American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan won the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature on Thursday “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”.
Here are some facts about him.
* Dylan began his career as an acoustic singer-songwriter specialising in protest songs such as “Blowin’ In The Wind”. His first album was the eponymous “Bob Dylan” released in 1962.
* Dylan created a controversy at the Newport, Rhode Island, folk festival in 1965 when he set aside his accoustic guitar and played an electric guitar. He only played three songs and some in the crowd booed but it remains unclear if the booing was because of the electric guitar, the short set or bad audio quality. Still, many hard-core folk music fans felt betrayed. He was dubbed “Judas” by traditionalists.
* Dylan dropped out of the public eye after a July 1966 motorcycle accident. Few details about the crash were revealed but it allowed him to escape the mounting pressures of fame and he did not tour again for almost eight years.
* Dylan has generally eschewed praise, including from critics and fans labelling him an artist, a poet or the voice of his generation. He has variously described himself as a trapeze artist, an “ashtray bender”, a “rabbit catcher” and a “dog smoother”.
* He once told Rolling Stone magazine: “I live in my dreams. I don’t really live in the actual world.”
* Dylan is of Jewish heritage – his real name is Robert Zimmerman – but became a Christian in 1979 after a divorce. He released three albums of religious-based music, then mostly left off making overt references to Christianity in his songs until he surprised fans with a 2009 Christmas album.
* Dylan’s most famous songs include “Subterranean Homesick Blues”, “Mr Tambourine Man”, “Just Like A Woman”, “Lay, Lady Lay”, “Tangled Up in Blue” and “Maggie’s Farm”.
* Famous lyrics include “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows”, “‘Come in,’ she said, ‘I’ll give you shelter from the storm’,”, “The ladder of the law has no top and no bottom”, and “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 rain’s a-gonna fall.”