It’s no secret that Patti Smith and Bob Dylan have a close professional and personal relationship. The two icons of alternative music have bounced off each other for decades, the duo feeding off each other’s creativity ever since their first meeting in New York City. It’s a meeting that has gone down in music folklore and sees two landmark literary lyricists cross paths in unsubtle circumstances.
A little while ago, when sitting down in an interview with Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, Smith once explained that her first meeting with Dylan was a fearsome one, a performance wrapped in nerves as the folk legend sat in the audience waiting to watch a pre-fame Smith perform live. “Somebody told us he was there. My heart was pounding,” she explained. It’s hard to imagine seeing Bob Dylan out in the wilds of NYC, but what came next must’ve been a seismic moment in Smith’s life. However, she didn’t handle it the way one might expect.
“I got instantly rebellious. I made a couple of references, a couple of oblique things to show I knew he was there. And then he came backstage, which was really quite gentlemanly of him. He came over to me, and I kept moving around. We were like two pit-bulls, circling,” remembers Smith, noting her punk roots. “I was a snot-nose. I had a very high concentration of adrenaline. He said to me, ‘Any poets around here?’ And I said, ‘I don’t like poetry anymore. Poetry sucks!’” and from that moment on, the two remained close.
Both Smith and Dylan have shared the stage countless times over the years, both captivating audiences with their spellbinding lyrical work. While both have covered each other’s songs in the studio, Smith’s admiration for Dylan stretches back right to the very beginning.
Having put her own unique spin on Dylan’s tracks more times than you can count on your hands. It feels like her special selections of Dylan’s songs come from a sincere spot.
Sitting down in conversation with Rolling Stone, Smith was drawn into the topic of Dylan’s love songs. With a little prompting, she picked 16 of what she considers to be her favourite tracks from his extensive back catalogue.
You can stream the full playlist, below.
Patti Smith’s favourite Bob Dylan love songs:
- ‘One Too Many Mornings’
- ‘Boots of Spanish Leather’
- ‘Ballad in Plain D’
- ‘Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands’
- ‘Love Minus Zero/No Limit’
- ‘Spanish Is the Loving Tongue’
- ‘Wedding Song’
- ‘Dark Eyes’
- ‘Like a Rolling Stone’
- ‘Not Dark Yet’
- ‘She Belongs to Me’
- ‘One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)’
- ‘Visions of Johanna’
- ‘Nettie Moore’
Stream the playlist in full, below.