Monday, October 17, 2016

NOBEL PRIZE - For Literature Goes to Bob Dylan

"American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan wins Nobel Prize in literature" by Larisa Epatko, PBS NewsHour 10/13/2016

He's gotten a presidential honor and performed for a pope.  Now musician Bob Dylan has won the Nobel Prize in literature.

When naming Dylan as the recipient on Thursday, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said he was granted the award “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”

Dylan, 75, has performed his unique blend of guitar, insightful lyrics and what some might consider inscrutable vocals for more than 50 years.

“He is a great poet in the English-speaking tradition and he is a wonderful sampler, he embodies the tradition.  And for 54 years he's been at it and constantly reinventing himself,” said Sara Danius, permanent secretary at the Swedish Academy, after the announcement.  Watch her full interview, where she compares Dylan to the ancient Greek poets.

Dylan's early songs such as “Blowing in the Wind” and “The Times They Are a-Changin” represented the civil rights era of the 1960s.  He famously switched to performing on electric guitar, one of the first among the nation's leading folk musicians, at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival.

“It's a pivotal moment in rock ‘n' roll history,” said Elyse Luray of PBS' History Detectives, which explored the whereabouts of Dylan's guitar, in a 2012 PBS NewsHour interview.  “After Dylan plugs in and goes electric, we start seeing the movement of blues coming into rock ‘n' roll.  And at the same time he's changing, we have the Rolling Stones coming in and changing, we have Hendrix changing.”

Dylan writings include an experimental prose poetry collection called “Tarantula,” published in 1971.

In 1988, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Ohio.  In addition to 11 Grammy Awards for his music, Dylan won an Academy Award in 2000 and Golden Globe the following year for best original song “Things Have Changed” from the movie “Wonder Boys.”

He is the first American to win the Nobel Prize in literature since novelist Toni Morrison in 1993.

"Nobel honors Bob Dylan, bard for a changing world" PBS NewsHour 10/13/2016


SUMMARY:  By any measure, Bob Dylan is one of the most important and influential popular songwriters of his era.  Now he's also a Nobel laureate in literature, a choice that came as a surprise.  Jeffrey Brown talks to singer/songwriter James Taylor and others about the way Dylan's writing helped so many navigate a changing world.

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