Q: What influenced Bob Dylan to pursue a life in music?
A: Dylan had come from a musically inclined family. Dylan’s father played the violin with his brothers Jack and Marion who played the violin and piano respectively. In addition, Dylan’s mother played the piano. Dylan became involved with performing since he was four years old. He sang popular radio tunes for the entertainment of his relatives at a party. Soon after that, his family requested that he sing again at his aunt’s wedding. Dylan also wrote poetically when he was around ten years old. He wrote a poem for his mother on mother’s day, a poem for his father on father’s day, and many more poems after that. When Dylan was around eleven years old, his parents acquired a Gulbranson spinet piano in hopes that their two children would become interested. Dylan and his younger brother were tutored by their cousin Harriet Rutstein. Dylan’s younger brother played the piano better than he did. Dylan became frustrated with his cousin’s tutoring, and decided to teach himself the piano. He was also encouraged to pick up another instrument, and he taught himself the guitar as well (Sounes 12-20).
In an interview with Ed Bradley, Dylan said: “I listened to the radio a lot. I hung out in the record stores, and slam-banged around on the guitar, and played the piano, and learned songs from a world that didn’t exist around me.” Dylan’s first great musical influence was Hank Williams. Dylan bought most of Williams’s records. “Bob [spent] hours listening to Gatemouth Page, a disk jockey on a Little Rock, Arkansas, radio station who played Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf and B. B. King and Jimmy Reed.” Dylan’s next prominent influence was Little Richard. Dylan imitated Richard’s style, but most...
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