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 on Saturday Dec. 10, 2016. (Jonas Ekstromer/TT News Agency via AP)
Revered punk rock singer Patti Smith was chosen to honor Bob Dylan as the recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature, and she did a perfect job – even when she messed up a few lines.
Smith performed Dylan’s song “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, led by conductor Hans Ek. Smith messed up the words of the second verse.
“I’m sorry, I’m so nervous,” Smith said. The audience applauded her, supporting her attempt to restart the verse.
Viewers praised the moment for its sincerity and for showing the ability of Dylan, and music, to bring people together. It was perhaps best described by Amanda Petrusich, of The New Yorker.
“The entire performance felt like a fierce and instantaneous corrective to “times like these”—a reiteration of the deep, overwhelming, and practical utility of art to combat pain,” Petrusich wrote. “In that moment, the mission of the Nobel transcended any of its individual recipients. How plainly glorious to celebrate this work.”
— Jeremy Vine (@theJeremyVine) December 10, 2016
She fumbled her lines, but Patti Smith resurrected the power & spirit of Bob Dylan ‘s early poetry at the Nobel gig https://t.co/DjGiAcijUb
— Siddhartha Basu (@babubasu) December 11, 2016
Here’s to Patti Smith & the poetry of Dylan. The words of ‘hard rain’ seem so appropriate for these times https://t.co/NJ0N2uClY4
— Wendy Bacon (@Wendy_Bacon) December 11, 2016
Forget stupid headlines about ‘nerves’, this is beautiful.I hope Bob Dylan one day picks up Patti Smith’s Nobel : https://t.co/11jNVGY3pJ
— emily bell (@emilybell) December 10, 2016
Watch footage of the performance below, and read Dylan’s acceptance speech in full.