5 Controversial Bob Dylan Incidents That Changed His Life

This year, Bob Dylan marked the 64th anniversary of his music career with his new album, ‘Shadow Kingdom.’ For this record, he revisited 13 songs from the first half of his tenure, which he celebrated through a concert at Madison Square Garden in 1992.

Dylan’s got a biopic named ‘A Complete Unknown‘ in the works that will look into these works and more about his life, including some controversial moments. But before we hear about them through the singer’s guidance again, let us delve into five incidents that affected his life here.

1. Lying About His Past

Bob Dylan was still underage when he signed his first record deal. So, to avoid his parents’ involvement in his early career, he lied about his past and claimed to be an orphan. In his interviews, the singer told tales about growing up in New Mexico and traveling with a carnival. According to Dylan’s biographer, Dennis McDougal, he made up these stories to create a sellable persona and become a star.

In the end, his lies got disproved by Andrea Svedberg of Newsweek in 1963, as the singer’s family attended his show in New York around that time. The reporter confirmed that the stories were fake by calling Dylan’s brother, David.

2. A Controversial Start

The themes Dylan chose for his early songs differed from conventional norms. He started by singing folk and blues songs that focused on hardship, lost love, and acceptance of death. But, later, the singer shifted towards adult themes and mimicked Woody Guthrie’s style. He created an image for himself and appeared to live it.

Then, Bob created a strategy to turn the crowd’s attention in a different direction from the conflict between his age and work. He came up with a comical number to become ‘the star of the song’ and gained an audience.

3. An Album On 9/11

Controversy arose when the singer’s ‘Love and Theft’ was released on the same day as the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The album’s lyrical content coincidentally ‘mirrored’ the events of the day, which led some reviewers to give prophetic qualities to Dylan. Lyrics such as ‘planes into towers’ and ‘people running scared’ from the song ‘Summer Days’ fuelled these rumors.

4. Accused Of Sexual Abuse

In 2021, a woman, called J.C. in court documents, accused Bob Dylan of sexual abuse. She claimed that the singer had groomed and abused her in 1965 when she was twelve. Dylan denied these allegations. His spokesman told the press that the claims were false and would be ‘vigorously defended.’

The lawsuit was later dismissed due to J.C.’s inability to turn over necessary emails and messages before the court deadline, which caused the ‘Hurricane’ singer’s legal team to accuse her of destroying evidence.

5. The Motorcycle Accident

In 1966, Dylan got involved in a motorcycle accident, whose details have remained unclear since. The reports of the time claimed he was under medical care, but the singer’s team didn’t make any more explanations. Bob and a few others from his circle, including his wife, kept the specifics of the incident a secret.

This lack of detail led to speculation about the reality of the accident. People started to question whether it was a fake excuse for Dylan to take a break from his busy schedule because he didn’t return to the stage until 1969 after that.

How About Today?

The 82-year-old musician, who sold his entire catalog before the pandemic, continues to work in the studio and perform live. He concluded the European leg of his ‘Rough and Rowdy Ways World Wide Tour’ in Italy on July 9. Fans are waiting for new dates to be announced in the upcoming months, as the tour is set to go on until 2024.