Photo Credit: Ann Larie Valentine
Screenshot from Don't Look Back - Bob Dylan documentary

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton on Saturday proclaimed December 10 “Bob Dylan Day,” in honor of the native son, legendary (Jewish) singer-songwriter’s winning the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature for creating “new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”

Bob Dylan was born Robert Allen Zimmerman in Duluth, Minnesota, May 24, 1941. He graduated from Hibbing High School in 1959, and attended the University of Minnesota, but not for very long.


“Bob Dylan was a true son of the Iron Range in his independence, his talent, and his ability to triumph over adversity,” Governor Mark Dayton proclaimed, according to KQDS. “He spoke to a generation of young Americans, myself included, who were engaged in an unending war in Vietnam, the fight for civil rights, and the rapid changes in our society. Dylan’s influence on American music and culture will be long-lasting.”

Dylan, meanwhile, did not attend the ceremony on Saturday in Stockholm, and sent as his proxy American singer Patti Smith, 69, who got so excited, she forgot the lyric “I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin'” from the Nobel laureate’s A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall:

Oh, what did you see, my blue-eyed son? Oh, what did you see, my darling young one? I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin’ I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin’ I saw a white ladder all covered with water I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Patti Smith apologized profusely, explaining, “I am so nervous.”

Which could have been avoided had Dylan not been such a so and so and just showed up for the ceremony. Hey, President Obama showed up, and he hadn’t done anything at that point.

Also, Literature? How is Dylan getting a prize for literature when he’s a songwriter? Who makes the decisions over there, the Norwegian parliament? (Yes).

Dylan is the second Minnesota resident to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, along with Sinclair Lewis, who was the first American ever to receive it, in 1930. Dylan is the 12th American to receive the award, even though he doesn’t do literature, like we said already.

In the immortal words of another, greater singer-songwriter, the late John Lennon: “I don’t believe in Zimmerman…”


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