Who is the King of Folk Music?

Who is the King of Folk Music? We take a look at the life and work of Bob Dylan, and how he has influenced the genre.

Bob Dylan

Robert Zimmerman, better known as Bob Dylan, is an American singer-songwriter, musician, and artist who has been influential in popular music and culture for more than five decades. Often cited as one of the greatest artists of all time, Dylan has been a major figure in the folk music revival and the rock and roll counterculture. His most famous songs include “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “The Times They Are a-Changin’.” Dylan has also been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

His early life and influences

Bob Dylan was born Robert Allen Zimmerman on May 24, 1941, in Duluth, Minnesota. He grew up in the town of Hibbing and attended Hibbing High School. His father, Abram Zimmerman was a Norton Democrat who served in the Minnesota state legislature. His mother, Beatty Palmer Zimmerman, was a visual artist who later took the name Edith Martindale.

Dylan’s early musical influences were rooted in the music of Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly. In 1959, he began attending the University of Minnesota where he was exposed to the work of protest singer Joan Baez. He began performing in coffeehouses around campus under the name Bob Dylan. In May 1961, he left school and headed to New York City to pursue his music career.

His impact on the folk music scene

In the early 1960s, Dylan began to displace the previous generation of folk singers with a new, more lyrically and musically complex style that exhibited little regard for traditional folk forms. Heavily influenced by Woody Guthrie and Hank Williams, Dylan absorbed popular musical traditions and created original compositions that achieved importance within the developing folk revival. His work occasioned a sense of frantically accumulated poetic imagery, tinged with social and political commentary, that proved enormously influential on rock musicians in the 1960s.

Woody Guthrie

Woody Guthrie was an American singer-songwriter and musician who is often referred to as the “King of Folk Music”. He was an extremely influential figure in the 1940s and 1950s, and his songs have been covered by many artists over the years. Some of his most famous songs include “This Land Is Your Land” and “Bound for Glory”.

His early life and influences

Woodrow Wilson “Woody” Guthrie was an American singer-songwriter and folk musician, whose musical legacy includes more than 1,000 recorded songs, work with thirteen different traditional song forms and more than twenty-five commercial recordings. He frequently performed with the slogan This machine kills fascists displayed on his guitar. His best-known song is “This Land Is Your Land”, which was included in the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry of Historical Recordings in 2002. Many of his recorded songs are archived in the Smithsonian Institution. Throughout his life, Guthrie was associated with United States Communist groups, though he was never a member of the party.

Born in Okemah, Oklahoma, Guthrie developed an interest in music while living with his mother and attending school. At 15 he left home and started traveling around the country as a drifter and itinerant musician. He married Mary Jennings Fishman in 1933; they had four children together before their divorce in 1945. During the Great Depression he worked various odd jobs but eventually found employment working for the United States Department of the Interior as a commentator on migrant workers for panel discussions broadcast on CBS Radio. In 1940 he began making weekly appearances on radio station KUSER in Berkeley, California where he held forth on politics and sang songs; these broadcasts continued until 1951. When he moved to New York City he wrote a column for The Daily Worker newspaper from 1949 to 1951; when The People’s Songs Bulletin ceased publication in 1949, Woody became its editor until early 1952 when Artists’ Front for Progress took over publication.

His impact on the folk music scene

Woody Guthrie was one of the most influential figures in the development of folk music in the 20th century. His songs often dealt with social and political issues, and he was a major inspiration for other folk artists such as Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. Guthrie’s songs have been covered by a wide variety of artists, and his influence is still felt in the folk music scene today.

Pete Seeger

Pete Seeger was an American folk singer and social activist. A pivotal figure in the mid-20th century American folk music revival, Seeger also wrote a number of now-classic songs, such as “If I Had a Hammer” and “Turn! Turn! Turn!”

His early life and influences

Pete Seeger was born on May 3, 1919 in New York City. His father, Charles Louis Seeger Jr., was a professor at the Juilliard School and a musicologist. His mother, Constance de Clyver Edson Seeger, was a concert violinist. His stepmother, Ruth Crawford Seeger, was also a well-known composer. Pete had two half-brothers (Mike and John) and three stepsisters (Peggy, Barbara and Penny).

Pete’s first musical experience was playing the ukulele with his father at home. When he was seven years old, he started taking banjo lessons from his father and quickly became proficient. He also played the violin and guitar. In 1933, Pete’s family moved to Frenchtown, New Jersey, where he continued to study music and play with local bands.

In 1936, Pete entered Wesleyan University intending to study journalism. However, he soon became more interested in music and started playing with the college band – The Linemen. It was around this time that he started to develop his unique style of playing the banjo by using a technique called “sweeping” which involved strumming the strings with his thumb and forefinger in a continuous motion. This gave his playing a very distinctive sound which would later become his trademark.

His impact on the folk music scene

folk singer, songwriter and social activist who was a prominent figure in the American folk music revival of the 1950s and 1960s. He helped to found the folk group the Weavers in 1948 and wrote many of their signature songs. Seeger was also a prolific songwriter, with his best-known compositions including “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?,” “If I Had a Hammer” and “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season).” A principle architect of the protest song, he also wrote songs denouncing racism, war and nuclear weapons. In his later years, he remained an influential voice in support of peace and social justice.

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