During a time when the news and social media is crammed with bullshit about who is the lesser of the evils in the presidential race, I was especially thrilled to read something positive this morning: rock and roll legend Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Since 1901, the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded 109 times to 113 Nobel Laureates and the last time an American won was novelist Toni Morrison in 1993. While there is no question that Dylan is one of the world’s most significant musicians in history, it was so nice to read that he was awarded a prize for, according to the Swedish Academy, “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”
Born Robert Allen Zimmerman, Dylan has been part of the rock and roll lexicon for over five decades. He music and lyrics touch on a number of genres and he was considered the voice of a generation during the civil rights and anti-war movements in the 1960s. When performing he plays three instruments – guitar, keyboards, and harmonica – but is known more for his songwriting than his singing or playing. Dylan’s contributions to the world of art include six published books of drawings and paintings, and he has sold over 100 million records as a musician.
Although the Nobel Prize is probably considered the most coveted, Dylan is no stranger to awards. In May 2012, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama. In 2008, the Pulitzer Prize jury awarded him a special citation for “his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power.”
One of the best-selling artists of all time, he has earned eleven Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and an Academy Award. He has also been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Minnesota Music Hall of Fame, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Congratulations Mr. Dylan! Thanks for all the incredible music and for influencing writers everywhere to do their very best.