Kris Kristofferson and Bob Dylan mutual admiration
“Dylan’s probably my biggest hero as an artist, songwriter and singer” – Kris Kristofferson
We have chosen to take a look into the relationship between Kris Kristofferson and Bob Dylan, and as expected it is harder to find quotes from Dylan than Kristofferson.
Dylan and Kristofferson go back a long time. Kris Kristofferson was a janitor in a Nashville studio when Dylan was recording Blonde on Blonde in 1966. They both appeared in the 1973 film “Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid” and they have recorded and performed each others’ material. Dylan covered Kristofferson’s They Killed Him on his album, Knocked Out Loaded.
Here Bob Dylan gives much praise to Kris Kristofferson in his recent talk at MusiCares:
“Everything was all right until – until – Kristofferson came to town. Oh, they ain’t seen anybody like him. He came into town like a wildcat that he was, flew a helicopter into Johnny Cash’s backyard, not your typical songwriter. And he went for the throat. “Sunday Morning Coming Down.”
Well, I woke up Sunday morning
With no way to hold my head that didn’t hurt.
And the beer I had for breakfast wasn’t bad
So I had one more for dessert
Then I fumbled through my closet
Found my cleanest dirty shirt
Then I washed my face and combed my hair
And stumbled down the stairs to meet the day.
You can look at Nashville pre-Kris and post-Kris, because he changed everything. That one song blew ol’ Tom T. Hall’s world apart. He couldn’t see it coming. It might have sent him to the mad house. God forbid he ever heard any of my songs.
You walk into the room
With your pencil in your hand
You see somebody naked
You say, “Who is that man?”
You try so hard
But you don’t understand
Just what you’re gonna say
When you get home
But you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?
If “Sunday Morning Coming Down” rattled Tom’s cage, sent him into the loony bin, my song surely would have made him blow his brains out, right there in the loony bin. Hopefully he didn’t hear it.”
Billy The Kid: How does it feel?
Pat Garret: It feels like the times have changed.
I just love the way Peckinpah lets his audience in on a joke here. He doesn’t exactly hide that Dylan is part of the film.
Pat Garret and Billy The Kid ~ Favorite Lines and Scenes :
“Bob was hesitant to do it, he’d never been in a film before and I said, ‘Listen, man, everybody wants you. It’ll be fine,’ Well, I remember that first night we were watching the dailies,” says Kristofferson, before pausing for a full minute to laugh. “Sam was drinking a little too much in those days and he just walked up to the screen and he pissed on it. Dylan looked at me, didn’t say a word, but I knew what he was thinking: ‘What the hell have you gotten me into?’ ”
– Kris Kristofferson
Alias introduces himself:
Kris Kristofferson sings Bob Dylan:
Arizona Republic interview:
Q: I love that first album you did, with “Blame it on the Stones” as the opening track (1970’s “Kristofferson”). How did it feel to get in the studio and make an album of your own songs.
A: It just seemed like a good progression of what I was doing, to move in the direction of someone like Bob Dylan. I got to see him when I was a janitor there at Columbia, and Johnny Cash had us both out to his house. That’s who I wanted to be like, was Bob Dylan.
Q: Wait. So Dylan, you and Johnny Cash were all at Johnny Cash’s house together? That’s a good day.
A: Yeah (laughs). Looking back on it, it really was amazing. The first time I went to Nashville, I had been nothing but a janitor and a songwriter. So when I first met Bob, I didn’t even talk to him, but I was the only songwriter in Nashville who got to be at those sessions for the “Blonde on Blonde” album (in 1966). It was great. I had never seen anybody work like that. In Nashville, they figured in three hours, you could do three songs. But he went in there and sat at the piano all night long while the band played ping-pong or did whatever they wanted to do (laughs). And around 7 in the morning, he’d get ’em and they’d cut another great track.
I’ll be your baby tonight:
Kris Kristofferson once said that he probably started writing Help me make it through the night “because I liked Dylan’s ‘I’ll be your baby tonight’ so much”.
Kris Kristofferson – Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn):
This cover is one of the many highlights on the album Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International.
From the site American Songwriter:
“Dylan changed songwriting to a place where we could all be proud of it, and I feel a real debt of gratitude to him,” Kristofferson told American Songwriter. “My heroes Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, they all ended up being my friends, and we were all helped and influenced by Dylan. He opened up songwriting and turned it into a form of poetry.”
Maggie’s Farm at Pete Seeger’s 90th Birthday sung by Kris Kristofferson, Richie Havens, Taj Mahal, Warren Haynes, and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott (bad quality, but worth seeing anyway):
Bob Dylan sings Kris Kristofferson:
Bob Dylan – They killed him
Kristofferson on how he felt when Dylan covered one of his songs: “I was blown away. I think he is the most significant songwriter in modern times. He just influenced songwriting. All of the sudden, you could feel like you were writing poetry. “
I have read somewhere that Dylan also did a version of Help Me Make It Through The Night, but I haven’t found any information about it. If someone out there on the “interweb” know something, please enlighten me!
Bob Dylan – Help me make it through the night (audio):