Legendary American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan has a new accolade to add to his resume: a Nobel Prize. Dylan was named the winner for the Nobel Prize for Literature for his poetic lyrics, a major component of why he is regarded a music icon.
Dylan seemed an unlikely choice for the honor,seeing as the committee traditionally recognizes authors of poetry, novels and short stories, rather than lyrical compositions. However, the esteemed panel saw the musician’s work as worthy.
Sara Danius of the Swedish Academy, the group which presents the award, praised Dylan for his ability to bring expressive and important poetry to music, saying, “If you look back, far back, 2,500 years or so, you discover Homer and Sappho and they wrote poetic texts that were meant to be listened to, that were meant to be performed, often with instruments. And it’s the same way with Bob Dylan.”
The folk singer’s songs have become cultural anthems during various eras, especially throughout the turbulent 1960s. Some of his biggest hits like “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “The Times They Are a-Changin'” have become synonymous with political and social protest to parallel the world’s issues fifty years ago.
While some may not believe Dylan, 75, was the most viable choice for the honor, it does not take away from his impressive career as a songwriter. He has penned over 500 tunes which were recorded by either himself or other notable artists such as B.B. King, George Harrison and Johnny Cash.
The Nobel Prize is the latest major award for Dylan, who has received 11 Grammys, a Golden Globe, an Oscar, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom over the course of his career. He has also been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame. He is among the world’s best-selling artists of all time, with over 120 million records sold.
He is the first American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in nearly 20 years and is the 108th recipient overall.