short Film About Art Forged From Metal

"I'm exploiting the maximum of what you can ask a piece of metal to do."

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

An Ingenious 360-Degree Time-Lapse

Watch the world become a cartoonishly small playground

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

Video

The Rise of the Cat Tattoo

How a Brooklyn tattoo artist popularized the "cattoo"

More in Entertainment

Just In