Representing Nobel laureate Bob Dylan at the prize-giving, a very nervous US singer Patti Smith forgot the lines of the artist’s song “A Hard Rains A-Gonna Fall” in Stockholm on Saturday.
Smith was performing to mark Bob Dylan’s Nobel prize for literature, The Guardian reported.
Bob Dylan was awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”, a tweet on official The Nobel Prize twitter account read.
The occasion proved too much for the singer, 69, who faltered after a few verses.
Forgetting the lyric “I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin'”, she apologised and asked if she could start that section of the song again.
“I am so nervous,” she explained.
Smith was encouraged by applause from the gathered dignatories and members of the Swedish royal family.
Her performance followed a justificatory speech by Horace Engdahl, a Swedish literary historian and critic and member of the Swedish academy that awards the prize, responded to international criticism of the choice of a popular lyricist as recipient.
Engdahl said that when Dylan’s songs were heard first in the 1960s, “all of a sudden much of the bookish poetry in our world felt anaemic”.
The academy’s choice of Dylan, Engdahl said in Swedish, “seemed daring only beforehand and already seems obvious”.
The award, announced in October, was the first to be given to a songwriter.
Dylan took two weeks to return the academy’s phone calls or publicly acknowledge the award — which comes with prize money of $870,000 — leading his criticism.
Dylan, 75, wrote to the academy last month saying that he was “speechless” by the honour, but that other commitments had made it “unfortunately impossible” for him to attend the ceremony.
However, the foundation said that the folk singer would be presented with his prize next year. The no-show has created a stir in Sweden.