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Music

The musician Bob Dylan says has a "God-given talent"

@josephtaysom

Bob Dylan doesn’t hand out praise freely, and it takes a lot for him to pay compliments to his peers. Neil Young has earned every grain of positivity thrown his way, and Dylan has nothing but admiration for the “God-given talent” the singer, guitarist and lyricist possesses.

The pair have a long history together, and Young was seen as the possible heir to Dylan’s throne throughout the early years of his career. He soon established himself as an artist in his own right and won himself a fan in Dylan. Over the decades, they’ve shared the stage plenty of times and even played a series of shows in 2019 across Europe, including a date at London’s Hyde Park.

Young was there for him during a pivotal time in Dylan’s career in 1988 when he had crippling self-doubt. He joined his hero on stage for the opening night of the ‘Never Ending Tour’ at California’s Concord Pavilion, which got the tour off to a dazzling start.

For that alone, Dylan will always be grateful to Young for being by his side during that difficult moment and re-assuring him. Furthermore, on his 1997 album, Time Out of Mind, Dylan chose to pay homage to his friend within ‘Highlands’ when he sang, “Well, my heart’s in The Highlands, I can only get there one step at a time, I’m listening to Neil Young, I gotta turn up the sound”.

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Speaking to Rolling Stone in 2007, Dylan paid more compliments to Young: “Neil is very sincere, if nothing else. He’s sincere, and he’s got a God-given talent, with that voice of his, and the melodic strain that runs through absolutely everything he does. He could be at his most thrashy, but it’s still going to be elevated by some melody. Neil’s the only one who does that. There’s nobody in his category.”

Their relationship flows in both ways, and Young has perhaps spoken in such superlatives about his peer that it eclipses Dylan’s kind remarks. “He’s the master,” the singer-songwriter once said when discussing Bob Dylan. “If I’d like to be anyone, it’s him. And he’s a great writer, true to his music and done what he feels is the right thing to do for years and years and years.”

Young added: “The guy has written some of the greatest poetry and put it to music in a way that it touched me, and other people have done that, but not so consistently or as intensely.”

Take a journey back through time to revisit the pair performing in California together in 1988.