October 13: 75-year-old American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan on Thursday, was announced as the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature 2016. The ‘Blowing in the Wind’ singer and writer has been awarded the highest literary honour “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”, the Nobel Foundation announced Thursday. The Nobel prize in literature is usually awarded in the same week as the science medals, but this year, there has been a delay in the announcement, which had lead to many different speculations about 2016’s winner. Of course, there was considerable excitement as to the news as well.
According to a Guardian report, Sara Danils, permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy describes Dylan as “A great sampler … and for 54 years he has been at it, reinventing himself”, adding, “An extraordinary example of his brilliant way of rhyming. putting together refrains, and his brilliant way of thinking.” Dylan has been an influential figure in popular music and culture across the globe, for over five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s and a lot of his songs including ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ and the ‘The Times they are a changin’ had even become anthems of the American civil rights and anit-war movements. ALSO READ: Bob Dylan birthday special: Watch tell-all interview of the singing legend!
Bob Dylan was born Robert Allen Zimmerman in 1941. He began his music career in 1959, with singing in cafes in Minnesotta. Beacsue of the reflections of history seen in his songs, Dylan is regarded as something of an informal historian of America’s troubles. However, in recent times, Dylan moved away from traditional folk and started with electric guitar- a move, which nonetheless, proved to be equally influential. Dylan is the first song writer to win a Nobel Prize. However, his name has made regular appearance in the betting odds, year after year, with speculations about his win, pretty high. In fact, people had put their odds on him so often that him winning the Nobel Prize had become a long running joke.
Dylan’s lyrics incorporate various political, social, philosophical, and literary influences. His music defied existing pop music conventions and appealed to the growing counter culture. Amongst his inspirations, have been the performance of Little Richard and the songwriting of Woody Guthrie, Robert Johnson, and Hank Williams. However, Bob Dylan worked towards amplifying and personalizing music genres. During his career spanning over 50 years, Dylan has dabbled with various genres, including, folk, blues and country, even gospel, rock and roll, and rock ability, besides English, Irish and Scottish folk music.