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The group that Bob Dylan said was one of his favorites of all time

Bob Dylan


The group that Bob Dylan said was one of his favorites of all time

One of the most prolific songwriters of all time, Bob Dylan wrote more than 600 songs and was a huge influence to artists all over the world during the past six decades. He had the chance to see the evolution of the music business up-close and to meet many legendary musicians.


He paid close attention to many different music genres and reinvented himself as an artist many times during his career. Although he doesn’t talk a lot with the press, the musician once revealed which was one of his favorite bands of all time. Rock and Roll Garage selected what he said about that group and his connection with them.

The group that Bob Dylan said was one of his favorites of all time

During his speech at MusiCares, in 2015, when he was elected Person of The Year, Bob Dylan talked about a lot of things, including artists who had covered his songs. One of them were Pervis Staples and The Staple Singers, which he said are one of his favorite groups of all time.

“The Byrds, the Turtles, Sonny & Cher. They made some of my songs Top 10 hits but I wasn’t a pop songwriter. I really didn’t want to be that, but it was good that it happened. Their versions of songs were like commercials. But I didn’t really mind that because 50 years later my songs were being used in the commercials. So that was good too. I was glad it happened, and I was glad they’d done it.”

“Pervis Staples and the Staple Singers, long before they were on Stax they were on Epic and they were one of my favorite groups of all time. I met them all in ’62 or ’63. They heard my songs live and Pervis wanted to record three or four of them. He did it with the Staples Singers. They were the type of artists that I wanted recording my songs,” Bob Dylan said.

Formed in Chicago, Illinois in 1948, The Staple Singers were a Gospel, Soul and R&B group. The singing band was formed by the family’s patriarch Roebuck “Pops” Staples” alongside his children. They were: Cleotha, Pervis, Yvonne and Mavis.

Some of their most favorite songs are “I’ll Take You There”, “Respect Yourself”, “Let’s Do It Again” and “If You’re Ready (Come Go With Me)”.

Dylan wanted to marry Mavis Staples but she rejected his proposal

Already in 1969, in his first interview to Rolling Stone magazine, Dylan praised the group. During that conversation he praised Mavis Staples, who was one of the singers of the group.

“You mean rhythm & blues pop? Well, you know I’ve always liked Mavis Staples ever since she was a little girl. She’s always been my favorite . . . she’s always had my favorite voice,” Bob Dylan said.

The Folk Rock artist was not only in love with her music. He also wanted to marry her but she rejected his proposal back in the 60s. She was two years older than Dylan and started her career when she was still a child, in 1950, at the age of eleven. Bob would only start his career seven years later, in 1957.

He already said that listening to the band on the radio when he was still in highschool made his “hair stand up”. In the 60s, he finally had the chance to meet Mavis and they had a brief relationship. As Mavis told The Guardian in 2016, Bob wanted to marry her but she rejected his proposal.

“I often think about what would have happened if I’d married Bobby, though. If we’d had some little plum-crushers, how our lives would be. The kids would be singing now, and Bobby and I would be holding each other up,” Mavis Staples said.

They shared the stage many times and toured together

Although they didn’t become a couple, they have performed together many times over the decades. They also covered many Dylan tracks, the first one being “Blowin’ In The Wind” in 1963.

In 2016, Dylan finally invited her to tour with him and as she told Rolling Stone, he said once again they should have married each other. “We embraced. I said to him, ‘I’ve been wanting to see you! Where have you been?’ He said, ‘Well, if you had married me you’d see me every day.’ I said, ‘Oh my God! Don’t do me like that!’ ”

The Staple Singers were active from 1948 to 1994 and then in 1999, when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. As a solo artist, Mavis released 13 studio albums.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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