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(Credit: Magnolia)


Harry Dean Stanton once named his favourite musicians

Harry Dean Stanton built up a formidable body of work over the course of his illustrious career, one that can be matched by very few actors in the history of American cinema. Having worked with directors such as David Lynch and Martin Scorsese, Stanton’s legacy extends beyond his unforgettable appearances on the big screen.

Alongside his acting carer, Stanton was also known as a musician/singer and he was friends with some of the most well-known music icons during his lifetime. His family also had a musical background which made it difficult for him to choose his own path while studying journalism in his university years.

“I had to decide if I wanted to be a singer or an actor,” Stanton once reflected, remembering the dilemma that used to haunt him at the time. However, he chose to pursue acting because it would expose him to a more versatile platform. He added: “I was always singing. I thought if I could be an actor, I could do all of it.”

Due to his connections in the industry, Stanton got the opportunity to work with icons like Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson and Art Garfunkel among other big names. When he recorded his own debut album, Stanton released cover songs by some of his favourites such as Willie Nelson, Kristofferson and Fred Neil.

In an interview, Stanton opened up about his musical preferences: “I love Bob Dylan’s work, and Kristofferson. I’ve sung with both of them, in fact. Tom Waits, we’re good friends. He’s gnarly. He’s a fine poet. James Taylor’s song, ‘Hey Mister, That’s Me Up On The Jukebox’? He borrowed my guitar to compose that song.”

Many are already familiar with the versatile extent of the actor’s oeuvre which includes appearances in 116 films, many music videos, more than 70 TV series and voice roles in video games. He also conducted poetry readings for the writers he loved and his reading of Charles Bukowski’s poems are still revisited by fans.

While Stanton included the likes of Bob Dylan in his selection of favourite musicians, the actor maintained that there are only two icons who deserve the top spot in his mind. When asked about his favourite singers of all time, Stanton did not hesitate to name Luciano Pavarotti as his top pick alongside Patsy Cline.

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