Bob Dylan is reportedly in contention for France’s highest award, the Legion d’Honneur, a French order established by Napoleon Bonaparte and given to those deemed honourable, despite almost being rejected for his history of smoking pot and opposing the Vietnam War.
In an open letter in French newspaper Le Monde, the Legion d’Honneur’s grand chancellor, Jean-Louis Georgelin, said he had approved the legendary singer-songwriter’s nomination after initially turning him down because of an unspecified “controversy”.
Georgelin has now had a change of heart and called the Blowin’ In The Wind singer an “exceptional artist” and a “tremendous singer and great poet”.
Satirical paper Le Canard Enchaine then suggested the “controversy” was Robert Zimmerman’s fondness for smoking the reefer and protesting against war.
Dylan received a lower ranking of the award in 1990 but is now in line for the highest “Chevalier” distinction. If the 72-year-old is successful, he’ll be only the third musician to be given the honour after Beatle Sir Paul McCartney and French singer Charles Aznavour.
Back in March, Dylan was the first rockstar to ever be voted in to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, another wildly prestigious honour.