It was announced last week that Bob Dylan will receive the Medal of Freedom. This award goes to those that have “made a lasting contribution to the life of our nation”. And while there’s clearly no doubt that Bob Dylan should be honored, I’m wondering if Bob has had enough of the honors. I can virtually hear him mumbling “I’m not dead yet”. Here is a small list of honorary awards Bob Dylan has been bequeathed in just the past ten years.
2002 Inducted Nashville Songwriters Hall Of Fame2002, Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan chosen by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry 2004 Honorary Doctorate Of Music St. Andrews University Scotland 2007 Prince Of Asturias Awards (Spain) 2008 Pulitzer Prize Special Citations and Awards 2009 National Medal of Arts This doesn’t even include music related awards from The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, Grammys, Academy Awards and Billboard lifetime achievement awards. The same can be said for Paul McCartney and Paul Simon both receiving numerous lifetime achievement awards Bruce Springsteen and Bono are not far behind and perhaps we will live to see Jay-Z and Kanye West honored. John Lennon famously returned his MBE medal that he received as a member of The Beatles in 1965.
“Lennon decided that he had sold out to the Establishment and returned his MBE to Her Majesty 25th November 1969 as part of ongoing peace protests masterminded with Yoko Ono.”
In an accompanying letter Lennon said: “Your Majesty, I am returning my MBE as a protest against Britain’s involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam and against ‘Cold Turkey’ slipping down the charts. With Love, John Lennon.”
Years later he was quoted as saying: “Lots of people who complained about us getting the MBE received theirs for heroism in the war.
“They got them for killing people. We deserved ours for not killing people. In a way it was hypocritical of me to accept it.”
And while artists accepting these awards is in no way hypocritical or bombastic or undeserved, I do feel like there is an overabundance of Lifetime achievement awards…and awards in general. I get that we want to honor those artists that we love before they are gone but they are still creating new and vital music. It’s by no means over for Bob Dylan. In fact a new Dylan album is coming out later this year. I can’t wait.