The Ballad of Bob Dylan

Posted on Oct 25, 2016

The Swedish Academy has recently announced the new awardee of the Nobel Prize in Literature. This year’s recipient is Bob Dylan.

The ballad of Bob Dylan A Portrait

Dylan’s win received both negative and positive press online. Some were surprised as to why a musician won the most prestigious award in literature. Others agreed with the Swedish Academy’s decision and defended Bob Dylan as more than deserving the award.

Regardless of the noise, Bob Dylan has already made his mark. He is, after all, a living legend.

For starters, Bob Dylan’s original name is Robert Allen Zimmerman. He was born on May 24, 1941, in Duluth, Minnesota. In 1961, following the tradition of Woody Guthrie, he began singing protest songs in clubs and cafés in Greenwich Village, New York. In 1988, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2008 and 2012, he was awarded a special Pulitzer Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, respectively. Aside from his album, Bob Dylan also published experimental work, such as Tarantula in 1971 and a collection, Writings and Drawings, in 1973. His 2004 autobiography, Chronicles, depicts his early years in New York and his life at the center of pop culture.

Just by reading the lyrics of his songs, I already know why this man deserves such high distinction. I found his words in “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” to be beautifully and painfully written. This line from “Masters of War” made me reflect on my life: “When your death takes its toll, all the money you made will never buy back your soul.”

Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for being a game-changer (or, should I say, song-changer) in the music industry. He created new poetic expressions within American song traditions. He is not simply a singer nor even just a songwriter but also a poet as well.

Admittedly, some people do not find him a good singer. In fact, one Financial Times reader even commented that he is not a great singer or guitarist, so if you want to listen to someone, you may as well just listen to someone else. However, the reader conceded that Dylan’s lyrics are poetry if you just simply read them.

When I think about the ingenuity and superb writing skills of Bob Dylan, I wonder whether he has (or had) sought the help of other people to furnish and improve his lyrics. There must have been some kind of process before his songs got approval for recording.

Musicians have listening sessions before they release an album. This process is akin to that in proofreading. Listening sessions aim to check whether the songs are ready for release. Proofreading, on the other hand, aims to check whether an article is ready for publishing.

Like Bob Dylan, you too can receive that prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature (why not?). But you can’t do that with articles peppered with poor grammar, misspelled words, and wrong information. At 1-Hour Proofreading, writers get the chance to have those “listening sessions.” The company offers services such as fast proofreading and editing to help writers bring out the best in their work. Their professional proofreaders work swiftly without sacrificing quality. They are highly skilled, so customers can expect above-standard output.

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