By Zachary Swickey
It’s hard to believe that one of our rock’s most revered singer/songwriters of all time, Bob Dylan, turned 70 today. Although the living legend hardly acts his age — he’s been on the appropriately titled Never Ending Tour since 1988, which currently counts more than 2,300 shows.
There are very few senior citizens of rock who can still perform more than 100 shows a year (and keep the crowds coming), but Dylan’s an artist that has stood the test of time: still producing critically acclaimed albums and winning awards. We have Bob to thank for inspiring a mass of modern bands and songwriters. Seems like an appropriate time to look back on some of his biggest moments in the new millennium.
2000 Academy Award for Best Original Song
Dylan recorded a new song, “Things Have Changed,” for the Chris Hanson-directed Wonder Boys, a movie about a creative-writing professor played by Michael Douglas. The tune would go on to garner Dylan his first Academy Award, and also won Best Original Song at the 2001 Golden Globes.
Dylan’s Memoirs, Part I
In 2004, Dylan released the first part of his planned, three-volume memoirs. The book has been lauded for its depth and found itself on The New York Times best-seller list for several months. In it, Dylan credits the first time he heard Robert Johnson as one of the main inspirations behind his interest in songwriting. Volume 1 was released nearly seven years ago, but there’s still no word on when we can expect the next two.
Dylan and the Victoria’s Secret Angels On TV
Dylan might seem like the type of fella who would be staunchly against the commercialization of music but, lo and behold, the singer made plenty of ad appearances in the new millennium. Of all places, his first foray into the medium was a Victoria’s Secret ad in 2004 that featured Bob singing and appearing with Angel Adriana Lima. 2006 brought an iTunes ad, 2007 found the singer cruising in a Cadillac Escalade, but the most intriguing is a Pepsi ad from the 2009 Super Bowl featuring Dylan and the Black Eyed Peas’ will.I.am taking turns on the songwriter’s iconic track “Forever Young.”
Martin Scorsese’s “No Direction Home” Doc
You know you’ve been immortalized when a directing legend like Scorsese opts to tackle a documentary about you. Scorsese spent nearly four years crafting the three-hour-plus doc about Dylan, 2005’s “No Direction Home,” which focuses on Dylan’s 1961 arrival in New York City all the way through his decision to drop the acoustic in favor of electric guitar, a move some fans were none too pleased about at the time.
Heath Ledger Plays Dylan In ‘I’m Not There’
The 2007 biographical flick “I’m Not There” was an experimental film to say the least. Rather than a straight re-telling of Dylan’s life and accomplishments, director Todd Haynes opted to blur the line between fantasy and biographical reality by having six different actors play the part of Dylan. Heath Ledger, Christian Bale, Richard Gere, and even Cate Blanchett, all took turns showcasing a different period and personality of the singer, while never actually using his name in the film.
2011 Grammy Awards Performance
Dylan brought the childhood dreams of two up-and-coming bands to fruition at the 2011 Grammys. The Avett Brothers and Mumford & Sons were granted the opportunity to sing along with the legend to his 1965 tune “Maggie’s Farm,” the song that essentially kicked off Dylan’s once-controversial use of electric guitar.