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Bob Dylan Nobel Lecture Answers Critics, Lets Him Keep Gold

20 Juin 2017

Bob Dylan is notoriously private, to such a point that he refused to attend the official Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm in favour of a private meeting during his tour stop. Everything I wasn't and wanted to be. In a warm, raspy delivery, with lounge-style piano in the background, he called Buddy Holly his first musical hero, praised his "imaginative verses" and remembered seeing him in concert not long before Holly died in a 1959 plane crash. "I must have played that record a hundred times", Dylan continued. He was powerful and electrifying and had a commanding presence.

"When I first received this Nobel Prize for Literature, I got to wondering exactly how my songs related to literature", Dylan said.

The lecture can take almost any form, including a short speech, a performance, a video broadcast or even a song, and must be held within six months of December 10, the date of the Nobel prize ceremony and the anniversary of the death of the prize's founder Alfred Nobel.

And to those who think that they can differentiate between a song and its lyrics, Dylan says: "Songs are unlike literature".

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But Nobel laureates need to give a lecture within six months from the December 10 award ceremony in order to receive the monetary prize of more than $900,000. In the lecture, the musician listed Herman Melville's Moby Dick, Homer's The Odyssey and Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front as the books that have inspired him through his life, and goes on to insist that writing songs that move people is far more important than penning tunes that make sense to the listener. And they can mean a lot of different things. "I don't have to know what a song means", Dylan says. I've written all kinds of things into my songs and I'm not going to worry about it, what it all means'.

The Swedish Academy's permanent secretary Sara Danius said in a statement published on the Academy's website that "The speech is extraordinary and, as one might expect, eloquent".

Find the entire lecture here.

Bob Dylan Nobel Lecture Answers Critics, Lets Him Keep Gold