It Was So Typical That Bob Dylan Skipped Nobel Prize Ceremony, Joan Baez Recalls

Joan Baez‘s film ‘Joan Baez: I Am a Noise’ just premiered at the Berlin Film Festival. In a recent interview with the Hollywood Reporter, the iconic folk singer gave insight into the documentary while also talking about her time with Bob Dylan. Baez also replied to a question asking what she had felt when Dylan received the Nobel Prize for literature.

In 2016, the Swedish Academy awarded Dylan the Nobel Prize in Literature ‘for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.’ However, the singer didn’t attend the Nobel Prize banquet and ceremony in Stockholm due to his other commitments at the time and just sent a letter stating his reasons. After the announcement, the Nobel committee did not hear from Dylan for a long time until he finally received his medal and diploma nearly five months later.

As Dylan and Baez had been involved in a romantic relationship in the past, the subject inevitably came to Bob during the interview. When asked what she thought when Dylan received the Nobel Prize, Baez explained that although there were different views on his eligibility, the rocker was a ‘great writer of music,’ according to her.

The singer then said that it was so typical for Dylan to skip the Nobel Prize ceremony, as he would often behave to fulfill his own ambitions rather than please anyone else. For Baez, his absence from the ceremony shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone who knew his nature.

When asked what she thought when Dylan received the Nobel Prize, Baez replied:

“I thought, oh, how Bob. I mean, people differ about whether or not he deserved it for his writing, but whatever, I thought he was a great writer of music. It moved me for half a century and millions of people ever since. But it was so typical that he didn’t want to go and accept it. And everybody gets so insulted, and everybody’s surprised. And they shouldn’t be surprised anymore. He’ll go off and do a Chevrolet ad; what the f*ck? So don’t be surprised [by Dylan] anymore. Just enjoy it.”

After the announcement, the Swedish Academy’s decision to award Dylan stirred controversy as people discussed whether he deserved it. While some critics explained that it was an inspiring choice, redefining the boundaries, others claimed he should have rejected the Nobel Prize as he was not eligible for literary merit.