As individual creative forces go, it doesn’t get much powerful than the great Bob Dylan and Tom Waits. Two iconic figures of alternative music helming from distinctly different backgrounds but both pioneering a similar message.
Generally speaking, both musicians haven’t been particularly well known for collaborating. While Waits has developed a distinctive style of his own, he has always been vocal of Dylan’s influence over his creative vision in his formative years. “Suffice it to say Dylan is a planet to be explored,” Waits once said of Dylan.
He added: “For a songwriter, Dylan is as essential as a hammer and nails and a saw are to a carpenter… His journey as a songwriter is the stuff of myth because he lives within the ether of the songs.”
Not shy to show his admiration for Dylan, Waits described him as a “master” when paying tribute after the singer-songwriter was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature: “It’s a great day for Literature and for Bob when a Master of its original form is celebrated. Before epic tales and poems were ever written down, they migrated on the winds of the human voice and no voice is greater than Dylan’s,” Waits said.
Digging through the Far Out archives, we’ve managed to find some rare audio of Dylan paying homage to Waits in his own unique way. Dylan, performing at the Indiana University Auditorium in Bloomington, Indiana, he introduced his guitar player, Stu Kimball, to the microphone who imitated Waits for a rendition of ‘San Diego Serenade’ a song which is taken from Waits’ 1974 album The Heart of Saturday Night.
Doing an uncanny impression of Waits, Kimball takes to the mic and runs through a hilarious cover version with Dylan on guitar. “Thanks Tom, that was just beautiful,” Dylan says cheekily at the end of the performance.