6 Strange Little-Known Facts About Bob Dylan

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

We all know Bob Dylan for his songwriting talents. He has sold tens of millions of albums and written more than 500 songs that he and thousands of artists have recorded. People consider Dylan as one of the greatest songwriters that ever lived, boasting his Nobel Prize for Literature and Pulitzer Prize special citation award.

Dylan doesn’t give a hoot and a half about what you think. He’s been freewheeling life ever since he’s been a kid, and here are the facts to prove it. These are the six strange little-known facts about the free-spirited Bob Dylan. Let’s check it out.

1. He once ate dinner with Van Morrison, Glen Hansard, and Elvis Costello in complete silence.

In an interview with the San Francisco Gate, Hansard let on pretty entertaining information about his dinner with Dylan, Van Morrison, and Costello.

“It was just surreal. It was at a Dylan show in Dublin, and I was standing in a spot where Van grabbed me and we all went to dinner,” said Hansard. “I don’t know how these guys’ brains work. I don’t know if it’s Asperger’s or autism. But the whole meal was silent. No one said anything.”

2. He was in a frat.

Before dropping out of the University of Minnesota, Bob Dylan was part of the Jewish fraternity Sigma Alpha Mu also known as Sammy.

3. He traded a Warhol for a couch.

In a 1985 interview with Spin, Dylan revealed that he once owned an Andy Warhol “Elvis Presley” painting. He, then, traded that painting for a sofa, which Dylan acknowledges “was a stupid thing to do.” He said, “I always wanted to tell Andy what a stupid thing I’d done, and if he had another painting he would give me, I’d never do it again.”

4. He loves pranks.

In 2015, a Greenwich Village realtor uncovered forty-two acetate recordings of Bob Dylan making prank phone calls. The New Yorker asked for a comment from Dylan. He confirmed it was him replying, “I was just trying my best to be just like I am, but everybody wanted me to be just like them.”

5. He almost played Holden Caulfield in a Catcher in the Rye film adaptation.

Far Out Magazine reported that Dylan was approached for the role of Holden Caulfield for a ’60s rendition of The Catcher in the Rye. He was offered the role in 1962 before he rose to music mega-stardom. The MCA executive said, “I’ve got two possible things for him. I want him to audition for The Ed Sullivan Show, and I want to see if he can play Holden Caulfield. We own the rights to Catcher in the Rye and we think maybe we finally found Holden Caufield in your boy.”

The plans fell through for both. As we know, The Ed Sullivan Show idea didn’t roll for Dylan since they told him what songs to play.

6. Dylan didn’t speak for one week after Elvis Presley died.

Elvis influenced Dylan’s music. He was a hero to Dylan—someone who symbolized a successful future after chasing a dream. When Elvis passed in 1977, Dylan stated, “I went over my whole life. I went over my whole childhood. I didn’t talk to anyone for a week after Elvis died. If it wasn’t for Elvis and Hank Williams, I couldn’t be doing what I do today.”

The King’s music was life-changing to Dylan. “When I first heard Elvis Presley’s voice I just knew that I wasn’t going to work for anybody and nobody was going to be my boss. Hearing him for the first time was like busting out of jail,” declared Dylan.

Photo by PL Gould/IMAGES/Getty Images

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