bob dylan barack obama getty Bob Dylan and Toni Morrison among Presidential Medal of Freedom recipientsOne of the most important voices in music history has earned America’s highest civilian honor. Bob Dylan received the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Tuesday (May 29).

In a White House ceremony, President Barack Obama says of the 71-year-old “The Times They Are A-Changin'” singer, “By the time he was 23, Bob’s voice, with its weight, its unique gravelly power, was redefining not just what music sounded like, but the message it carried and how it made people feel.”

Obama also says of the man who had a significant influence in both the civil rights and anti-war movements, “Today, everybody from Bruce Springsteen to U2 owes Bob a debt of gratitude. There is not a bigger giant in the history of American music. All these years later, he’s still chasing that sound, still searching for a little bit of truth.”

Dylan was just one of 13 honorees. Other winners of the award included poet Maya Angelou, novelist Toni Morrison, former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, astronaut John Glenn and retired Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens.

Posted by:David Eckstein