Musicians React To Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize In Literature News

Written by | October 16, 2016 8:15 am | No Comments


Dylan at Desert Trip


Everyone has an opinion on Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize in Literature, the choice was heavily criticized on social media and obviously a lot of authors were not very happy and felt robbed. I was curious to read about other musicians’ reactions, but it turned out to be what everyone could have expected: an unanimous congratulating choir.

According to Ultimate Classic Rock the always very opinionated Gene Simmons gave his take on the surprising news:

‘Those lyrics Instead of wagging his finger into people’s faces, it seems to me that those lyrics are more about self observing,’ said the Kiss frontman. ‘Observations on what he saw that was going on all around him. So, very few of the songs were about moon and June, and you broke my heart – like so many songs are. … Dylan never played by those rules…’ ‘Bob didn’t even play by Bob Dylan’s rules, he kept doing new versions of whatever he felt, He’s a folkie, then he plugs in and goes electric – even if his fans turned on him. How f—ing cool is that? He will go what he wants to do. So very few artists have a word that’s attached to them that’s called integrity. … Not many like him.’

Simmons admires Dylan for his work and everything he says is true but how does all this apply to a Nobel  Prize in Literature recipient? He is talking about a rebellious musician even if he is mentioning the lyrics. ‘He was booed off the stage,’ added  Simmons. ‘He didn’t care. He was going, ‘This is what I want to do.’ And that’s the best thing.’ Again what does this have to do with literature? Simmons only cares about Dylan’s boldness and arrogance, a typical reaction from the Kiss man.

‘How cool is it for an arrogant guy who couldn’t give a s— what anybody else thought – and, to this day, marches to the beat of his own drummer?’ added Simmons. ‘He continues to play by his own rules, in the grand tradition of the Greeks: ‘To thine own self be true.’ And the rest of the world, be damned. No matter what’s popular, through disco and through metal, through pop and through this era, Bob Dylan is Bob Dylan. He is his own definition. How grand is that?’ I will stop there but Simmons is an idiot if he thinks this is why Dylan deserved the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Leonard Cohen, a giant of the music world, who was reported not feeling too well lately, found time to comment on the news to NME  at a playback and Q&A for his forthcoming album in LA: ‘To me [the award] is like pinning a medal on Mount Everest for being the highest mountain.’ Although this could be interpreted a bit ironically, I bet Cohen meant it was well deserved.

Tom Waits posted the following declaration on social media: ‘Congrats from Tom and Kathleen to Bob Dylan on Winning the Nobel Prize: It’s a great day for Literature and for Bob when a Master of its original form is celebrated. Before epic tales and poems were ever written down, they migrated on the winds of the human voice and no voice is greater than Dylan’s.’

And the rest of the music world had only praises… from George Harrison estate: ‘Many congratulations to ‪@bobdylan on the Nobel Prize for Literature!’ From Dave Stewart: ‘I Love This’, from Rosanne Cash: ‘ Holy mother of god. Bob Dylan wins the Nobel Prize’. From Stevie Van Zandt: ‘Congratulations Bob! You made all our lives better. Thank you for the warning about what was to come (Subterranean Homesick Blues)‪’. And I could go on and on, all musicians are applauding

Bob was himself about to play at Desert Trip with the titans of rock & roll when the news dropped, and Mick Jagger had a few funny lines delivered with his well-known British humor: ‘I want to thank Bob Dylan for an amazing set,’ he said. ‘We have never shared the stage with a Nobel Prize winner before. Bob is like our own Walt Whitman.’  A clever literary reference from smart ass Jagger. And Keith Richards added his opinion which was also very positive: ‘I can’t think of anybody that deserved it better.’

Really Keith? Because you are aware of what is really happening in the world of literature? But I don’t blame him, who has time to read books, real heavy books these days?

As for Dylan himself he didn’t react much to the Nobel announcement, and as expected he did not say much. According to the Chicago Tribune, his setlist (which included ‘Ballad of a Thin Man’, ‘Like a Rolling Stone’, ‘Masters of War’, ‘Why Try to Change Me Now’) was his reaction ‘as a week ago he had completely bypassed the pop standards. According to Billboard ‘Dylan looked ever-so-slightly cockier Friday night, going bare-chested under his suit jacket, and at one point smiled alongside lead guitarist Charlie Sexton with his mic stand tilted asymmetrically, as if he were Steven Tyler for a second’

So this is how Dylan celebrated his Nobel Prize in Literature? By feeling like Steven Tyler? Do you even realize the implication of saying this? Writers who write books, 200-300 page-long books, do not look like rock stars, they never really feel close to that when they sweat in front of their computer screens, delete files then cry for days, recover their deleted files and rework them while chewing on some cold leftovers.

I don’t mean by this that Dylan had never suffered while writing a song, but writing a book or writing a song are two completely different things.

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