Watch Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton cover Robert Johnson’s masterpiece ‘Crossroads’
We’re dipping into the Far Out Magazine vault to look at two of the sixties brightest stars—Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan. Balls of creative energy and flaring power, so bright that their reflections can still be felt rolling around the music world to this day.
Two of the leading lights of the decade and beyond, Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton became Godlike in their respective crafts—Dylan the ultimate wordsmith and Clapton the guitar genius. Here those two forces combine for a special performance of Robert Johnson’s ultimate blues number, ‘Crossroads’.
The show took place back in 1999 at one of Clapton’s all-star benefits which he holds every year to support his rehabilitation clinic in Antigua called Crossroads. Usually, the cast of the concerts are all guitar legends, acts such as Bo Diddley, Carlos Santana, but the inaugural event saw the guitar God’s old friend Bob Dylan join Clapton to perform a set of special songs.
One of the most difficult things for any artist to do while guest appearing on someone else’s gig is to follow a big track. For Clapton and his fans, there’s perhaps no song bigger than ‘Layla’. It was after this mammoth track that Clapton welcomed Dylan to the stage rather nonchalantly.
Could the wordsmith match up to the powerful pop that had come before him? (Mary J Blige and Sheryl Crow had already performed)—you can bet your life on it.
The duo first paid homage to Dylan’s back catalogue with a run of classic covers including ‘Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right’ and ‘It’s Not Dark Yet’ before finishing up with their tribute to the legendary Robert Johnson with a rendition of his song, and the benefit’s title, ‘Crossroads’.
The track has become a part of Robert Johnson’s vibrant mythology as it refers to the place where he supposedly sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for his wide-reaching and astounding musical talents, which according to rumour, seemed to appear overnight.
The song has always had a special place in Eric Clapton’s heart, once selecting it as part of his Desert island Discs, and he gives the performance his all allowing both himself and Dylan to flourish. Those who attended the vent in 1999 were treated to a blast from the past, present, and we can still assure them, future.