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

More

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.

Jump to comments
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.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

What's the Number One Thing We Could Do to Improve City Life?

A group of journalists, professors, and non-profit leaders predict the future of livable, walkable cities


Elsewhere on the web

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

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

Just In