‘The Bard’, Bob Dylan, is one of the most celebrated musicians of all time. Rivalled only by The Beatles, Dylan’s output has been so influential and pioneering that he was even ascribed the moniker the ‘Voice of a Generation’ back in his 1960s heyday. He expertly soundtracked that momentous decade, and with his political and social narratives, characterised by unique, surreal humour, he cast himself into the collective heart of music lovers worldwide.
A modern iteration of the troubadour’s of years gone by, Dylan is a deeply intellectual musician who takes many cues from literature. Furthermore, he has encompassed a wide variety of musical modes across his long, illustrious career. At different points, his work has touched on folk, jazz, gospel and hard rock.
Hard to pin down and only really pigeonholed by the respect that his name inspires, Bob Dylan is a true artist. His interdisciplinary approach to the arts even culminated in him being awarded the coveted Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016 “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”.
For a man so hard to pin down, it is understandable that as an artist, he is made up of a vibrant patchwork of influences that have all fed into him cultivating a career that is totally unique. No stranger to throwing up surprises, back in 2017, Dylan’s website revealed a genuinely astonishing fact. Fans and critics alike have always been keen in their attempt to understand Bob Dylan’s thought process, as he has always carried a level of mystique within him. On this website entry, Dylan was asked about his favourite music. He gave honourable mentions to Iggy Pop, Willie Nelson and the late soul diva, Amy Winehouse.
However, on this list, Dylan mentioned another artist that took everybody by surprise. Incredulous Bob Dylan fans received this surprising name with a customary scratching of the head and an audible gasp. The culprit was none other than Wales’ favourite sons; Stereophonics.
To our readers not from the UK, you’re probably asking yourself, ‘Who in the hell are Stereophonics?’, and you’d be right to do so. A stadium-filling band on the shores of Britain, Stereophonics have never really made a significant impact outside of western Europe.
Don’t get us wrong, Stereophonics had some bangers back in the day, and they were one of the UK’s hottest groups at the turn of the millennium. Still, now they have seemingly faded into somewhat of a parody of themselves and their output since 2005 has been pretty forgettable.
Maybe we’re a little harsh, and one would like to take the opportunity to state that their second record, 1999’s Performance and Cocktails, is pretty underrated. Containing nostalgic anthems such as ‘Roll Up and Shine’ and ‘The Bartender and the Thief’, it’s always worth a revisit if you find yourself yearning for better days.
Nevertheless, Dylan didn’t mention the details of his Stereophonics fandom, aside from dropping their name in. This is all the more intriguing, making us ponder just what about the Welsh rockers Dylan is a fan of?
Frontman Kelly Jones provided The New York Times with a potential reason. He thinks it’s the similarity in their writing style, which Jones admitted was partially inspired by Dylan. He postulated: “The only thing I can put it down to is the storytelling. That’s what’s always been in our music — a beginning, middle and end. I’ve always loved that in Bob’s work; my favourite Dylan song is ‘Who Killed Davey Moore?,’ which is about a boxer that died in the ring.”
Jones then discussed how he found out that Dylan was a fan of his band. He said: “I didn’t know what to make of it, initially.” He revealed that his compatriot and funnyman, Rob Brydon, alerted him to the news. Jones said: “It was Rob Brydon that told me about it — he sent me a text. Of course, it gives you a jab in the arm.”
He concluded that the information came as a welcome boost, as the band were about to head out in support of their album Scream Above the Sounds. He said: “Everyone needs that, especially at this point where we’re about to put an album out (later in the year) and go back on the road. This is where you constantly question yourself, and wonder if this album is as good as the last thing you did.”
Bob Dylan is a Stereophonics fan. Let that sink in. Well, we did say he’s a man full of surprises. One wonders what he thinks of Travis too.
Take a trip down memory lane and listen to Stereophonics ‘Dakota‘ below.