Born May 24, 1941 as Robert Zimmerman in Duluth, Minnesota, it's Bob Dylan's birthday. Happy #62!
Bob Dylan must be the most written about musician in the whole rock era. There may not be that much original and worthwhile to say about him at this point, but you have to try.
For a little different thought, I'd like to reiterate briefly the analysis of Walter Rimler's classic book Not Fade Away. He argues, obviously correctly, that Bob Dylan's main achievement comes as a composer of classic MELODIES.
Everyone goes on about Dylan's fancy wordplay, including Dylan himself. Paraphrasing, Dylan has as much as said that his melodies don't matter, that it's all about the words. He could write them down in a book, and they'd mean just as much.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but Dylan was completely wrong when he said that. Hardly anyone would have ever heard of him if he were a mere page poet. Besides the fact that hardly anyone pays attention to ANY page poet, he still would not be that much of a stand out. "Mr Tambourine Man" doesn't mean much laid out on a page. It is the tender melody that the words carry along the breeze that makes it so meaningful.
Indeed, a lot of the lyrics to even some of his best songs are meaningless crap. My personal favorite example is "I Want You" wherein he sang "Your dancing child with his Chinese suit, he spoke to me I took his flute, now I wasn't that cute to him, was I? But I did it because he lied, because he took you for a ride, and because... I want you." Those words are meaningless random drivel, but I can sing you back the whole song- and dig it. It's all in the TUNE.
Bob Dylan has- by whatever thought process he went through doing it- written many of the very best tunes in the history of recorded popular music.