Bob Dylan is about to kick off his AmericanaramA Tour, but he’s about to receive France’s highest honor. It was announced today (June 3) that the Legion d’Honneur awards committee confirmed the 72-year-old singer will receive France’s highest award.
This was a bit controversial, apparently. As France’s The Local (an English language publication that covers news about France) notes, France’s Le Canard Enchainé reported that “Jean-Louis Georgelin, a French army general and Great Chancellor of the Légion d’honneur, was none too pleased to receive the name of Dylan,” citing the songwriter’s anti-war songs like “Blowin’ In The Wind,” and “his pot-smoking past” (possibly using songs like “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” as evidence).
But in a letter to the daily Le Monde published on Sunday (read a translated version here), Georgelin called the singer-songwriter an “exceptional artist” known in the United States and internationally as a “tremendous singer and great poet.”
Previous American recipients of the Legion d’Honneur award include Wynton Marsalis, Barbra Streisand and Elie Wiesel, as well as hundreds of World War II veterans.
Dylan has yet to issue a statement about the honor, whose award shelf (if he has one) would also include numerous GRAMMYs, an Oscar, a Golden Globe, the Polar Music Prize, a Kennedy Center Honors medal, and membership in both the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and the Songwriters Hall Of Fame. Last year, he added the Presidential Medal Of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor.
— Brian Ives, Radio.com