US president Barack Obama presented the singer and twelve others with the country's highest civilian honour on Tuesday (May 29).
"By the time he was 23, Bob's voice, with its weight, its unique gravelly power, was redefining not just what music sounded like, but the message it carried and how it made people feel," Obama said.
"Today, everybody from Bruce Springsteen to U2 owes Bob a debt of gratitude," he continued. "There is not a bigger giant in the history of American music. All these years later, he's still chasing that sound, still searching for a little bit of truth, and I have to say that I am a really big fan."
"I remember in college listening to Bob Dylan and my world opening up, because he captured something about this country that was so vital," Obama concluded.
The other honorees included former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, novelist Toni Morrison, and John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth. Women's college basketball coach Pat Summitt and former Supreme Court judge John Paul Stevens were also presented with the accolade.
"Everybody on this stage has marked my life in profound ways," Obama said of the various Medal of Freedom recipients.
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Watch Bob Dylan's video for 'Subterranean Homesick Blues' below: