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Wednesday, 23 May, 2001, 16:24 GMT 17:24 UK
Facts about Dylan
In a business where youth is supposed to be a big deal, someone's 60th birthday might be a surprising thing for the world to go crazy about.

But Bob Dylan is - and always has been - a special case, ever since he first picked up a guitar and began pouring out songs way back in 1962.

The Greatest Songwriter Ever is still doing his stuff, right down to winning an Oscar just last year.

If you want to impress your friends, here are BBC News Online's pass notes on the great man.

  • His real name is Robert Allen Zimmerman

  • He has released over 40 albums since his 1962 debut, just called Bob Dylan

  • Dylan won an Oscar last year for his song Things Have Changed, which was used in the film Wonder Boys

  • The only song Dylan has recorded this year is a cover of a Dean Martin song on the soundtrack of the hit US gangster series The Sopranos

  • Dylan had a part in the classic 1970s Western Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid, playing a knife-throwing drifter with the mysterious name Alias

  • In 1966 he almost died after crashing his motorbike near his Woodstock home

  • Dylan was born in Duluth, Minnesota, but grew up in nearby Hibbing - which was also the birthplace of America's famous Greyhound bus company

  • In 1965, he made one of the first ever promo films, for Subterranean Homesick Blues, which included a cameo by top American poet Allen Ginsberg

  • His son Jakob is also in the music business with his band The Wallflowers

  • Key Dylan albums include Highway 61 Revisited, Blonde On Blonde, Blood On The Tracks and Time Out Of Mind

  • Dylan's long marriage to Sara Lowndes inspired some of the finest songs about love and loss ever. He was also married to Carol Dennis between 1986 and 1992

  • He has five children - Jesse, Anna, Samuel and Jakob with Sara, and Desiree (now 15) with Carol Dennis

  • He was the first songwriter to write serious lyrics about his own life and world - paving the way for everyone else who followed

  • Dylan has written around 450 songs since 1962

  • One of the first music movies was the 1965 documentary Don't Look Back, which followed Dylan on his 1965 tour of Britain.
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