An Analysis Of Qualities Common To Musicians Who Win Literary Awards: Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, & Chuck Berry

lc-db-bd1200When Bob Dylan became the first pop musician awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, I recalled that Leonard Cohen was the first pop musician to win the Prince of Asturias Award for Literature (2011) and Cohen and Chuck Berry were the inaugural recipients (in 2012) of the  PEN New England  Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award.1

In his PEN Award acceptance speech, Leonard Cohen claimed he and Chuck Barry were chosen as the first recipients of the honor on “the basis of seniority.”  As I pointed out in a Feb 2012 post, I hesitate to disagree with this site’s icon of choice, but I am obligated to point out that he – and the many periodicals, broadcast stations, and online sites reporting on this event – have inexplicably overlooked two other rather obvious attributes common to him and the Father of Rock and Roll that were either coincidences on a cosmic scale or, one must assume, weighed in the judges’ decision to confer this honor upon them:

  1. Signature hats
  2. Bolo ties2

And, the naming of Bob Dylan as Nobel Laureate further supports this observation. Check out the composite photo atop this post: three literary award-winning musicians who are senior artists adorned with bolo ties and distinctive headgear.

How To Win A Major Literary Award As A Musician

So, for all you aspiring literary award winners, Cohencentric  offers these recommendations based on the Cohen-Dylan-Berry Criteria:

  1. Do not, advice from The Who notwithstanding, die before you get old.
  2. Wear a hat that fits your style.
  3. Drape a nifty bolo tie around your neck.
  4. Write exquisite song lyrics.

Credit Due Department: Leonard Cohen photo by Ashley Tanasiychuk. Chuck Berry photo by Masahiro Sumori – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikipedia. Bob Dylan photo by Alberto Cabello from Vitoria Gasteiz – Bob Dylan, CC BY 2.0, via Wikipedia

_______________________________

  1. Wouldn’t you think that an organization of “poets, playwrights, essayists, editors, and novelists” could come up with a name for their prize that flows off the tongue more trippingly than “The PEN New England  Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award?” []
  2. See Up Close With Leonard Cohen And His Bolo Tie []

Leonard Cohen Clarifies His “Canadian Bob Dylan” Epithet & What Happened At That 1966 Party At Frank Scott’s House

Q: Back in the ’60s, there was talk of you being a Canadian Bob Dylan. Didn’t you make that analogy yourself at the time?

quoteup2
No. That got into the press. I’d never say that any more than I’d say I want to be the next William Yeats or the next Bliss Carman. You know how that arose? There was a party at Frank Scott’s house. I had a record of Bob Dylan, and I brought it to this party. There were all these poets, Layton, and Dudek and maybe Phyllis Webb. It was probably Bringing it All Back Home. It was one of his early records I said, fellas, listen to this. This guy’s a real poet. I put the record on, and it was greeted with yawns. They said, ‘That’s not a poet.’ I said, ‘No, I insist, let me play it again.’ They said, ‘Do you want to be that?’ That’s how it arose. But it’s not my syntax. Anyway, they didn’t like it. But I put it on a few more times, and by the end of evening they were dancing.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

See Leonard Cohen Introduces Bob Dylan’s Music To Major Canadian Poets At 1966 Montreal Poetry Party

Q: You said that an audience brings a lot to someone like Bob Dylan. They bring a lot to you as well.

quoteup2
Yes they do. As I said in the concert, this is every musician’s dream, to stand in front of an audience and not have to prove your credentials, to come into that warmth. Of course, it creates other anxieties, because you really want to deliver. There’s a lot to live up to. But it is quite a rare thing.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Both excerpts are from Cohen wore earplugs to a Dylan show? by Brian D. Johnson (Maclean’s: June 12, 2008)

The Cohen-Dylan Interface

All posts about Leonard Cohen’s & Bob Dylan’s opinions of each other, their meetings, and comparisons by others can be found at

Leonard Cohen Introduces Bob Dylan’s Music To Major Canadian Poets At 1966 Montreal Poetry Party

dylanfIn 1966, Leonard Cohen introduced Bob Dylan’s music to a group of the preeminent Canadian poets, including F.R. Scott, A.J.M. Smith, Leonard’s friend Layton Irving, his McGill professor Louis Dudek, Al Purdy, and Ralph Gustafson.  The response was not encouraging – although a replay at 10 PM resulted in dancing. The following excerpt is from Various Positions: A Life of Leonard Cohen by Ira B. Nadel (Random House of Canada: Oct 29, 2010)

diylanpatyfUpdate: Leonard Cohen Clarifies His “Canadian Bob Dylan” Epithet & That 1966 Party At Frank Scott’s House

The Cohen-Dylan Interface

All posts about Leonard Cohen’s & Bob Dylan’s opinions of each other, their meetings, and comparisons by others can be found at

“I listened to [Bob Dylan], and I thought, he has already done it. What I wanted to do was write the best I could in a simple way and lay it out for people.” Leonard Cohen (1969)

bob_dylan_in_november_1963

Songs Sacred and Profane by Ira Mothner. Look: June 10, 1969.

The Cohen-Dylan Interface

All posts about Leonard Cohen’s & Bob Dylan’s opinions of each other, their meetings, and comparisons by others can be found at

Credit Due Department: The photo The Cohen-Dylan Interface

All posts about Leonard Cohen’s & Bob Dylan’s opinions of each other, their meetings, and comparisons by others can be found at

Credit Due Department: The photo is by Unknown – BobDylan-1964StLawrenceYearbook-3, from the 1964 yearbook of St. Lawrence University, Public Domain, via Wikipedia

Note: Originally posted Nov 21, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Larry “Ratso” Sloman on Leonard Cohen & Bob Dylan: “A Relationship Of Tremendous Mutual Respect”

cdi
quoteup2
I think [the connection between Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan] is a relationship of tremendous mutual respect. I’m close to both of them and know the high regard one holds for the other. Whenever I see Leonard, the first question he always asks me is “How’s Bob?”quotedown2

Larry “Ratso” Sloman

Larry “Ratso” Sloman, author of On The Road With Bob Dylan, in Dec 13, 2004 radio broadcast.

The Cohen-Dylan Interface

All posts about Leonard Cohen’s & Bob Dylan’s opinions of each other, their meetings, and comparisons by others can be found at

Note: Originally posted April 28, 2011 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric