Bob Dylan’s irresistibly diverse back catalogue means, for his fans, picking a favourite era of the freewheelin’ troubadour’s career can flicker from one to the next on a weekly basis. Narrowing that down even further to just one song is even more complex, but Ringo Starr still rose to the task and named the track he treasures the most.
Dylan famously introduced Ringo and the rest of The Beatles to smoking cannabis during their first encounter in the ’60s. Arguably, his music hasn’t had the same multicoloured impact on Starr’s life as that first joint in a New York hotel, but he’s an artist that he’s constantly found himself returning to throughout the decades.
They performed together at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 when Ringo took part in an all-star band who accompanied Dylan as he led them through a barnstorming rendition of ‘All Along The Watchtower’. Even when The Beatles were at the height of their fame in 1969, Ringo took a trip out to the Isle Of Wight along with John Lennon and George Harrison to catch a glimpse of Dylan in the flesh.
The drummer’s favourite song is an obscure choice and from the latter days of Dylan’s career. ‘When The Deal Goes Down’ appeared on the 2006 album Modern Times, becoming the singer’s first chart-topping album in 40 years.
Starr made this revelation during an interview with ABC back in 2009, where he opened up about what songs had recently been on his stereo. His decision to choose a relatively obscure track by Dylan shows that the drummer has followed his career, every single step of the way. Whether close up or from afar.
“You just got to love Bob,” Starr explained. “My old-time favourite lately is ‘When The Deal Goes Down,’ and it’s just a beautiful love song. It’s this beautiful love song, he’s very romantic in a lot of songs, everyone listens to his wacky dream stuff, which is great. He moves me on that record.
“That’s why I like it. If it moves me, it’s the sentiment of the record and how he says it. But no one else can say it like that. We met him in the ’60s in New York. We just sort of bumped into him ever since. He’s just an incredible artist that is well-placed in the musical history of American music and world music, so I put Bob down because of all of that. You couldn’t do a list without mentioning Bob.”
Dylan’s always been a source of envy for all four of The Beatles. Paul McCartney has even admitted that he’s the only person whose presence makes him nervous. John Lennon openly admitted ripping him off, and George Harrison even started a band with him. However, Ringo commenting, “you couldn’t do a list without mentioning Bob”, suggests that the drummer might even be the biggest Dylan aficionado in the group.