As a public health precaution due to COVID-19, all Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are temporarily closed to the public as of Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. We are not announcing a reopening date at this time.
Robert Zimmerman took his stage name from the Welsh romantic poet Dylan Thomas and his music from the politically charged folk songs of Woody Guthrie. Moving to New York City in 1961, he soon became, along with Joan Baez, the dominant voice in American folk music. While successful, Bob Dylan found himself confined by the formulas of the folk scene and, influenced by English rock and rollers, went electric in 1965, to the derision of his hardcore fans and to the amazement of rock's growing audience. In a career of many phases, Dylan has made surprise his hallmark, frequently emerging from a period of isolation with an entirely new sound. As recently as 1997, Time Out of Mind garnered an Album of the Year Grammy. When a critic downplayed it as "derivative," he was reminded that it was only "derivative" of Dylan's genius itself.