Bob Dylan will be among those at a White House ceremony next week who will receive the Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.
The singer-songwriter will be honored for his body of work that places him in the category of being “one of the most influential American musicians of the 20th century.”
The White House recently announced that Dylan will be given the award on May 29, 2012.
The Medal of Freedom also is being awarded to former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, novelist Toni Morrison, and Israeli President Shimon Peres.
The president is apparently a Dylan fan, particularly after the singer performed at a 2010 White House concert.
Obama shared with Rolling Stone magazine the reason why he has such affection for Dylan.
“Here's what I love about Dylan,” the president said. “He was exactly as you'd expect he would be. He wouldn't come to the rehearsal; usually, all these guys are practicing before the set in the evening. He didn't want to take a picture with me; usually all the talent is dying to take a picture with me and Michelle before the show, but he didn't show up to that.”
“He [Dylan] came in and played ‘The Times They Are A-Changin’,’ a beautiful rendition. The guy is so steeped in this stuff that he can just come up with some new arrangement, and the song sounds completely different,” the president said.
Obama went on to describe what happened after Dylan finished the song and stepped off the stage.
“I'm sitting right in the front row. [He] comes up, shakes my hand, sort of tips his head, gives me just a little grin, and then leaves. And that was it — then he left. That was our only interaction with him. And I thought: That's how you want Bob Dylan, right? You don't want him to be all cheesin' and grinnin' with you. You want him to be a little skeptical about the whole enterprise. So that was a real treat,” Obama said.
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