FILE – Bob Dylan arrives for a ceremony to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the East Room of the White House, in this May 29, 2012 file photo taken in Washington. Dylan couldn’t be there to be inducted Wednesday May 15, 2013 into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, but his presence was felt in both letter and spirit. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
NEW YORK (AP) — Michael Chabon had long been mystified by that Bob Dylan lyric about “midnight’s broken toe.”
The Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, the keynote speaker Wednesday at the annual induction ceremony of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, was explaining his undiminished passion for rock music and confiding that he had become obsessed by the opening line to Dylan’s “Chimes of Freedom.”
“Far between sundown’s finish an’ midnight’s broken toe.”
The answer was both simple and embarrassing; Dylan was singing about “midnight’s broken toll,” not toe.
“How many hours I had devoted to (the idea) … that midnight had toes, and that one of them, the big one, had been broken,” Chabon said.
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