Legendary folk musician Bob Dylan, 71, was among several notable recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, handed out Tuesday by President Barack Obama at the White House.

"This is the highest civilian honor this country can bestow, which is ironic, because nobody sets out to win it," Obama said in front of a packed hall of honorees, guests and top U.S. officials like Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. "No one ever picks up a guitar, or fights a disease, or starts a movement, thinking, 'You know what, if I keep this up, in 2012, I could get a medal in the White House from a guy named Barack Obama.'"

Obama elaborated on Dylan's towering influence among the greats of rock music. "Today, everybody from Bruce Springsteen to U2 owes Bob a debt of gratitude," the president said. "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." Obama added: "And I have to say that I am a really big fan."

Dylan, former astronaut John Glenn, novelist Toni Morrison, former secretary of state Madeleine Albright and nine others received the medal from Obama.

Check out the video here, courtesy of CBS News:

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