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Joe Strummer and Stevie Wonder
discuss Bob Dylan's impact
 real 28k

Poet Laureate Andrew Motion
explains what the music and lyrics of Bob Dylan means to him
 real 56k

David Hajdu, author of Positively 4th Street
a new book about Dylan and his relationships with his sister Mimi, her husband and Joan Baez
 real 28k

Thursday, 24 May, 2001, 08:19 GMT 09:19 UK
Bob Dylan turns 60
Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan: Still on the road after almost 40 years
Folk legend Bob Dylan celebrates his 60th birthday on Thursday and is still recording and touring as feverishly as he did in the 1960s.

The composer of classic songs such as Knockin' on Heavens Door, Times They Are A Changin' and Blowing in the Wind has reportedly been on tour since 1988 and his appeal remains as strong as ever.

Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan's eponymous first album was released in 1962
His song Things Have Changed from the movie Wonder Boys won an Oscar this year and this week he topped a poll of BBC News Online users as the greatest lyricist of all time.

Last week in New York Patti Smith, Tracy Chapman and Sam Shephard took part in a celebrity gala to pay tribute to the singer.

First album

Tribute concerts are also planned in Australia, Canada, France, Italy and Israel.

Hs record company has embarked on a marketing push of his back catalogue and two new biographies have appeared on the market.


He invented the whole field we all work in

Joe Strummer

However, the man himself will be doing little to celebrate his birthday.

"Absolutely no public plans,'' said his spokesman, Elliot Mintz, when asked what the singer will be doing on Thursday.

Robert Alan Zimmerman was born on 24 May 1941 in Hibbing, Minnesota, and since his first album, called Bob Dylan, was released in 1962 he has gone on to produce more than 40 more.

He began his musical career as a folk artist but since then his music has generated a wide cross over appeal.

'Infatuation'

He still tours extensively, performing more than 100 times a year and is about to embark on a European tour.

A select group of musician and writers have also paid their respects to the singer.

Former Clash singer Joe Strummer told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that his infatuation with Dylan began in the 1960s.


Dylan's like the Beatles or the Eiffel Tower - he's just there, his presence is so strong that you don't really see him anymore

David Gray

"He laid down the template for lyric, tune, seriousness, spirtuality, depth of rock music.

"Without Bob Dylan I don't think the form would be regarded."

He added: "He invented the whole field we all work in."

Stevie Wonder told the Today programme that he considered Bob Dylan to be one of the finest ever lyricists.

Poet laureate Andrew Motion told BBC News 24 that Bob Dylan's lyrics had a strong poetic quality.

He said the lyrics to some of this songs were "fundamentally unlike anybody else writing now or then in the 1960s".

U2 front man Bono told Rolling Stone magazine: "His words have always had an almost Biblical uprightness.

'Presence'

"No matter where you are in your life, there's a Dylan record that helps you map out the locale."

British singer Donavon, a contemporary of Dylan, told BBC News Online that his appeal lay in his "edge to disturb complacent hearts".

Singer David Gray added: "Dylan's like the Beatles or the Eiffel Tower - he's just there, his presence is so strong that you don't really see him anymore.

"To do what he did in a short burst in the early Sixties would have been one thing, but he's kept coming back."

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