Musician and author Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature on Thursday "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition," the Nobel committee said in a statement.
Dylan, 75, has been an influential voice in American popular music and culture for more than five decades. This is the first time the prestigious Nobel Prize has gone to an author whose primary idiom is music and songs, and not published works.
Born Robert Allen Zimmerman, the singer has often been called "the voice of a generation" -- a title he rejected, even as songs such as "Blowin' in the Wind" and "The Times They Are a-Changin'" became rallying cries of young people in the 1960s.
Dylan's lyrics have been lauded by critics for their rich literary allusions and references to profound political, social and philosophical ideas.