Bob Dylan is widely regarded as the most influential poet-musician of his generation.
He earned that distinction, in part, because his protest songs such as “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “The Times They Are A-Changin'” became anthems for the U.S. anti-war and civil rights movements of the 1960s.
Dylan’s body of work earned him the Nobel Prize in literature on Thursday—becoming the first musician to receive the award. He is also the first American winner of the Nobel literature prize since Toni Morrison in 1993. The academy commended him for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”
“Mr. Tambourine Man” 1965
“Though I know that evenings empire has returned into sand
Vanished from my hand
Left me blindly here to stand but still not sleeping
My weariness amazes me, I’m branded on my feet
I have no one to meet
And the ancient empty street’s too dead for dreaming”
“Like a rolling stone” 1965
“Ahh you’ve gone to the finest schools, alright Miss Lonely
But you know you only used to get juiced in it
Nobody’s ever taught you how to live out on the street
And now you’re gonna have to get used to it
You say you never compromise
With the mystery tramp, but now you realize
He’s not selling any alibis
As you stare into the vacuum of his eyes
And say do you want to make a deal?
How does it feel, how does it feel?
To be on your own, with no direction home
A complete unknown, like a rolling stone”
“I shall be released” 1968
“They say every man needs protection,
They say every man must fall.
Yet I swear I see my reflection
Some place so high above this wall.
I see my light come shining
From the west onto the east.
Any day now, any day how,
I shall be released.”
“A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” 1963
“Oh, what did you see, my blue eyed son?
And what did you see, my darling young one?
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin’
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin’
I saw a white ladder all covered with water
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.”
“Subterranean Homesick Blues” 1965
“Johny’s in the basement
Mixing up the medicine
I’m on the pavement
Thinking about the government
The man in a trench coat
Badge out, laid off
Says he’s got a bad cough
Wants to get it paid off
Look out kid
It’s somethin’ you did
God knows when
But you’re doin’ it again
You better duck down the alley way
Lookin’ for a new friend
A man in a coon-skin cap
In a pig pen
Wants eleven dollar bills
You only got ten.”
“The Times They Are A Changin'” 1964
“Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside ragin’
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'”
Some information for this story came from The Associated Press.