Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature this morning, and though the choice has drawn some side-eyed looks and jokes from the literary community, Dylan still has a big supporter up top. President Barack Obama tweeted congratulations to the legendary rock star, calling him “one of my favorite poets.” Obama even included a link to a Spotify playlist created today to provide an overview of Dylan’s music.
This is not the first time Obama has demonstrated his appreciation for Dylan’s art. Back in 2013, Obama awarded Dylan the Presidential Medal of Freedom and said, “There is not a bigger giant in the history of American music.” Before that, Dylan played a stripped-down version of his iconic protest song “The Times They Are A-Changin'” at the White House in 2010.
“Here’s what I love about Dylan: He was exactly as you’d expect he would be,” Obama told Rolling Stone editor-in-chief Jann Wenner at the time. “He came in and played “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” A beautiful rendition. The guy is so steeped in this stuff that he can just come up with some new arrangement, and the song sounds completely different. Finishes the song, steps off the stage — I’m sitting right in the front row — comes up, shakes my hand, sort of tips his head, gives me just a little grin, and then leaves. And that was it — then he left. That was our only interaction with him. And I thought: That’s how you want Bob Dylan, right? You don’t want him to be all cheesin’ and grinnin’ with you. You want him to be a little skeptical about the whole enterprise.”