Robert Allen Zimmerman, who later became known as Bob Dylan, started his career in 1959, when the music business was still evolving and would take a giant step into the future in the 60s. The musician first reached fame as a Folk artist, being recognized by his protest songs and later on he also started to play also the electric guitar, what gave his compositions a new direction.
His songs inspired countless generations of musicians and were extremely important for the evolution of music. A prolific songwriter, Dylan always liked to hear all kinds of music and even artists that most of his fans wouldn’t guess he likes to listen to. He once even revealed to the legendary Pink Floyd guitarist and singer David Gilmour, which is one of the songs he loves from the British Progressive Rock group.
The Pink Floyd song that Bob Dylan said he loves
Pink Floyd was formed in London England in 1965, when Bob Dylan already had released his first six studio albums. At that moment Rock and Roll music was evolving quickly and many sub-genres appeared, including Progressive Rock.
Dylan’s compositions showed artists that they could write about any subject and they didn’t need love songs to be successful anymore. That influenced not only bands like The Beatles but also Pink Floyd. Curiously, the American musician likes the music created by the British group and once told David Gilmour which is one of the songs from their discography that he loves.
The guitarist recalled that conversation in an interview with Record Collector magazine back in 2003. He had the opportunity to meet Dylan a few times during his career and was happy when he praised Floyd.
“The second time we met was around the time of ‘The Delicate Sound Of Thunder’. He said (adopts perfect Dylan accent) hey, I love your record, ‘The Dogs’, man. I was so thrilled. Not many Pink Floyd fans like this track. But Bob does. So it was OK with me.”
The song “Dogs” mentioned by Dylan is one of the most praised tracks from the classic album “Animals” released in 1977. That record was inspired by George Orwell’s book “Animal Farm”. It also has famous songs like “Sheep” and “Pigs (Three Different Ones)”.
Dylan was a huge inspiration for Roger Waters and David Gilmour
Roger Waters and David Gilmour, two important parts of Pink Floyd’s history, were influenced by Dylan. They had praised the American artists many times over the decades. In a conversation with Howard Stern in 2012 (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage), Waters said that Dylan changed his life. He was asked by the radio host about why the band started writing songs that would have more than 3 or 4 minutes and he used Dylan as an example.
“‘(Bob Dylan’s) ‘Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands’ changed my life. When I heard that I thought ‘Worthy’, if Bob can do it I can do it. It’s 20 minutes long, it’s a whole hour and in no way gets dull or boring or anything. You just get more and more and more and grow. It becomes more and more hypnotic the longer it goes on,” Roger Waters said.
He had the chance to pay tribute to Dylan a few times on his career. He once covered the song “Forever Young” live in concert and even made a studio version for “Knocking On Heaven’s Door” for his compilation album “Flickering Flame”, released in 2002.
Gilmour loved when Dylan adopted the electric guitar
Dylan first achieved fame as a Folk artist and when he adopted the electric guitar he was criticized by many fans at the time for “going electric”. But Gilmour loved when that happened. In an interview with The Guardian back in 2006, he recalled being influenced by the American musician when he was young. Also recalled his reaction of hearing him with the electric guitar.
“To me, I was never one of the people who thought Dylan was a monster for going electric. I liked the change. But I must say the power of the young Dylan as the acoustic-playing protest singer- which he’s always denied. But sorry Bob, you were a protest singer.”
“Just to get his guitar and play to a crowd of people and it’s like an arrow. His words come out and the music. People underestimate his actual musical abilities. And the melodies and the words just shoot out like an arrow. I think he was unbelievable. And is,” David Gilmour said.
During a conversation with BBC Radio 4 in 2003, he revealed that one of his favorite songs from the American artist is “Ballad In Plain D”. That track is part of the 1964 album “Another Side of Bob Dylan” and is one of the songs he said he would like to take to a desert island.
(Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage): “I’ve lived through a lot of his heavy protest stuff. But this was another side I’m very keen on. This sort of love song approach. He is wonderful,” David Gilmour said.