Bobby Zimmerman pilgrimaged to New York City's Greenwich Village just over a half century ago, seeking to visit his muse Woody Guthrie in the hospital and to launch a music career. He did both, and his first, eponymous album was released precisely 50 years ago. The rest is legend: Dylan the folk hero, Dylan going electric, Dylan and the Band, Dylan and the American ethos. Today, he stands as an always-touring icon. A national institution. It's time to celebrate the remarkable life of Bobby Zimmerman of Hibbing, Minnesota.
A life in Pictures, including shots from those who know him intimately, and knew him in the reclusive years in Woodstock, like Eliot Landy and Bob Cato . LIFE's original coverage of Dylan, Joan Baez and the downtown scene of the early 1960s . Excerpts from Dylan interviews through the years that make the story come alive, and get to the heart of this enigmatic man.