Earlier on Thursday, Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, the first time the honor has been received by a musician. The Swedish Academy credited the rock legend with “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”
With Dylan’s win, the dividing lines of literature are now blurred as there is now and argument as to whether song lyrics have the same artistic significance as poetry, novels or traditional literary works. Bruce Springsteen, who was compared to and influenced by Dylan throughout his career, released this statement congratulating his idol:
Congratulations to Bob Dylan on being award the Nobel Prize in Literature. The following is a passage from Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography Born To Run:
Bob Dylan is the father of my country. Highway 61 Revisited and Bringing It All Back Home were not only great records, but they were the first time I can remember being exposed to a truthful vision of the place I lived. The darkness and light were all there, the veil of illusion and deception ripped aside. He put his boot on the stultifying politeness and daily routine that covered corruption and decay. The world he described was all on view, in my little town, and spread out over the television that beamed into our isolated homes, but it went uncommented on and silently tolerated. He inspired me and gave me hope. He asked the questions everyone else was too frightened to ask, especially to a fifteen-year-old: “How does it feel… to be on your own?” A seismic gap had opened up between generations and you suddenly felt orphaned, abandoned amid the flow of history, your compass spinning, internally homeless. Bob pointed true north and served as a beacon to assist you in making your way through the new wilderness America had become. He planted a flag, wrote the songs, sang the words that were essential to the times, to the emotional and spiritual survival of so many young Americans at that moment.
I had the opportunity to sing “The Times They Are A-Changin’ ” for Bob when he received the Kennedy Center Honors. We were alone together for a brief moment walking down a back stairwell when he thanked me for being there and said, “If there’s anything I can ever do for you . . .” I thought, “Are you kidding me?” and answered, “It’s already been done.
Hear classic music from Bruce Springsteen on E Street Radio (Ch. 20).
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