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Bob Dylan Is The First Rock Star Ever Inducted Into The American Academy Of Arts And Letters
March 13, 2013
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Dylan performs at the 17th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards in LA, January 2012 (Photo: Getty)

The times they are a-changin'. The American Academy of Arts and Letters, a century-old, 250-member honour society that celebrates achievements in American literature, music, and art has just made Bob Dylan an honorary member.

This is kind of a big deal, because Dylan is the first rock musician ever voted into the Academy. In fact, Spin reports that the Academy "was at one time designed to keep pop-friendly musicians like Dylan out of its inner circle."

Officials at the Academy couldn't decide whether Dylan should be inducted as a poet or a musician, so they split the difference and named him as an honorary member.

In the past, Woody Allen, Meryl Streep and Martin Scorsese have been selected for honorary membership as well.

Neither Dylan nor his manager have commented on the honour, but it's clear that he's accepted the nomination - otherwise the vote wouldn't have gone through.

Joining the Academy puts Dylan in some pretty serious company: past members include artist Roy Lichtenstein, poet Ezra Pound, 26th U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt, author Kurt Vonnegut, architect Frank Lloyd Wright, along with many other American cultural heavyweights.

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and big Dylan fan Michael Chabon will be the keynote speaker at a ceremony in May, inducting Dylan into the Academy.

No word on whether the man himself will be there.

For a taste of what got Dylan the unique distinction of being the first rock/folk musician to make it into the Academy, check out six of his songs, one for each decade he's been making music:

'North Country Blues' from The Times They Are A-Changin'

'Tangled Up In Blue' from Blood on the Tracks

'Shot of Love' from Shot of Love

'Not Dark Yet' from Time Out of Mind

'High Water Rising (for Charley Patton)' from Love and Theft

'Duquesne Whistle' from Tempest

Via Spin


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