Bob-DylanDylan said of Hank Williams’ passing that it was as if a mighty tree had fallen. His music has always been influenced by his counterparts, and this article has a look at who he likes to listen to.

Hank Williams, 1923 – 1953

Dylan has said that he identified strongly with Williams as a young boy, and that never changed. Dylan was deeply affected by his death, and pays tribute to him by singing songs Williams wrote, including Don’t Look Back, Hey Good Lookin’, and Thank God.

Frank Sinatra, 1915 – 2016

Dylan has mentioned how phenomenal Sinatra’s rendition of Ebb Tide, by Carl Sigman, is, many times. He said that the manner in which Sinatra made it his own continues to astound him, bringing up imagery of God, the universe, and death in Dylan’s imaginings every time he listens to it.

Woody Guthrie, 1912 – 1967

Dylan has spoken of Guthrie’s astonishing repertoire many times, and explains that there were songs that seemed like epiphanies when he first heard them. Dylan likened finding Guthrie to being in the dark and then having someone suddenly turn on a lightning conductor switch!

Aaron Neville, 1941 –

Dylan has said that Neville is one of the world’s finest singers, and speaks of the rugged power of his voice, which is surprisingly angelic for a man built as stoutly as he is. Dylan speaks of a spirituality to Neville’s songs that restore his faith in man every time he starts to lose hope.

Gordon Lightfoot, 1938 –

Dylan mentions Lightfoot’s career as running parallel to his own, and has said that he can’t think of a single song by this singer-songwriter that he doesn’t love.

If you enjoy playing online pokies while you are relaxing at home, Lightfoot’s music makes for a wonderful background track as you spin the reels and have some fun!

Joan Baez, 1941 –

Dylan has said that there is no one who can touch Baez, and speaks of her singing being the finest there is.

Johnny Cash, 1932 – 2003

Dylan has stated that the famous lyric, I keep a close watch on this heart of mine, from Cash’s well-known I Walk the Line, has seen him through many rough periods. He once said that Johnny’s voice was so big that it made the world seem smaller.

Randy Newman, 1943 –

Dylan mentions Newman’s early songs, including Sail Away, that are remarkable for their simplicity, and are almost an artform. He says he puts Newman in the same class as Jelly Roll Morton, and enjoys the deceiving easiness with which the singer performs, all the while saying important things. He has also said that Newman is linked to a different era in the same way that Dylan feels he is.

Warren Zevon, 1947 – 2003

Zevon’s classical training sees him bringing wild musical patterns into his work, something which Dylan has mentioned. Dylan says there are sometimes as many as three songs hidden inside one bigger one, and particularly mentioned Desperado Under the Eaves.

Henry Arlen, 1905 – 1986

Dylan wrote about Arlen’s work, saying that escaping from the bittersweet intensity that he created was impossible. This singer is the author of classic songs like Somewhere Over the Rainbow and Come Rain or Come Shine.

Categories: Stories of artists

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