10 August 2020

David

The internet will lead you down so many rabbit holes. Listening to Bob Dylan last week got me thinking about his younger brother David Benjamin Zimmerman. As far as I know, Dylan has never spoken about his brother in public and has never written about him either.

He's five years younger than his famous sibling and at 74 years old I believe that he currently lives in Hanover, Minnesota - a small city to the northwest of Minneapolis. Once he was a high school teacher but later he worked in the music industry - in production and management. It is widely acknowledged that David was responsible for breathing fresh life into Dylan's brilliant 1975  album - "Blood on the Tracks". He persuaded Bob to use Minneapolis-based musicians and fresh recordings happened in that city ahead of the album's release.

Having a very famous sibling cannot be easy for anyone. There may be feelings of jealousy, self-doubt or plain annoyance. It's probably best that for the past sixty years David Zimmerman has remained in the shadows - able to live an ordinary life in relative obscurity. If you google his name, you will find very few pictures of him and hardly any biographical information.

Some say that Dylan is occasionally seen in Hanover but there's so much mythology about the guy and parts of his life are shrouded in mystery. Even before he dies, it is as if his life has entered a world of half-truth, rumour and make-believe. This is somewhat ironic as it seems to me that the purpose of his songs has been to seek truth, to bare the human soul, to shine light in the shadows.

Close to The Crow River in Hanover lives a man called David B.Zimmerman and his wife Gayle J. Zimmerman. They are both 74 years old. I could tell you their address, even show you a picture of their house and name their now grown-up sons but that would be like breaking a confidence. They have guarded their relative anonymity all these years, shunning the limelight cast by David's brother and no doubt seeking to forge a wholesome "normal" life of their own. I will leave them be. Time to cease my rabbit hunt.

18 comments:

  1. I doubt that google would be so principled in respecting your confidences.

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    1. My moral compass has very strong dials.

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  2. I didn't even know Dylan HAS a brother. Not that I'm a huge Dylan fan -- I've liked some of his songs but I've never cared for him as a performer.

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    1. In my humble opinion, Bob Dylan is the greatest American of the twentieth century.

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    2. Steve, I saw Dylan once. Live. Small venue. If it had been any smaller I'd have found myself sitting on his lap.

      To, as you say, "never [having] cared for him as a performer" is sacrilege in some circles. I know this to my cost. I went with a group of English people, in the early Eighties. In the motherland. They revered the guy so much they were positively dripping with adoration. There are times when it's best to keep shtum. Though thought to myself that if Clapton was supposed to be God then what is Dylan to these people? The Holy Spirit?

      U

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    3. " . . . the GREATEST American of the twentieth century"? Gloves off.

      Pistols at dawn, YP. Or daggers if you prefer. Bois de Bologne, Paris. Hope your adjutant knows the rules.

      U

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  3. Dylan doesn't seem to feel the need to lay out any truth bones concerning his own life and I respect that. The art, not the artist. But of course the mystery of him has always been a part of his persona.

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    1. A few years ago he hosted a late night radio show in England and his knowledge of other people's music was quite remarkable. I never expected that.

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  4. Rabbit holes can take a lot of your time but they can also lead to some very interesting information as in your post.

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  5. It sounds like you've been on some of the People Search web sites. I have great respect for Dylan. Yes his music may search for truth, but the fame he lives with comes at a personal price and that is why he guards his privacy. I have been to many concerts and the Dylan concert I went to had absolutely the most security of any I've ever seen. His security guys were shoulder to shoulder around the stage and that was just part of it all.

    Are you familiar with Dylan's youngest son Jakob Dylan? He is quite a talented musician and has even won a couple of Grammy Awards. He's lead singer for the Wallflowers but has also released some solo work.

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  6. 'It's a Hard Rain that Gonna Fall' a most prophetic song, should accompany the going down of the Earth into climate chaos. It captures the misery, luckily I don't listen to it very often needing more cheerful music to buoy me up. ;)

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  7. Isn't it weird how so many seek fame and fortune, and are fascinated by the lives and loves of celebrities (I know you are not) - and yet, when it comes to our own lives, we largely want to protect our privacy and go about our daily lives undisturbed and unharrassed. I wonder whether the famous brother sometimes envies his less famous sibling.

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  8. Thanks for this tidbit. My sister lived on the crow river near Rogers, just before the confluence with the Mississippi. I have another sister who lived near Powderhorn Park. Her wife told me that Bob's brother was a neighborhood handyman who had repaired their porch and pointed him out to me. It turned out to be untrue. His name was Zimmerman, no relation that we know of but had convinced her otherwise. He is another interesting story but out of respect for his privacy, will leave it to you and Google.

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    1. Thanks for calling by David - and for leaving this intriguing comment.

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  9. Bobby is a great American; but I would put Willie Nelson one notch higher.

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    1. I like Willie Nelson's music and his plaintive voice but in my opinion he is a dwarf next to Bob Dylan.

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  10. David Zimmerman was my elementary school music teacher 1st through 3rd grade at Sunny Hollow Elementary School in New Hope, MN. The time period was 1971-1973. I vividly remember him. He really made music fun and enjoyable to learn. I remember him telling us he was not coming back to our school the next year. when we asked him why he said something about going to help with his brother's music. we asked who his brother was and said Bob. We had no idea who Bob Dylan was. I thought it was odd that his brother had a different last name.

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    1. How wonderful "Unknown" - to have been taught by Bob Dylan's brother! Equally wonderful that he left a lasting, positive impression with you. Thank you for sharing this.

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.

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