NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Greenwich Village is beaming with pride after its one-time resident, Bob Dylan, took home the 2016 Nobel Prize in literature on Thursday.
For the first time the prestigious award was bestowed on a musician for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”
The legendary poet-musician was born on May 24, 1941, in Duluth, Minnesota. He moved to New York City in the early 1960s, settling down at a home on West 4th Street, which is believed to be the inspiration for his song “Positively 4th Street.” The 1963 cover photo for Dylan’s second studio album “The Freewheelin Bob Dylan” was taken nearby.
1010 WINS’ Al Jones visited West 4th Street, where many said they grew up listening to Dylan’s music.
“Remarkable guy, his words changed my whole life,” one man, named Ian, said.
“I was thrilled, the guy has influenced me, my generation,” said Village resident Eric Fishel.
Dylan, born Robert Zimmerman, had been mentioned in the Nobel speculation for years, but few experts expected the academy to extend the prestigious award to a genre such as popular music. The recognition is “vindication” for Gordon Ball, an English professor in Virginia who nominated the singer-songwriter 15 years in a row beginning in 1996.
Dylan’s impact on popular culture was immense and his influence as a lyricist extends to every major music figure and songwriter of the last 50 years.
By his early 20s, he had taken the folk music world by storm. From that time on, he would constantly reinvent himself — often enraging followers in the process — but then later winning them back and adding new admirers. His career was such a complicated pastiche of elusive, ever-changing styles that it took six actors to portray him in the 2007 movie based on his life, “I’m Not There.”
He won an Academy Award in 2001 for the song “Things Have Changed” and received a lifetime achievement award from the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in 1991. In 2008, he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his contributions to music and American culture.
Dylan is the most unorthodox Nobel literature prize winner since 1997, when the award went to Italian playwright Dario Fo, whose works some say also need to be performed to be fully appreciated. By a sad coincidence, Fo died Thursday at age 90.
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