The 1967 documentary Don’t Look Back is a must-watch piece of cinema for any Bob Dylan fan, a project that captures the magnificent talent at an intriguing part of his career. At the time, Dylan was still yet to make a faux-pas in his life and the film is the clearest portrait of an icon you’ll ever find.
The film captures fly-on-the-wall footage of Dylan’s legendary UK tour in 1965, the musician seemingly walking on water as far as everyone in the country was concerned. Not all footage from the time could make the final cut, and there were moments that director D. A. Pennebaker had to leave out. One of these precious pieces of footage that somehow never made the cut was Marianne Faithfull and Joan Baez serenading Dylan in his hotel room, which finally saw the light of day in 2015.
It’s no secret that there’s a shatterproof friendship that continues to prosper between Joan Baez and Bob Dylan. Their relationship is one of those charming love stories which warms the cockles of your heart. Having shared their formative years together as flower children of the new musical folk movement springing out of New York, Baez and Dylan constantly challenged each other.
When she met Bob in 1961, Baez’s first album had already been recorded, and she was fast becoming the ‘Queen of Folk’. Her confidence and composure made her an incredibly attractive proposition to young Dylan. Their love affair was as tempestuous and bright as their creativity which birthed from it.
When he was touring the UK in 1965, the two were in a platonic relationship at this time. It made sense for her to join him for the excursion. However, the tour would be the beginning of the end for the pair as a couple as their relationship slowly fizzling out during the lengthy time spent on the road due to Dylan’s behaviour.
“I just sort of trotted around [on that 1965 tour, wondering why Bob wouldn’t invite me on stage, feeling very sorry for myself, getting very neurotic and not having the brains to leave and go home,” Baez told Rolling Stone in 1983. “That would be the best way to describe that tour. It was sort of just wasted time.”
This performance with Faithfull was a rare joyous moment for Baez on tour, as they delivered a heartbreakingly profound cover of The Rolling Stones’ ‘As Tears Go By’, which once you consider how Baez was feeling at this time becomes even more poignant.
The footage of Faithfull and Baez harmonising in The Savoy is an unbridled delight, whilst Dylan attempts to play it cool, is about as quintessentially sixties as it gets. Faithfull had released ‘As Tears Go By’ as her debut single in 1964 and made herself one of London’s stand-out stars, whilst Baez was New York’s finest.
Hearing the two stars from each side of the Atlantic joining forces will never tire or grow old, it’s a video that deserves being taken in on multiple viewings to enjoy the full experience.
See the clip, below.