Robert Allen Zimmerman, the American musician more famously known to the world as Bob Dylan, has been honoured with a special citation award at the 2008 Pulitzer Prize ceremony for his contribution to music - the first time ever that a rock musician has been conferred the award.
The legendary Dylan, a multi-faceted singer-songwriter, musician and an accomplished poet was given the special citation for his "profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power".
Previous recipients of this award include legendary composer George Gershwin and jazz musician John Coltrane.
Dylan is no stranger to accolades, having already received the Grammy, Golden Globe and Academy awards for his musical endeavour. In 2004, Dylan was ranked at the second slot by Rolling Stones in it's list of "Greatest Artists of All Time," behind the Beatles.
The musician was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 and has been repeatedly nominated for the Nobel Prize in literature, but missed it over debate on whether a musician could qualify for it.
Though more profound for his songwriting, Dylan's accomplishments as a performer are second to none with iconic hit numbers such as Blowin' In The Wind, Knockin' On Heaven's Door, The Times They Are-a Changin and many more have topped music charts in many countries
About the Pulitzer Prize:
The Pulitzer Prize giving ceremony, held in New York and presented by the Columbia University, recognises individuals for their achievements in print journalism, literature, drama and musical contribution, and is considered as the highest American honour in the category. The prestigious award, carries a prize money of $10,000.
The award was instituted by Hungarian-American journalist Joseph Pulitzer who later became the publisher of the New York World and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Though Pulitzer made the provision for the award in 1904, the first Pulitzer Prize was awarded only in 1917. Pulitzer had specified four awards in journalism, four in letters and drama, one for education, and four traveling scholarships.
Since the inception of the prizes in 1917, the Pulitzer Prize board has increased the number of awards to 21 and introduced poetry, music, and photography , while adhering to the spirit of the founder's will and its intent to promote excellence.
Incidentally, the first Pulitzer Prize for journalism went to New York World reporter Herbert Bayard Swope and the first Pulitzer in the 'history' category was awarded to the French ambassador to the United States, J J Jusserand, for With Americans of Past and Present Days, in the same year.