Patti Smith accepted Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize


There has been plenty of controversy surrounding Bob Dylan and his lack of fucks about his Nobel Prize. However, when he skips unbelievably prestigious award events, he does so in style—with Patti Smith.

Dylan, the first musician to win the Nobel literature award in the academy's 115 years, did not attend the ceremony, but Patti Smith honored him by singing his 1963 classic "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall." That said, even a legend like Smith gets nervous, and she forgot the words in a verse before apologizing for her slip-up (like there's any way anybody but Bob Dylan could remember all of Bob Dylan's insane lyrics).

Dylan cared enough to write a speech for the event, but not enough to read it himself, so it was read aloud by U.S. Ambassador to Sweden Azita Raji:

"If someone had ever told me that I had the slightest chance of winning the Nobel prize, I would have to think that I'd have about the same odds as standing on the moon. In fact, during the year I was born and for a few years after, there wasn't anyone in the world who was considered good enough to win this Nobel Prize. So, I recognize that I am in very rare company, to say the least."

"A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" is a song that resonates particularly strongly in—as chairman of the board of the Nobel Foundation Carl-Henrik Heldin said during the ceremony—"times like these."

"In the last verse, when I say 'the pellets of poisons are flooding the waters,' that means all the lies that people get told on their radios and in their newspapers," Dylan told Studs Terkel in a 1963 radio interview about the song.


Of course, the song has five long, convoluted verses with a whole ton of lyrics, so it's a very easy song to flub. We feel ya, Patti.

This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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