Bob Dylan has won the Nobel Prize of Literature, becoming the first and only singer-songwriter to bag the award.
Dylan, 75, has been regarded as the voice of a generation for his influential songs from the 1960s onward, Reuters reports.
He was cited for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”.
Dylan joins a distinguished company — Winston Churchill, Thomas Mann and Rudyard Kipling — as Nobel a laureate.
The announcement was met with gasps in Stockholm’s stately Royal Academy hall, followed — unusually — by some laughter.
Dylan’s songs, such as “Blowin’ in the Wind”, “The Times They Are a-Changin’”, “Subterranean Homesick Blues” and “Like a Rolling Stone” captured a spirit of rebellion, dissent and independence.
More than 50 years on, Dylan is still writing songs and is often on tour, performing his dense poetic lyrics, sung in a sometimes rasping voice that has been ridiculed by detractors.
Some lyrics have resonated for decades.
“Blowin’ in the Wind”, written in 1962, was considered one of the most eloquent folk songs of all time.
“The Times They Are A-Changin’”, in which Dylan told Americans “your sons and your daughters are beyond your command”, was an anthem of the civil rights movement and Vietnam War protests.
Awarding the 8 million Swedish crown (US$930,000) prize, the Swedish Academy said: “Dylan has the status of an icon. His influence on contemporary music is profound.”
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