You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Patti Smith explains Dylan lyric flub in candid essay

Associated Press logo Associated Press 12/15/2016 By SANDY COHEN, AP Entertainment Writer
FILE - In this Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016 file photo, US singer Patti Smith performs "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" by absent 2016 Nobel literature laureate Bob Dylan during the 2016 Nobel prize award ceremony at the Stockholm Concert Hall. Smith says that when she stumbled over the lyrics of a Bob Dylan song during the Nobel Prize ceremony last week, it was because she was overwhelmed with nerves by the enormity of the experience, not because she forgot the words to "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall." Smith writes in an essay published Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016, by the New Yorker that after loving the song since she was a teenager and rehearsing it incessantly in the months and days leading up to the ceremony, its lyrics "were now a part of me." (Jonas Ekstromer/TT News Agency via AP, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016 file photo, US singer Patti Smith performs "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" by absent 2016 Nobel literature laureate Bob Dylan during the 2016 Nobel prize award ceremony at the Stockholm Concert Hall. Smith says that when she stumbled over the lyrics of a Bob Dylan song during the Nobel Prize ceremony last week, it was because she was overwhelmed with nerves by the enormity of the experience, not because she forgot the words to "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall." Smith writes in an essay published Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016, by the New Yorker that after loving the song since she was a teenager and rehearsing it incessantly in the months and days leading up to the ceremony, its lyrics "were now a part of me." (Jonas Ekstromer/TT News Agency via AP, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Patti Smith says that when she stumbled over the lyrics of a Bob Dylan song during the Nobel Prize ceremony last week, it was because she was overwhelmed with nerves by the enormity of the experience, not because she forgot the words to "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall."

FILE - In this Sept. 7, 2016 file photo, Patti Smith attends the Cartier Fifth Avenue Mansion grand reopening celebration in New York. Smith says that when she stumbled over the lyrics of a Bob Dylan song during the Nobel Prize ceremony last week, it was because she was overwhelmed with nerves by the enormity of the experience, not because she forgot the words to "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall." Smith writes in an essay published Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016, by the New Yorker that after loving the song since she was a teenager and rehearsing it incessantly in the months and days leading up to the ceremony, its lyrics "were now a part of me." (Photo by Greg Allen/Invision/AP, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Sept. 7, 2016 file photo, Patti Smith attends the Cartier Fifth Avenue Mansion grand reopening celebration in New York. Smith says that when she stumbled over the lyrics of a Bob Dylan song during the Nobel Prize ceremony last week, it was because she was overwhelmed with nerves by the enormity of the experience, not because she forgot the words to "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall." Smith writes in an essay published Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016, by the New Yorker that after loving the song since she was a teenager and rehearsing it incessantly in the months and days leading up to the ceremony, its lyrics "were now a part of me." (Photo by Greg Allen/Invision/AP, File)

Smith writes in an essay published Wednesday by the New Yorker that after loving the song since she was a teenager and rehearsing it incessantly in the months and days leading up to the ceremony, its lyrics "were now a part of me."

"I hadn't forgotten the words that were now a part of me," she writes. "I was simply unable to draw them out."

The singer-songwriter explains that she had chosen one of her own songs when she was invited in September to perform at the Nobel ceremony in honor of the eventual literature laureate. But when Dylan was announced as the recipient, she chose one of her longtime favorites from his catalog.

Smith writes that on the morning of the ceremony, "I thought of my mother, who bought me my first Dylan album when I was barely sixteen."

"It occurred to me then that, although I did not live in the time of Arthur Rimbaud, I existed in the time of Bob Dylan," Smith writes. "I also thought of my husband and remembered performing the song together, picturing his hands forming the chords."

Smith suddenly stopped singing during her performance at Stockholm's Concert Hall on Dec. 10 and asked the orchestra to begin again. "I apologize. I'm sorry, I'm so nervous," Smith said at the time.

In her candid, poetic piece published Wednesday, she says guests at the ceremony received her kindly and told her that her performance "seemed a metaphor for our own struggles." She says the experience made her "come to terms with the truer nature of my duty."

"Why do we commit our work? Why do we perform?" she writes. "It is above all for the entertainment and transformation of the people. It is all for them. The song asked for nothing. The creator of the song asked for nothing. So why should I ask for anything?"

___

Follow AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen at www.twitter.com/APSandy .

AdChoices
AdChoices
AdChoices
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon