BeeOasis Step 3
“I think a poet is anybody who wouldn’t call himself a poet.” – Bob Dylan
It was January 1961. In the cold north of Minnesota, a young man of 19 years packed his bags and his guitar. He was crossing 1,900 kilometers to New York City. His means of transportation was his thumb. He was hitchhiking–getting free rides from passing cars or trucks.
His goals were clear: perform music in New York City and meet his aging and ailing hero, the folk singer Woody Guthrie. Today, after thousands of concerts, 600 original songs, 44 albums, 10 Grammy Awards, 1 Academy Award, and 2 honorary doctor’s degrees, we know this man as Bob Dylan.
In that winter of 61, the young Dylan could only imagine the success that was going to greet him, and this success came rather quickly. By February, he was singing in all the best folk clubs in New York. In September, Dylan performed at Gerde’s Folk City, and the music critic Robert Shelton (from the New York Times) was in the audience.
Shelton praised Dylan’s style as distinctive. He said that Dylan was bursting with talent; his voice reflected the rude beauty of a working man; his songs burned with intensity. A few days later, Shelton published a review of Dylan, and it launched his career. Then, in December, after recording his first album, Dylan returned home to his family in Minnesota with a record contract in his hand.