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Bob Dylan (Robert Zimmerman) began his first major gig, a two-week stint at Gerde's Folk City in New York, on this date in 1961, as the opening act for the Greenbriar Boys. New York Times critic Robert Shelton described him in a review as “one of the most distinctive stylists . . . bursting at the seams with talent," with "a searing intensity [that] pervades his songs.” Dylan went on to be the most influential and prolific songwriter of his era, an artist of world-class rank and influence who currently plays roughly 100 concerts per year on his "Never Ending Tour."
"Here's the thing with me and the religious thing. . . . I find the religiosity and philosophy in the music. I don't find it anywhere else.” —Bob Dylan, 1997