Bob Dylan was silent for two weeks after it was announced he had been chosen by the Swedish Academy to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature.
The singer, who is performing at The Township on Thursday, Nov. 10, didn’t publicly acknowledge the award and reportedly refused to speak to representatives of the Nobel committee, leading to one member calling him “impolite and arrogant.”
Dylan did say in a recent interview with The Telegraph that he is excited about the award will attend the ceremony “if at all possible.”
It also should be noted that Dylan is no stranger to impressive honors. The man has received a Special Citation Pulitzer, the National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
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His mysterious shenanigans shouldn’t be surprising, however, as this is not the first (nor likely the last) time the very private artist has snubbed others. Here are 10 Dylan snubbees, from David Letterman to President Obama.
10. Joan Baez
The Queen of Folk helped launch Dylan’s career. Baez endorsed Dylan early by taking him on her tour in 1961, and the two became an item as he skyrocketed to success. Later, during his 1965 tour, Dylan unceremoniously dumped Baez and refused to allow her onstage with him.
Dylan publicly apologized to Baez – 44 years later.
9. Time reporter
Dylan historically has had a taciturn relationship with the press, which is best illustrated in his infamous interview with a Time reporter in 1965. Dylan asks the reporter whether he’s going to see the show that night, then says, “… You’re not gonna get it all, and you might even hear the wrong words. I won’t be able to talk to you afterwards, I got nothing to say about these things I write.”
When Bob Dylan, Minnesota’s most famous son, announced stops for his 2016 summer and fall tours, Minnesota didn’t make the list. It wasn’t the first time Dylan was chilly toward his home state.
A 1998 AP story reported, “If Bob Dylan was excited to perform a first major concert in the town where he was born, he kept it to himself. … In typical Dylan fashion, he never acknowledged he was in Duluth.”
7. Paul Simon
Paul Simon toured with Dylan in 1999, but there was some professional tension between the singers when Simon asked Dylan to perform a duet for “So Beautiful or So What.” Simon told Rolling Stone that he never heard back from Dylan.
6. Led Zeppelin
In a roundup of funny Dylan moments, Vulture dug up this anecdote from “All the Rage: A Riotous Romp Through Rock & Roll History” by Ian McLagan. According to McLagan, Peter Grant introduced himself to Dylan as the manager of Led Zeppelin, and Dylan replied, “I don’t come to you with my problems.”
There were a number of big bands that turned down Woodstock (Led Zeppelin among them) but Dylan was living in Upstate New York in 1969 – very close to Woodstock – so it especially stung when he declined. He reportedly said no because his son fell ill, but he later divulged in his memoir that he hated hippies.
4. Pottery Barn
Dylan and Phoebe Buffay would have a lot in common. Both the singer and the “Friends” character disliked Pottery Barn. In 2001, journalist Al Aronowitz shared a story of Dylan shopping with his then-wife Sara Lownds at Pottery Barn in Manhattan when Dylan “probably” said, “I can make better pottery than that!”
3. UK Music Hall of Fame
Musicians of any nationality can receive this award for their lifetime contributions to music in the United Kingdom. Bob Dylan was inducted in 2005, and refused to attend the ceremony even though it coincided with the start of his UK tour, The Independent reported.
2. David Letterman
On his last show, David Letterman gushed about his musical guest Bob Dylan, saying he taught his son that “the greatest songwriter of modern times is Bob Dylan.”
“That’s all you need to know in life,” he added.
After Dylan performed, he appeared standoffish toward the host, not smiling or making much eye contact. Awkward.
(Skip to 53-minute mark of the video below to watch the encounter.)
1. President Obama
Dylan declined to come to a rehearsal for a White House performance in 2010, and then didn’t want to take a picture with the Commander in Chief. He just shook Obama’s hand and left. Obama was cool with it, though, he told Rolling Stone. “That’s how you want your Bob Dylan, right? You don’t want him to to be all cheesin’ and grinnin’ with you. You want him to be a little skeptical of the whole enterprise. So that was a real treat.”
If you go
Bob Dylan and His Band
WHEN: 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10 (doors open at 7 p.m.)
WHERE: The Township, 1703 Taylor St.