Bob Dylan Wins the Nobel Prize: 27 Essential Quotes to Celebrate

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Wait, a folk star wins the Nobel Prize? “The times they are a changing, perhaps,” says the Academy.


Big news out of Oslo this morning: Bob Dylan is now a Nobel laureate.

The 75-year-old singer/songwriter is the first American to win the Nobel prize for literature since Toni Morrison in 1993. The Swedish Academy said it was for his “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”

It’s rare for a writer whose work is normally sung or read aloud to receive the award. However, one of the members of the 18-member Swedish Academy (which awards the prize), put it to the TNYT: “The times they are a changing, perhaps.”

In celebration, here are 27 of Dylan’s best lines–taken from songs, interviews, and musings on life. Got a better one? Add it in the comments at the end.

1. “If I wasn’t Bob Dylan, I’d probably think that Bob Dylan has a lot of answers myself.”

2. “Having these colossal accolades and titles, they get in the way.”

3. “I consider myself a poet first and a musician second. I live like a poet and I’ll die like a poet.”

4. “This land is your land and this land is my land, sure, but the world is run by those that never listen to music anyway.”

5. “I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom.”

6. “I like America, just as everybody else does. I love America, I gotta say that. But America will be judged.”

7. “He not busy being born is busy dying.”

8. “I have dined with kings, I’ve been offered wings. And I’ve never been too impressed.”

9. “I’ll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours.”

10. “What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.”

11. “In the dime stores and bus stations, people talk of situations, read books, repeat quotations, draw conclusions on the wall.”

12. “I’m just glad to be feeling better. I really thought I’d be seeing Elvis soon.”

13. “Democracy don’t rule the world, You’d better get that in your head; This world is ruled by violence, But I guess that’s better left unsaid.”

14. “I stopped smoking. When I stopped smoking, my voice changed… so drastically, I couldn’t believe it myself.”

15. “People seldom do what they believe in. They do what is convenient, then repent.”

16. “I stopped smoking. When I stopped smoking, my voice changed… so drastically, I couldn’t believe it myself.”

17. “What good are fans? You can’t eat applause for breakfast. You can’t sleep with it.”

18. “I’m more of an adventurous type than a relationship type.”

19. “Money doesn’t talk, it swears.”

20. “All the truth in the world adds up to one big lie.”

21. “Colleges are like old-age homes, except for the fact that more people die in colleges.”

22. “I’m mortified to be on the stage, but then again, it’s the only place where I’m happy.”

23. “Basically you have to suppress your own ambitions in order to be who you need to be.”

24. “I can’t see myself singing the same song twice in a row. That’s terrible.”

25. “You can’t be happy by doing something groovy.”

26. “At times in my life the only place I have been happy is when I am on stage.”

27. “I’m not the kind of cat that’s going to cut off an ear if I can’t do something.”

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