10 lyrics that took Dylan to Nobel Prize

Legendary singer-songwriter becomes the first musician to take the prize

13th October, 2016
At a London press conference, 1966 Pic: Getty

Legendary US singer-songwriter Bob Dylan has won the Nobel Prize for Literature for 2016.

A statement on the Nobel Prize official website said the award was ” for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition".

It is the first time the award has gone to a musician.

He joins an illustrious list that includes WB Yeats, Seamus Heaney, Jean-Paul Sartre, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Saul Bellow.

Here are 10 selected Dylan lyrics that showcase the artistry that led to the award:

“Lay, lady, lay, lay across my big brass bed

Lay, lady, lay, lay across my big brass bed

Whatever colors you have in your mind

I'll show them to you and you'll see them shine.

Lay, lady, lay, lay across my big brass bed

Stay, lady, stay, stay with your man awhile

Until the break of day, let me see you make him smile

His clothes are dirty but his hands are clean

And you're the best thing that he's ever seen.

Stay, lady, stay, stay with your man awhile

Why wait any longer for the world to begin

You can have your cake and eat it too

Why wait any longer for the one you love

When he's standing in front of you.

Lay, lady, lay, lay across my big brass bed

Stay, lady, stay, stay while the night is still ahead

I long to see you in the morning light

I long to reach for you in the night

Stay, lady, stay, stay while the night is still ahead

Lay Lady Lay (From Nashville Skyline, 1969)

Bob Dylan's handwritten lyrics for Mr Tambourine Man. Pic: Getty

A change in the weather is known to be extreme

But what’s the sense of changing horses in midstream?

I’m going out of my mind, oh, oh

With a pain that stops and starts

Like a corkscrew to my heart. Ever since we’ve been apart

You're a Big Girl Now (From Blood on the Tracks, 1975)

Bob Dylan at a London press conference 1966. Pic: Getty

"Once upon a time you dressed so fine

Threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn't you?

People call say 'beware doll, you're bound to fall'

You thought they were all kidding you

You used to laugh about

Everybody that was hangin’ out

Now you don’t talk so loud

Now you don’t seem so proud

About having to be scrounging for your next meal."

Like a Rolling Stone (From Highway 61 Revisited, 1965)

Joan Baez and Bob Dylan in 1963. Pic: Getty

"Come mothers and fathers,

Throughout the land,

And don’t criticise,

What you can’t understand."

The Times They Are a-Changin’ (From the eponymous album, 1964)

"May your hands always be busy,

May your feet always be swift,

May you have a strong foundation,

When the winds of changes shift."

Forever Young (From Planet Waves, 1974)

“How can the life of such a man

Be in the palm of some fool’s hand?

To see him obviously framed

Couldn’t help but make me feel ashamed

To live in a land

Where justice is a game”

Hurricane, ( From Desire, 1976)

Dylan in California, 2009. Pic: Getty

“Her folks they said our lives together

Sure was gonna be rough

They never did like mama's homemade dress

Papa's bank book wasn't big enough.

And I was standin' on the side of the road

Rain fallin' on my shoes

Heading out for the east coast

Lord knows I've paid some dues

Gettin' through

Tangled up in blue"

Tangled up in Blue (From Blood on the Tracks, 1975)

You see me on the street, you always act surprised

You say "how are you?", "good luck", but ya don't mean it

When you know as well as me, you'd rather see me paralyzed

Why don't you just come out once and scream it

No, I do not feel that good when I see the heartbreaks you embrace

If I was a master thief perhaps I'd rob them

And tho I know you're dissatisfied with your position and your place

Don't you understand, its not my problem?

I wish that for just one time you could stand inside my shoes

And just for that one moment I could be you

Yes, I wish that for just one time you could stand inside my shoes

You'd know what a drag it is to see you."

Positively 4th Street (released between the albums Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde On Blonde, as the follow-up to Like a Rolling Stone, but wasn't included on either LP)

Do your love me, or are you just extending goodwill ?

Do you need me half as bad as you say, or are you just feeling guilt ?

I've been burned before and I know the score

So you won't hear me complain

Will I be able to count on you

Or is your love in vain ?

Are you so fast that you cannot see that I must have solitude ?

When I am in the darkness, why do you intrude ?

Do you know my world, do you know my kind

Or must I explain ?

Will you let me be myself

Or is your love in vain ?

Well I've been to the mountain and I've been in the wind

I've been in and out of happiness

I have dined with kings, I've been offered wings

And I've never been too impressed.

All right, I'll take a chance, I will fall in love with you

If I'm a fool you can have the night, you can have the morning too

Can you cook and sew, make flowers grow

Do you understand my pain ?

Are you willing to risk it all

Or is your love in vain?

Is Your Love In Vain? (From Desire, 1978)

Dylan in England, 1978. Pic: Getty

“If you see her, say hello, she might be in Tangiers

She left here last early spring, is livin' there, I hear

Say for me that I'm all right though things get kind of slow

She might think that I've forgotten her, don't tell her it isn't so.”

We had a falling-out

Like lovers often will

And to think of how she left that night

It still brings me a chill

And though our separation

It pierced me to the heart

She still lives inside of me

We've never been apart

If you get close to her

Kiss her once for me

I always have respected her

For doing what she did and getting free

If You See Her, Say Hello, (From Blood on the Tracks, 1975)

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