Bob Dylan has been awarded The Medal of Freedom, the USA’s highest civilian honour; he will receive the award from President Obama in a few weeks time. The White House statement announcing the awards says
Bob Dylan. One of the most influential American musicians of the 20th century, Dylan released his first album in 1962. Known for his rich and poetic lyrics, his work had considerable influence on the civil rights movement of the 1960s and has had significant impact on American culture over the past five decades. He has won 11 Grammys, including a lifetime achievement award. He was named a Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Art et des Lettres and has received a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation. Dylan was awarded the 2009 National Medal of Arts. He has written more than 600 songs, and his songs have been recorded more than 3,000 times by other artists. He continues recording and touring around the world today.
Toni Morrison will also receive the Medal of Freedom at the same ceremony. So … from Chimes of Freedom in 1964 (with its bells “Tolling for the rebel, tolling for the rake / Tolling for the luckless, the abandoned an’ forsaked / Tolling for the outcast, burnin’ constantly at stake” and “for the aching whose wounds cannot be nursed / For the countless confused, accused, misused, strung-out ones an’ worse” to, from the American government’s Medal of Freedom in 1912 … there’s a thesis waiting to be written about that! Chimes of Feedom has been covered by many singers, including a powerful version from Bruce Springsteen.