Music & Theatre 24 May 2012 "I'm younger than that now": Dylan on ageing A top-five list of his lyrics on growing old, to celebrate his 71st birthday. Sign up for our weekly email * Print HTML Bob Dylan turns 71 today. On 29 May, the song-and-dance man will receive the Presidential Medal of Honour at the White House alongside the former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright and the novelist Toni Morrison. The Bobcat rumour mill, meanwhile, continues to spin, grinding out theories about a new album expected later this year. (A Mexican influence? A song about the sinking of the Titanic?) Despite his recent(ish) return to form that began with the 1997 album Time Out of Mind – and despite the Oscar and Golden Globe he received for the song "Things Have Changed" in 2001, the acclaim heaped upon the first volume of his memoirs, his painting exhibitions, his radio shows and his 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Being Bob Dylan – he seems far from ready to go gently into the night. Where he once urged his listeners to stay "forever young", however, he now more readily admits: "It's not dark yet, but it's getting there." In a 2006 interview, Dylan said: "I always wanted to stop when I was on top. I didn't want to fade away. I didn't want to be a has-been, I wanted to be somebody who'd never be forgotten." With fading away out of the question, one major cause for reflection seems to be the ageing process. The mind can remain alive to the world; but what of the physical body? Below is a top-five list of his Grand Statements on Growing Older, chosen somewhat undemocratically by me. Do use the comments section below if you can think of any better. 5. From "Highlands" (Time Out of Mind, 1997): I see people in the park forgetting their troubles and woes They’re drinking and dancing, wearing bright-colored clothes All the young men with their young women looking so good Well, I’d trade places with any of them in a minute, if I could 4. From "My Back Pages" (Another Side of Bob Dylan, 1964): Ah, but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now 3. From "Bob Dylan’s Dream" (Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, 1963): With haunted hearts through the heat and cold We never thought we could ever get old We thought we could sit forever in fun But our chances really was a million to one 2. From "Red River Shore" (Tell Tale Signs, 2008): Well we're living in the shadows of a fading past Trapped in the fires of time I've tried not to ever hurt anybody And to stay out of the life of crime And when it's all been said and done I never did know the score One more day is another day away From the girl from the red river shore 1. From "Floater (Too Much to Ask)" ("Love and Theft", 2001): The old men ’round here, sometimes they get On bad terms with the younger men But old, young, age don’t carry weight It doesn’t matter in the end › More Americans are pro-life and more believe abortion should be legal. (Not a typo) Jokerman: Dylan in performance in April 2011. Credit: AFP/Getty Images Yo Zushi is a contributing writer for the New Statesman. His work as a musician is released by Eidola Records. Subscribe from just £1 per issue More Related articles Kate Mossman on extreme pop tourism: who would fly 5,000 miles for a gig? Crowd-sourced pop singer Hatsune Miku reveals the true nature of stardom Chuck Berry 1926-2017: "The only true king of rock'n'roll"