As you recall, last month we printed a segment of the first interview Bob Dylan gave in the early 60s as he burst onto the national music scene in New York City. In that interview, Dylan told the interviewer that he grew up in the West and Midwest and that he lived several years in Gallup. This was, by the way, not an isolated claim by Dylan; in almost every interview he gave in that era he claimed that he had lived an adventurous life traveling around as a carnival worker and he would regularly claim to have lived in Gallup.
Not long into his national career, Newsweek printed a critical article on Dylan – who was born Robert Allen Zimmerman in Duluth, Minnesota – which, among other things, claimed that his tale of an adventurous youth was a fiction. According to Newsweek, Dylan grew up in Hibbing, Minnesota, the home of home run king Roger Maris.
Last month we asked if any of you had information connecting Dylan to Gallup in his youth and, if not, why he would have included Gallup as part of a made up persona. Well . . . as they say, the silence was deafening; we didn’t hear from you. The absence of anyone claiming to have known Dylan sure suggests that his claim of growing up in Gallup was fictional, but we are still open to hearing from anyone who claims otherwise. But, this isn’t the end of the story as far as we are concerned. If Dylan wasn’t from Gallup, we want to know why he adopted us in his imagination. And, we’ll put our theory out there. Our guess –and that’s all it is: a guess – is that at some point as a youngster Dylan was driving with his family through Gallup on Route 66. Well what did he see as he drove through town? A huge sign smack dab in the middle of a town filled with Indians and cowboys that said “Zimmerman’s.” And when it came time to invent a persona to match the image of “the freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” he thought back to that sign and the town where he saw it.
As far as we are concerned, this story is not over. If you have information or your own theory, we still want to hear from you . . . and we have decided to go straight to the source. That’s right, we want to hear from Dylan himself. It’s now our mission to get an interview with Dylan. We may end up like Michael Moore chasing an interview with GM’s Chairman, but we are going to try everything we can think of to get Bob Dylan to speak to us and we will keep you posted. Stay tuned.