Today, Bob Dylan will become the first singer-songwriter to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature - an honor that comes with a medal and 8 million Swedish krona (approximately $880,000 U.S.). The award is an honor beyond the wildest dreams of Dylan's younger self.
"I'm never going to become rich and famous," a 20-year-old Dylan said before the release of his eponymous album in 1962. At the time, he was still hustling to get by. And you won't believe the wages he was making while gigging in New York's Greenwich Village.
"I played my harmonica for this guy there [in one of the area's coffeehouses] who was singing. He used to give me a dollar to play for the day with him from 2:00 in the afternoon to 8:30 at night. He gave me a dollar plus a cheeseburger."
Since then, he's won a dozen Grammy Awards plus an Oscar, a Golden Globe, entry into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and, of course, the Nobel Prize. But he won't be around to pick it up at the ceremony today. And that might be a good thing given how combative he can be when discussing his work.
"I got nothing to say about these things I write," Dylan told TIME Magazine in 1965. "I just write 'em. I don't have to say anything about them. I don't write them for any reason. There's no great message. If you want to tell other people that, go ahead and tell them. But I'm not going to have to answer to it...I don't need TIME Magazine."
And that was just the beginning of the verbal lashing that he gave the poor TIME reporter.
"If I want to find out anything, I’m not gonna read TIME magazine," Dylan added. "I’m not gonna read Newsweek. I’m not gonna read any of these magazines, I mean 'cause they just got too much to lose by printing the truth...They’d just go off the stands in a day if they printed really the truth."
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