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Bob Neuwirth, folk artist and Bob Dylan collaborator, has died aged 82

Bob Neuwirth, the legendary folk singer-songwriter, artist and former friend and collaborative of Bob Dylan, has died at the age of 82.

Neuwirth’s partner Paula Batson confirmed in a statement issued to Rolling Stone that he passed away on Wednesday in Santa Monica, California.

“On Wednesday evening in Santa Monica, Bob Neuwirth’s big heart gave out,” Neuwirth’s family said in a statement. “Bob was an artist throughout every cell of his body and he loved to encourage others to make art themselves. He was a painter, songwriter, producer and recording artist whose body of work is loved and respected.”

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The statement continued: “For over 60 years, Bob was at the epicentre of cultural moments from Woodstock to Paris, Don’t Look Back to Monterey Pop, Rolling Thunder to Nashville and Havana. He was a generous instigator who often produced and made things happen anonymously. The art is what mattered to him, not the credit.”

Adding: “He was an artist, a mentor and a supporter to many. He will be missed by all who love him.”

Neuwirth tried his hand as a producer and painter as well as a folk musician and was part of the Cambridge, Massachusetts blues-folk scene of the early 1960s, and later became a close collaborator of Dylan.

He is seen throughout Bob Dylan’s 1967 tour documentary, Don’t Look Back, as well as the Dylan-directed Eat The Document and 1978’s Renaldo and Clara

Neuwirth was also responsible for putting together the backing band for Dylan’s iconic Rolling Thunder Revue tour, which ran from 1975 to ’76.

Other notable collaborations during his long career included co-writing with Janis Joplin and Kris Kristofferson. It is said that Neuwirth introduced Joplin to Kristopherson’s ‘Me and Bobby McGee’, which became a posthumous hit for Joplin after her untimely death in 1970. 

In 1994 he also collaborated with The Velvet Underground’s John Cale on the Last Day On Earth LP.

Neuwirth recorded numerous solo albums during his active years, including 1988’s Back To The Front, 1990’s 99 Monkeys and 1996’s Look Up.