Bob Dylan performs with his band at the 34th annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, April 25, 2003. .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
STOCKHOLM - Bob Dylan has won the Nobel Prize for Literature "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition," the Swedish Academy said on Thursday in awarding the 8 million Swedish crown ($927,740) prize.
Literature was the last of this year's Nobel prizes to be awarded. The prize is named after dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel and has been awarded since 1901 for achievements in science, literature and peace in accordance with his will.
Born Robert Allen Zimmerman and raised Jewish in Wisconsin, Dylan has maintained Israel ties throughout his life. He visited the country several times in the late 1960s and 1970s and even took steps toward joining a kibbutz. He played three shows in Israel in 1987, 1993 and 2011. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement pressed him to cancel his most recent performance — to no avail.
Even more recently, Israelis can thank Dylan for the 2014 Rolling Stones concert in Tel Aviv, the band’s first visit to the country. According to Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood, Dylan gave them the idea.
His songs such as "Blowin' in the Wind," "Masters of War," "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall," "The Times They Are a-Changin," "Subterranean Homesick Blues" and "Like a Rolling Stone" captured a spirit of rebellion, dissent and independence.
"Dylan has the status of an icon. His influence on contemporary music is profound," the Swedish Academy said on Thursday.
More than 50 years on, Dylan is still writing songs and is often on tour.
"He is probably the greatest living poet," Swedish Academy member Per Wastberg said.
Sara Danius, Permanent Secretary of the Nobel Academy, told a news conference there was "great unity" in the panel's decision to give Dylan the prize.GABE FRIEDMAN/JTA contributed to this report.