Entertainment & Arts

Bob Dylan nominated for top French honour

Bob Dylan
Image caption Bob Dylan was an icon of the anti-war and civil rights movements in the 60s

Veteran US singer Bob Dylan has been nominated for France's top distinction, the Legion d'Honneur, an award previously given to Sir Paul McCartney.

His nomination, by culture minister Aurelie Filipetti, was approved by the award's 17-member council.

Chancellor Jean-Louis Georgelin wrote in Le Monde that although the panel originally rejected the nomination, Dylan, 72, was an "exceptional artist".

The "tremendous singer and great poet" got a lower rank of the award in 1990.

Satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaine (The Chained Duck) reported in May that Dylan's nomination was rejected because of his opposition to the war in Vietnam, where France was a former colonial power, and his alleged use of cannabis.

However, Georgelin did not elaborate on the reason why the nomination was originally blocked, simply citing a past "controversy".

Top US honour

Singer-songwriter Dylan shot to fame in the 60s as an icon of the anti-war and civil rights movements.

Songs such as The Times They Are a-Changin' and Like a Rolling Stone became synonymous with the 60s counterculture, and he became a poster-boy for a disenchanted generation.

The artist also became an informal historian of America's troubles with tracks like Blowin' In The Wind, but his decision to move away from traditional guitar in favour of an electric version in the mid-60s proved controversial among die-hard folk fans.

He was awarded the top civilian honour in the United States, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in May 2012.

Earlier this month, he was made an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Recipients of the Legion d'Honneur, the Legion of Honour, include U2 frontman Bono, artist Louise Bourgeois, singer Charles Aznavour and actor Jean Reno.

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