It’s fair to say that every American artist that follows Bob Dylan will have been influenced by the freewheelin’ troubadour at some point in their career. It’s probably even fairer to say that Bruce Springsteen was influenced by the singer form the very start.
Below, at a show in 1975, the often bootlegged and much-beloved performance with the E Street Band at the Main Point in Bryn Mawr, Pa to be exact, Springsteen delivers the perfect cover of one of Dylan’s greatest songs ‘I Want You’.
Before Springsteen became The Boss, in fact before he’d even won employee of the month, Springsteen was a huge Bob Dylan fan. Springsteen once recalled, when inducting Dylan into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, that the first time he heard a Bob Dylan album (Highway 61 Revisited, in 1965), Dylan’s performance “thrilled and scared me.”
The singer continued: “It made me feel kind of irresponsibly innocent. And it still does. But it reached down and touched what little worldliness I think a 15-year-old kid, in high school, in New Jersey had in him at the time.”
Later in the speech he proclaimed, Bob Dylan “was the brother that I never had,” quoting from the man’s own song ‘Lenny Bruce’. It was a moment of gratitude from one rock star to the other, one currently dominating the charts and one gravitating towards his legendary status.
It seems fitting then that right near the beginning of Springsteen’s ascendancy to the top table of US rock and rollers, The Boss pays homage to Dylan with a stunning cover of one of his most cherished songs. Channelling the folk-singer’s observant and expressive lyric style through his American motor made for Springsteen’s signature style.
It makes for one of the better Bob Dylan covers you’ll ever hear, we’re guessing that’s because Springsteen is not only a gifted performer capable of emoting another’s voice but because, as a fan, Springsteen knew that voice all too well.