Bob Dylan was presented with the Legion of Honor Wednesday in Paris. No cameras were allowed into the ceremony, so there’s no video to share, but it’s been reported that Aurelie Filippetti, France’s Culture Minister presented the award to the 72-year-old singer-songwriter. In her speech, the Minister talked about Dylan being an inspiration to the youth of France and also a role model to everyone fighting for justice and independence. “More than anyone, in the eyes of France, you demonstrate the subversive power of culture that can change people and the world,” she said. She also name checked many of his albums and songs from the 1960’s through today, tying them to causes like the United States civil rights movement.
After the speech, Bob Dylan said simply that he was “proud and grateful” to receive the award. The Legion of Honor was created by Napoleon in 1802 –it’s given to people who’ve served France in various ways or achievements that uphold the ideals of the country. It’s usually awarded to military or civil servants, but other international artists have been honored, including Liza Minelli, Miles Davis and Paul McCartney. Dylan’s award had been temporarily blocked earlier this year with the committee in charge reportedly voicing reservations over his anti-war stance and use of marijuana. But they reconsidered, with the committee leader going on record as calling the singer “a tremendous singer and great poet” in a letter to Le Monde.”
Last year, Bob Dylan received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the top civilian honor awarded in the United States. His never ending tour rolls on—-the day after receiving his French honor, Dylan performed in Paris and he’s got ten dates left in the U.K. before wrapping things up for the year.