Some hippie with long hair and a guitar just won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Take that, squares.
The great Bob Dylan has just been announced as this year’s recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, thanks to his incredible six decade-long career that has included penning some of the world’s most beautiful poetry. He just happened to set it to guitar.
The 75-year-old musician is the first American to receive the honour since novelist Toni Morrison‘s win in 1993. Dylan’s win comes as a surprise, with musicians almost never taking home the coveted title, which typically goes to authors of novels, poetry and short stories.
The Swedish Academy that oversees the Nobel Prize said that Dylan’s work has “created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.” The Academy compared Dylan’s writings to Homer or Sappho, with his win signalling ‘the times, they are a changin.’ Well played, Academics.
Dylan, born Robert Allen Zimmerman in 1941, became a part of the anti-war movement in the early 1960s thanks to his folk songs “Blowing In The Wind,” “The Times They Are A-Changing” and “Like A Rolling Stone.”
Dylan’s art spread beyond the boundaries of ‘just a musician,’ with eleven Grammy wins, 100 million albums sold and six published books of drawings and paintings. In 2012, President Barack Obama awarded Dylan the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest award that can be given to a civilian for their efforts in peace keeping.
Dylan’s influence can be heard in the music of his peers and today’s biggest artists, including The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Cash, U2, Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, Jeff Buckley, and more.
In addition to his impact on songwriting, Dylan’s songs are a favourite for many singers to cover. During one of her four sold out concerts in Toronto last week, Adele performed a cover of Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love,” which appears on her debut album 19. Miley Cyrus has covered Dylan numerous times in concert, including her most recent appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, where she performed the 1962 track “Baby, I’m In The Mood For You.”
Rock on, Bob Dylan.