Bob Dylan chronicles roots of his music at gala in his honour

Actress Priyanka Chopra attends the 25th anniversary MusiCares 2015 Person Of The Year Gala honoring Bob Dylan at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Feb 7, 2015, in Los Angeles, California. -- PHOTO: AFP
Actress Priyanka Chopra attends the 25th anniversary MusiCares 2015 Person Of The Year Gala honoring Bob Dylan at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Feb 7, 2015, in Los Angeles, California. -- PHOTO: AFP
(left-right) Musicians Richie Sambora, Orianthi, and Michael Bearden attend the 25th anniversary MusiCares 2015 Person Of The Year Gala honoring Bob Dylan at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Feb 6, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. -- PHOTO: AFP
(left-right) Musicians Richie Sambora, Orianthi, and Michael Bearden attend the 25th anniversary MusiCares 2015 Person Of The Year Gala honoring Bob Dylan at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Feb 6, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. -- PHOTO: AFP
US singers Lady Gaga (left) and Tony Bennett (right) arrive for the 2015 MusiCares Person of the Year gala in Los Angeles, California, US on Feb 6, 2015. -- PHOTO: EPA
US singers Lady Gaga (left) and Tony Bennett (right) arrive for the 2015 MusiCares Person of the Year gala in Los Angeles, California, US on Feb 6, 2015. -- PHOTO: EPA
Actress Kat Dennings and musician Josh Groban arrive at the 2015 MusiCares Person of the Year tribute honoring Bob Dylan in Los Angeles, California on Feb 6, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Actress Kat Dennings and musician Josh Groban arrive at the 2015 MusiCares Person of the Year tribute honoring Bob Dylan in Los Angeles, California on Feb 6, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Musician Sheryl Crow performs Boots Of Spanish Leather at the 2015 MusiCares Person of the Year tribute honoring Bob Dylan in Los Angeles, California on Feb 6, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Musician Sheryl Crow performs Boots Of Spanish Leather at the 2015 MusiCares Person of the Year tribute honoring Bob Dylan in Los Angeles, California on Feb 6, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Musician Neil Young performs Blowin' In The Wind during the 2015 MusiCares Person of the Year tribute honoring Bob Dylan in Los Angeles, California Feb 6, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Musician Neil Young performs Blowin' In The Wind during the 2015 MusiCares Person of the Year tribute honoring Bob Dylan in Los Angeles, California Feb 6, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences President Neil Portnow (left) and honoree Bob Dylan appear onstage at the 25th anniversary MusiCares 2015 Person Of The Year Gala honoring Bob Dylan at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Feb 6, 2015 i
National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences President Neil Portnow (left) and honoree Bob Dylan appear onstage at the 25th anniversary MusiCares 2015 Person Of The Year Gala honoring Bob Dylan at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Feb 6, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. -- PHOTO: AFP
(Left-right) Singer Bruce Springsteen, musician Don Was and musician Tom Morello perform onstage at the 25th anniversary MusiCares 2015 Person Of The Year Gala honoring Bob Dylan at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Feb 6, 2015, in Los Angeles, Ca
(Left-right) Singer Bruce Springsteen, musician Don Was and musician Tom Morello perform onstage at the 25th anniversary MusiCares 2015 Person Of The Year Gala honoring Bob Dylan at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Feb 6, 2015, in Los Angeles, California. -- PHOTO: AFP
Singer Norah Jones onstage at the 25th anniversary MusiCares 2015 Person Of The Year Gala honoring Bob Dylan at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Feb 6, 2015, in Los Angeles, California.  -- PHOTO: AFP
Singer Norah Jones onstage at the 25th anniversary MusiCares 2015 Person Of The Year Gala honoring Bob Dylan at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Feb 6, 2015, in Los Angeles, California.  -- PHOTO: AFP
Singer Tom Jones performs onstage at the 25th anniversary MusiCares 2015 Person Of The Year Gala honoring Bob Dylan at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Feb 6, 2015, in Los Angeles, California.  -- PHOTO: AFP
Singer Tom Jones performs onstage at the 25th anniversary MusiCares 2015 Person Of The Year Gala honoring Bob Dylan at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Feb 6, 2015, in Los Angeles, California.  -- PHOTO: AFP
US musicians Don Was (left) and John Densmore (right) arrive for the 2015 MusiCares Person of the Year gala in Los Angeles, California, US, on Feb 6, 2015.  -- PHOTO: EPA
US musicians Don Was (left) and John Densmore (right) arrive for the 2015 MusiCares Person of the Year gala in Los Angeles, California, US, on Feb 6, 2015.  -- PHOTO: EPA
Honoree Bob Dylan speaks onstage at the 25th anniversary MusiCares 2015 Person Of The Year Gala honoring Bob Dylan at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Feb 6, 2015, in Los Angeles, California. -- PHOTO: AFP
Honoree Bob Dylan speaks onstage at the 25th anniversary MusiCares 2015 Person Of The Year Gala honoring Bob Dylan at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Feb 6, 2015, in Los Angeles, California. -- PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - Bob Dylan, known for playing concerts with barely a word spoken to his audience, gave a lengthy speech on Friday at a gala in his honour where he chronicled the roots of his music while also praising and ribbing famous figures.

The 73-year-old Dylan, considered by many musicians and critics to be the best singer-songwriter of his time, spoke for 40 minutes at the Los Angeles event tied to this weekend's Grammy Awards, as he was named "person of the year" by the MusiCares charity.

Former United States (US) president Jimmy Carter handed Dylan the award after a night of performances of his songs, including Knocking On Heaven's Door and Standing In The Doorway, by a cast of superstars.

Beck and Sheryl Crow played harmonica, Jack White flew through a guitar solo, Bruce Springsteen jammed with Tom Morello, Norah Jones gave a bluesy piano performance and Los Lobos sang in Spanish.

But Dylan neither played nor sang. Instead, he read from a speech detailing his roots in folk music. "All these songs are connected, don't be fooled, I was just opening up a different door in a different kind of way," Dylan, wearing a bolo tie, told the audience.

To prove his point, Dylan recited lyrics from traditional songs such as John Henry and Come All You Fair And Tender Ladies, followed by words from his most famous songs such as Blowin' In the Wind and The Times They Are A-Changin', demonstrating how his lyrics mirrored the earlier songs.

He also spoke rapturously about musical figures from his past, calling Joan Baez a "free, independent spirit" and Nina Simone an "overwhelming artist".

But Dylan also lambasted several famous people he described as having thought little of him, including songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller who wrote hits for Elvis Presley.

Dylan grew up in a Jewish family in a remote mining town in Minnesota, then dropped out of college and moved to New York where he became famous in the early 1960s.

The 10-time Grammy winner has tirelessly re-invented himself, at various times taking on the persona of pop jester, rock superstar, evangelising Christian and wizened poet.

The gala raised a record US$7 million (S$9.4 million) for the MusiCares Foundation, which helps members of the music industry who have fallen on hard times, Neil Portnow, president of the National Academy of the Recording Arts and Sciences told the crowd.