“Opportunities may come along for you to convert something—something that exists into something that didn't yet. That might be the beginning of it. Sometimes you just want to do things your way, want to see for yourself what lies behind the misty curtain. It's not like you see songs approaching and invite them in. It's not that easy. You want to write songs that are bigger than life. You want to say something about strange things that have happened to you, strange things you have seen. You have to know and understand something and then go past the vernacular.”— Bob Dylan, Chronicles, Vol. 1 (2004)
Bob Dylan—born on this date 75 years ago, as Robert Allen Zimmerman, in Duluth, Minn.—certainly has managed to see “what lies behind the misty curtain.” Maybe the reason why he’s been so famously elusive (as in this photo) all these years is because he’s needed a private space where he could restlessly pursue his visions—one musical direction after another, all leading to a corpus of more than 500 songs of often astonishingly varied insight, irony, humor, humanity, and beauty.