Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize turns five

Five years ago today Bob Dylan won a Nobel Prize in literature. How mind boggling is it that someone who, until not so long ago, was reviled by the establishment, portrayed as a drug addict (which to be fait wasn't without merit), dismissed as a mere figure of a shallow sub-culture, the icon of an ephemeral counter-culture which produced nothing?

But even some rock fans are quick to shrug off Dylan. He can't sing. He doesn't write stadium anthems. He doesn't look like a Rock God.

In a way, we all like to think of rock n'roll, pop music, or whatever you want to call it, as the ugly bastard child. The outcast. The one that doesn't fit in, doesn't care about accolades, prizes, decorations. But legitimacy is important. Recognition is important.

Bob Dylan being a Nobel laureate is important for rock n'roll. Seeing Jimmy Page's double neck Gibson SG at the Metropolitan Museum in New York is important for rock n'roll. Alice Cooper playing golf with heads of states is important for rock n'roll. Lou Reed being given the Légion d'Honneur in France is important for rock n'roll. Mick Jagger being knighted is important for rock n'roll.

It proves that those three-minute ditties by Chuck Berry aren't just disposable artifacts. It paves the way for every other purveyors of electric thrills. It legitimizes guys with long hair and girls with short skirts. It proves that the music we love, that has been ignored, mocked, outlawed at times, is as worthy as James Joyce's Ulysses or Mozart's Requiem. We knew that. The world is catching on, and it's a good thing.

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