Bob Dylan might be the only person who has an Oscar, a Grammy, a Pulitzer and a Nobel but recently he got an honour that he never had before – being number 1 on top of the Billboard charts.
Murder Most Foul, Bob Dylan’s longest song till date, finally made it to the top of the Billboard charts, sitting atop the Rock Digital Song Sales Chart after selling 10,000 downloads in its first week of release.
The ballad on JFK - Murder Most Foul - was Dylan’s first original song since his 2012 album the Tempest. Music aficionados have often pointed out that Dylan’s covers are actually sung and performed better than his originals, as evidenced by Hendrix’s All Along The Watch Tower and Guns and Roses’ Knocking on Heaven’s Door.
Two Dylan songs have been on top before. The first was folk group Peter, Paul and Mary’s Blowin’ in the Wind in 1963 and the Byrds Mr Tambourine Man in 1965. Among his original renditions, Like a Rolling Stone and Rainy Day women reached number 2 spot on the Hot 100 in 1965 and 1966, and Times have Changed rose to number 2 on the Adult Alternative Songs chart in 2000.
It’s ironic that the most talented songwriter of the few previous generations had to wait till the age of 78 to reach this peak. Madonna for example has 12 career No 1s, Rihanna has 14 and Mariah Carey has 19!
In 2008, Dylan won a special citation at the Pulitzer “For his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power”.
Dylan won his first Grammy in 1973 as a featured artist in Concert for Bangladesh (organised by George Harrison and Pandit Ravi Shankar). He won his first solo Grammy in 1979 for Best Rock Vocal Performance (Male) Gotta Serve Somebody. He has a total of 10 Grammys.
He won the Golden Globe and Oscar in 2008 for Best Original Score for Things have Changed in 2008. And he finally won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016, ‘"for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition."