During his first interview in three years legendary, rock poet Bob Dylan talked about his love of Frank Sinatra and his decision to release an album of covers of the crooner’s songs.
Dylan, 73, is a true American legend. He has been in the public eye for over 50 years, and yet he remains an enigma. He is famously reclusive and private, and even on stage, he rarely communicates other than through his music. This year marks 40 years since the release of Dylan’s most personal album Blood on the Tracks, and many Dylan fans hold the view that his more recent albums contain some of the best songs he has ever written. It may therefore seem like a strange time to release an album of cover versions.
Not according to Bob, who told AARP that he has been thinking about doing this album for a long time.
Dylan said, “Now is the right time. I’ve been thinking about it ever since I heard Willie [Nelson]’s ‘Stardust’ record in the late 1970s. All through the years, I’ve heard these songs being recorded by other people and I’ve always wanted to do that.”
According to the Guardian, Dylan thinks that Sinatra casts a very long shadow.
Dylan said, “When you start doing these songs, Frank’s got to be on your mind. Because he is the mountain. That’s the mountain you have to climb, even if you only get part of the way there. He had this ability to get inside of the song in a sort of a conversational way. Frank sang to you — not at you.”
According to Rolling Stone, the only track that has made it into Dylan’s live set-list thus far is “Stay With Me,” which you can hear here.
Perhaps surprisingly, Dylan admits that he did not buy any of Sinatra’s records back in the day. Bob claims that no one “worshiped” Sinatra in the 1960s, but he says that you heard his music anyway — it was always on radio, TV, or on the jukebox.
Dylan dismissed any suggestion that recording an album of Sinatra covers might be a risky move on his part.
Bob said, “Risky? Like walking across a field laced with land mines? Or working in a poison gas factory? There’s nothing risky about making records.”
It will undoubtedly be interesting to hear how Bob Dylan interprets Sinatra’s songs. Older Inquisitr readers may recall that David Bowie once said in song that Dylan had a voice like sand and glue. In that respect, Dylan could not be any more different from Sinatra who’s golden tones set the standard for easy listening music.
Dylan himself said that “no one touches” Sinatra, adding, “Comparing me with Frank Sinatra? You must be joking. To be mentioned in the same breath as him must be some sort of high compliment.”
Bob Dylan’s album of Sinatra songs is titled Shadows in the Night, and will be released on February 3. Surprisingly, Dylan is taking an admittedly low-tech leaf out of U2’s book and sending out 50K free copies of the album to AARP readers.
[Image – AP-Joel Ryan]