Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Bob Dylan and the Legion d'Honneur

I'm pleased to see that a certain amount of common sense has prevailed with the nomination of Bob Dylan for the Legion d'Honneur.

In 1990 he was awarded the L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He was nominated for the Legion d'Honneur by France's culture minister, but the recommenedation was initially turned down by the award's council.

There was no official reason given for the decision not to give him the award, but there was speculation it concerned his opposition to the Vietnam war and alleged drug use.

The decision has now been reversed

Chancellor of the award's 17-strong council Jean-Louis Georgelin said Dylan's nomination had been approved, noting Dylan was an "exceptional artist" and known internationally as a "tremendous singer and great poet."

Other foreign recipients from the world of music include Sir Paul McCartney, Ravi Shankar, Shirley Bassey, Barbra Streisand and Quincy Jones.

Clint Eastwood, Stephen Speilberg and David Lynch are other Americans who received the award. As did Bruce Willis.

In some instances you can see how  person merited the award, having accomplished so much in their field. In other instances you can only presume that someone in a high place was a fan of the Die Hard movies.

There's always going to be debate about how a non French person can merit one of the highest honours France has to give, but Dylan's status as an artist really is beyond match. In terms of his relevance to France, few others can say they've been so influenced by the poetry of Rimbaud and Verlain, and then themselves influenced so many French artists over the years.

As a performer Dylan still sparks debate. Few of his generation are still capable of that. He refuses to give in to expectations and chases his muse as only he knows how.

With a music industry that these days seems more cautious than ever and less willing to take risks than before, there will be even few artists from the generations since Dylan's career began who remain as capable of inspiring such passion.

No comments:

Post a Comment