There’s nothing to mark the time when the man who would change popular music and write his name into the history of literature stayed in a state-owned hotel in Glasgow. No plaque on the outside walls, no suite of rooms carrying his name, not even a framed copy of his signature from the guest register.

Robert Allen Zimmerman would have signed it with the name everyone knows him by: Bob Dylan. It was 55 years ago this week and just six days before he would celebrate his 25th birthday. It was his first visit to Scotland although he would return many times more and in many different guises, when he would always be lauded and not booed and shirricked as he would be in his Glasgow performance.

Dylan and his backing group, still called The Hawks – their rechristening as The Band was to come – arrived on May 18, 1966, when Dylan wrote and jammed in the unidentified room of the North British Hotel on George Square, then owned by British Rail and now the Millennium.

He and the band knew what to expect in the evening when they played a 12-set at the Odeon.

READ MORE: Rosemary Goring: The trials and tribulations of living with a Bob Dylan addict

It was the “Judas” tour, one that had taken them all over the world, from Honolulu to Sydney and to the previous gig at the Manchester Free Trade Hall where someone had screamed that at Dylan. He replied “I don’t believe you, you’re a liar”, before telling the Hawks to turn up the volume before cascading into Like A Rolling Stone.

Prior to the 1966 tour Dylan had been the idol of the folk purists, the Aran jumper brigade, the students in corduroy jackets and cavalry twills who gathered in hushed reverence in smoky rooms to listen to his music.

Then he met The Hawks, plugged in a Fender Telecaster and horrified his previous idolisers.

Good folk of Hibbing

HIS roots were in folk music, and particularly Scottish music as every performer who emerged in the revival had a debt to. He had dabbled in rock ’n’ roll in bands at Hibbing High School before moving to the University of Minnesota where he performed as a solo folk act at a coffee house next to the campus, and where he changed his stage name to Dylan.

But in May 1960 – the month figures frequently in Dylan’s life – he dropped out of college at the end of his first year then travelled to New York in January 1961, where he performed in clubs in Greenwich Village, picking up on the Irish and Scottish folk songs he heard. In September, he signed to Columbia. His first eponymous album, released in 1962, sold just 5000 copies in the first year.

It did include the song Pretty Pegg-O, based on The Bonny Lass O’ Fyvie, the earliest of Dylan’s Scottish-inspired songs.

His girlfriend then was Joan Baez, better-known than him at the time and a mentor as well as a lover. Baez’ mother, also Joan (neé Bridge), known as “Big Joan”, was from Edinburgh. She lived to be 100, dying in 2013.

Girl of the North Country, on 1963’s The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan has the loose melody from the Scottish tune Cambric Shirt. Lay Down Your Weary Tune, from the 1964 album The Times They Are A-Changin’, is also believed to have been inspired by a Scottish folk tune that Dylan was played by Baez.

In June 1966, Dylan had his serious motorbike accident – or did he? It’s never been satisfactorily explained – just a month after the release of his massive and arguably best album, Blonde on Blonde.

In his seclusion period, Dylan recorded more than 100 songs at his Woodstock home and in the basement of The Hawks’ nearby house, Big Pink (which would become the title of the The Band’s first album).

Trad Scots influence

HE also recorded the stripped-back, sparse recovery album John Wesley Harding in Nashville. One of the songs, I Pity The Poor Immigrant, is a straight pinch, with Dylan variations, of course, from Come All Ye Tramps and Hawkers, a traditional song performed by Jimmy McBeath, a Scottish traveller from Portsoy, who probably pinched it from someone else.

Dylan was also a regular collector of ideas, influences and melodies. The final song on his 1997 album Time Out Of Mind is inspired by the Robert Burns poem My Heart’s In The Highlands. He has said that Burns is his greatest inspiration, claiming that the poem A Red, Red Rose had the greatest impact on his life.

Dylan had made his first little-noticed trip to the UK from December 1962 to January 1963 and first performed, at the end of a play on TV, Blowin’ In The Wind.

But the May 1966 arrival in Glasgow was his first to Scotland.

By the time that he and The Hawks arrived they were used to the jeers and the boos – they just turned up the volume and ignored it.

From the darling of the folk purists he had become an object of pure hatred –and the barracking had become part of the spectacle. Glasgow’s Young Socialists even dragooned as many members as they could to go along and heckle.

There were four songs in the solo first set, including Desolation Row and Mr Tambourine Man, and then he went electric, opening with Tell Me, Momma and finishing with Like A Rolling Stone.

There were some walkouts and chants of “We want Dylan”, to which he replied: “Dylan got sick backstage. I’m here to take his place.”

Traitor, says waiter

THERE is footage of him with Robbie Robertson, in the hotel bedroom in the North British prior to the show, playing an unreleased song, What Kind Of Friend Is This?

The room was later to be the scene of a sadly typical Glasgow event. A waiter arrived at the door bringing food and suddenly screamed “f*** him” at Dylan, accusing him of being “a f****** traitor to folk music”.

Dylan’s driver-bodyguard, Tom Keylock, bundled the man out of the room. He later recalled: “He pulls a knife on me. I’ve still got the scar

to prove it. So I gave him a good kicking.”

The band’s tour bus was also attacked, with recording and hi-fi equipment stolen.

It was Edinburgh the next day, before heading for London and a birthday gig at the Albert Hall winding up the tour. An unreleased documentary of it, Eat The Document, directed by Dylan and edited by him, was commissioned by ABC TV but it was deemed incomprehensible – surely that was the point? – by the station and never released.

Venture capital

IN one scene, shot just before his departure to Edinburgh, Dylan is seen watching police dog handlers in George Square with pipes skirling off-camera, probably from a police band. As he gets into the car to leave the city, a bunch of kids surround him waving autograph books (this pre-dated selfies!).

He asks them if they were at the gig the night before and if they had booed. They vigorously deny it. “I want the names of all the people who booed,” he jokes before driving off.

In 2004, Dylan accepted an honorary degree, Doctor of Music, from St Andrews University – he only accepted one other, from Princeton – and he turned up to receive it, acknowledging the debt to Scottish music surely, although the enigmatic Mr Dylan did not speak, but then the protocol dictated that he shouldn’t.

By all accounts he was chatty and signed autographs as well as congratulating other graduates.

Dylan’s biographer Michael Gray believes that it was “a way of recognising the importance of Scottish culture in his work”.

That same year, 2004, Dylan admitted that his song The Times They Are A-Changin’ was inspired by a Scottish one, probably Hamish Henderson’s The 51st (Highland) Division’s Farewell To Sicily. Another, The Walls Of Red Wing, which appeared on one of the bootleg albums, takes the tune of The Road & The Miles To Dundee.

Ballad In Plain D, from his fourth album, Another Side Of Bob Dylan, is based on the bothy ballad My Last Farewell To Stirling, about a poacher sentenced to 20 years’ transportation to Australia.

Fifty-five years after he played Glasgow and Edinburgh, on May 24, Bob Dylan turns 80. He is one of the greatest writers and performers of our time, constantly reinventing, never static, a peerless artist. A man o’ pairts, Burns would have called him. We can assert that one of them, however minor, was created in Scotland.