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SAN FRANCISCO, CA - FEBRUARY 11: Bob Dylan is performing at the Warfield Theater in San Francisco, California on February 11, 1979. (Photo by Larry Hulst/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
The Truth About Bob Dylan’s Real Name
History - Science
Bob Dylan was born Robert Allen Zimmerman in Duluth, Minnesota in 1941. He became highly interested in folk music and poetry while in college, and there is a popular belief that he chose “Dylan” for his stage name as a tribute to the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas.
However, Dylan has denied the link between Dylan Thomas and his stage name, saying that the poet has been more of a subconscious influence on him. During his early career, he called himself Elston Gunn, Robert Allen, and Bob Dillon, but ultimately settled on “Dylan” in 1962 because it sounded close to “Allen.”
Dylan is not the only musician to have adopted a stage name — for example, David Bowie (already a stage name) was briefly known as Ziggy Stardust. Perhaps Dylan adopted his stage name to create a persona separate from himself, or perhaps Robert Allen Zimmerman just didn’t have the same ring to it as Bob Dylan