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- Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman on May 24, 1941 in Duluth, Minnesota, United States) is an American musician, poet and artist whose position in popular culture is unique. Dylan started his musical odyssey in 1959 when he began playing in Dinkytown, Minneapolis while attending the University of Minnesota. Shortly after starting to play he changed his stage name to Bob Dylan, after being influenced by the poetry of Dylan Thomas before legally changing his name in 1962.