Minnesota governor, Duluth mayor honor Nobel-winner Dylan

Reporters and others who had gathered at the Swedish Academy's headquarters reacted with a loud cheer as the name of the singer and songwriter was read out.

Dylan is the first musician to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Dylan was said to have had his "finger on the pulse of [his] generation", and today's dads are among (or somewhat close to) said generation.

The 75-year-old continues to write and perform music, and is now on U.S. tour, slated to play at Las Vegas' Cosmopolitan Hotel later tonight.

The announcement angered some literary figures but seemed to please far more. "How many years can some people exist/Before they're allowed to be free?" he asked, and told the establishment that "The Times They Are a-Changin".

His songs can be snarling and accusatory ("Idiot Wind", "Positively 4th Street"); apocalyptic ("A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall"); dense and hallucinatory ("Desolation Row"); tender and wistful ("Visions of Johanna"); bracingly topical ("Hurricane" and "Only a Pawn in Their Game"); and enigmatic and absurdist ("Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again").

"Blowin" in the Wind" captured the hopes of the "60s civil rights movement, yet sounded as if it had been handed down through the oral tradition from another century, with lines like: "How many times must the cannon balls fly before they're forever banned?"

For many songwriters, "the music is first and the lyrics are slapped on top of it", he said.

To your mind, is this just about Dylan, or does this award in some way open the door to songwriters to be thought of in the way that you're talking about? I don't think Bob Dylan is bad - his music is an acquired taste, certainly, but he's written some wonderful songs, which clearly have great historical significance.

An unconventional singer - with a raspy, nearly nasal voice instead of honeyed tones - burst into public consciousness in the early 1960s with a brace of self-written, hard-hitting songs expressing the growing social unrest and questioning tradition and injustice. Though he and his work have been recognised worldwide with honorary degrees and citations, not to mention millions of record sales and countless covers by other singers, many considered the Nobel Prize beyond him.

But Scottish novelist Irvine Welsh snarled: "I'm a Dylan fan, but this is an ill conceived nostalgia award wrenched from the rancid prostates of senile, gibbering hippies".

In 1965 Dylan's first British tour was captured in the classic documentary "Don't Look Back" -the same year he outraged his folk fans by using an electric guitar at the Newport Folk Festival on Rhode Island.

Dylan was born in Duluth, Minnessota on May 24, 1941 and raised in a Jewish middle-class family.

By his early 20s, he had taken the folk music world by storm. "And for 54 years, he's been at it, reinventing himself, creating a new identity".

Finally - and I know this is a subject I tend to go on about a lot, so I'll keep it brief - this is very much a decision that reflects how predominant the cultural hegemony of the 1960s remains.

Dylan already was the only rock star to receive a Pulitzer Prize (an honorary one), and is, in fact, an author, too: He was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle prize for his memoir, "Chronicles: Volume One". He also won the Pulitizer Prize in 2008 for his contributions to music and American culture.

In his will, prize founder Alfred Nobel wrote that the literature award should go "to the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction". By a sad coincidence, Fo died Thursday at age 90.

The literature award was the last of this year's Nobel Prizes to be announced.

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