Bob Dylan wins Presidential Medal of Freedom

  • Article by: JON BREAM , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 27, 2012 - 9:11 AM

He is only the second Minnesota-born recipient (Warren Burger was first) to win the highest award for a civilian.

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Bob Dylan

Photo: Chris Pizzello, Associated Press

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Add Presidential Medal of Freedom to the long list of awards that Bob Dylan has won. The Minnesota troubadour is among this year's 13 recipients of the highest award for a civilian, the White House announced Thursday.

Dylan is performing in Argentina and did not release a comment or post one on his website. The award will be officially presented later in the spring.

It's too early to tell if Dylan, who turns 71 next month, will show up. He did not receive his Pulitzer Prize citation in person in 2008 because he was on tour in Europe. Among his other awards are the National Medal of Arts, 11 Grammys, one Oscar and being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and being named Commandeur dans l'Ordre des Art et des Lettres in France.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom announcement hailed Dylan as "one of the most influential American musicians of the 20th century" known for "his rich and poetic lyrics, considerable influence on the civil rights movement of the 1960s and significant impact on American culture over the past five decades."

Dylan, who was born in Duluth and raised in Hibbing, is the first Minnesota-born recipient since former Chief Justice Warren Burger in 1988. Other winners with Minnesota connections include Vice President Hubert Humphrey, Congressman Walter Judd, former Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra conductor Eugene Ormandy and University of Minnesota graduates Roy Wilkins, a civil rights activist, and Norman Borlaug, a Nobel-winning agronomist.

Previous music figures who have won the award include Aretha Franklin, Yo-Yo Ma, B.B. King, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Marian Anderson, Aaron Copland, Vladimir Horowitz and Irving Berlin.

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