Bob Dylan’s pot-smoking and protesting past will not, after all, prevent him from receiving France’s highest honour.
The US veteran folk singer has been nominated by Aurelie Filippetti, the culture minister and an avowed Dylan fan, to be awarded the Legion d’Honneur.
The move was thrown into doubt last month when Jean-Louis Georgelin, the Grand Chancellor of the Legion, blocked the nomination, reportedly because of reservations about Dylan’s use of cannabis and anti-war politics.
But Georgelin said on Monday that Dylan’s candidacy had since been approved following a review by the Legion’s board of the “chaotic life and lyrics of an exceptional artist who is recognised in his own country and throughout the world as a major singer and a great poet.”
“The board has now transmitted a favourable opinion to the president of the republic and the minister of culture will shortly be able to appoint Bob Dylan to the Legion d’Honneur,” Georgelin told Le Monde.
The army general acknowledged that he had opposed Dylan’s nomination being approved without a proper review of the singer’s past.
“I could see no justification for bypassing the normal procedure,” he said.
Presuming he accepts the award, Dylan will be following in the footsteps of former Beatle Paul McCartney, who received the Legion d’Honneur in September 2012.
Established by Napoleon, the Order of the Legion d’Honneur honours individuals who have served France in various ways.
Foreigners do not formally become members of the order but are decorated with the insignia of the legion in recognition of service to France or work that is deemed to uphold the ideals of the country.