Bob Dylan Wins the Nobel Prize for Literature

So Zimmy is now a Nobel laureate having been awarded the 2016 prize for Literature. This no doubt annoys some high-forehead purists who believe that rock’n’roll will forever be a vulgar artform–if it’s an artform at all.

Calm down, freaked-out elitists. Bob Dylan has long been worthy of such an honour. As the single most important individual singer-songwriter of the 20th century, his songs–poetry, political commentary, social activism, anti-war sentiments, civil rights issues–have influenced countless other musicians (beginning with the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix and extending to Springsteen and then every subsequent singer-songwriter with something to say). Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were brought together by two things: computers and Dylan records. And how many political and social activist types were inspired by Dylan’s words and music?

The Nobel Committee summed it up like this: Dylan needs to be recognized “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”

As for rock fans, this is definitely a big deal. When Dylan released “Like a Rolling Stone” in 1965, rock’n’roll was looked upon as ephemeral, disposal music for kids. It wasn’t a “serious” or “proper” form of expression. But after albums like Highway 61 Revisited, the status quo began to take this music seriously. The “rock’n’roll” of the 50s and early 60s became known as “rock” as it morphed into an “acceptable” artform. This award completes a 50-year quest for rock’s legitimacy as art.

Zimmy a Noel laureate? Absolutely. A thought: How many years will it before for a hip hop artist is acknowledged in the same way?

Further coverage here.

PS: I’m off to Desert Trip in California where Dylan will perform his first show since receiving his Nobel. That should be interesting.

 

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

2 thoughts on “Bob Dylan Wins the Nobel Prize for Literature

  • October 14, 2016 at 12:01 pm
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    saw him perform in San Francisco a few years ago……As far as a singer……….he is a great songwriter indeed. 🙂 Hope your not disappointed with the performance Alan, If you remember he is a living legend of sorts, you will enjoy it< at least, I did.

    Reply
  • October 15, 2016 at 5:11 pm
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    How many of these whining fictional novelists have changed the world with their work during their careers?? Dylan changed the world and left a lasting legacy. He deserves it.

    Reply

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