Read Bob Dylan’s Complete, Riveting MusiCares Speech
As the recipient of the MusiCares Person of the Year 2015 award, Bob Dylan delivered a 30-minute acceptance speech that was equal parts riveting, confessional and controversial. During the speech, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legend thanked his many supporters and the artists who covered and spread the message of his work, while also singling out his “detractors” with sharply prepared barbs.
A source close to the Dylan camp provided Rolling Stone with a transcript of the singer’s speech, taken from Dylan’s own notes. Read the entirety of Dylan’s epic MusiCares Person of the Year 2015 comments below:
There are a few people we need to thank tonight for bringing about this grand event. Neil Portnow, Dana Tamarkin, Rob Light, Brian Greenbaum, Don Was. And I also want to thank President Carter for coming. It’s been a long night, and I don’t want to talk too much, but I’ll say a few things.
I’m glad for my songs to be honored like this. But you know, they didn’t get here by themselves. It’s been a long road and it’s taken a lot of doing. These songs of mine, I think of as mystery plays, the kind that Shakespeare saw when he was growing up. I think you could trace what I do back that far. They were on the fringes then, and I think they’re on the fringes now. And they sound like they’ve been traveling on hard ground.
I need to mention a few people along the way who brought this about. I know I should mention John Hammond, the great talent scout, who way back when brought me to Columbia Records. He signed me to that label when I was nobody. It took a lot of faith to do that, and he took a lot of ridicule, but he was his own man and he was courageous. And for that, I’m eternally grateful. The last person he discovered before me was Aretha Franklin, and before that Count Basie, Billie Holiday and a whole lot of other artists. All non-commercial artists. Trends did not interest John, and I was very noncommercial but he stayed with me. He believed in my talent and that’s all that mattered. I can’t thank him enough for that.