Bob Dylan today won the coveted Prince of Asturias prize for the Arts 2007, Spain's equivalent of the Nobel awards.

The Prince of Asturias arts jury chairman, former Spanish trade minister José Lladó, said Dylan "is a living legend" and "a beacon for a generation that had the dream of changing the world" when he announced the award at a hotel in Oviedo, the capital of the northern Spanish region of Asturias. The Prince of Asturias, equivalent to the UK's Prince of Wales, is Prince Felipe, heir to the Spanish throne.

Dylan's is the second of eight awards to be revealed. Earlier, former vice president of the United States Al Gore was awarded the Prince of Asturias award for International Cooperation for his work in combating climate change.

Four other finalists competed with Dylan in the shortlist - musician Andrew Lloyd Webber, Portuguese pianist Maria Joao Pires, and architects Frank Gehry and Rafael Moneo. In all, there were 58 candidates from 23 countries. Dylan will receive 50,000 euros ($66,500) in prize money plus a sculpture created by Spanish sculptor Joan Miró. Last year's Prince of Asturias award for the Arts went to Spanish film director Pedro Almodovar. Previous Arts awards have gone to flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia and US actor/director Woody Allen.

Lladó said Dylan had combined "song and poetry in a work that created a school and determined the sentimental education of several millions of people", and had been "a reflection of the spirit of an epoch that looked for answers in the wind."

Dylan produced seven seminal albums in just four years between 1962 and 1966, from 'Bob Dylan' (1962) to 'Blonde On Blonde' (1966) that reflected the spirit of a generation in a way that perhaps no other pop artist ever has. But his first US No 1 did not arrive until 1974, with his 16th album, 'Planet Waves'. His last and 44th album, 'Modern Times' released in August 2006, also reached No 1 in the US.