The singer Bob Dylan thought was one of a kind

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan has been a music fan since the beginning of his career. He was capable of using his songs as emotional translators or sonic weapons against authority. He incorporated elements of everything he heard beyond traditional folk music. It eventually led to his need to go electric in the mid-1960s. Dylan had one of the most distinctive voices of his generation. But he thought one of his contemporaries had the most eclectic voice he had ever heard.

Dylan, on the other hand, was not initially drawn to play music. Attracted to the work of various poets, he would study the written word before translating his thoughts to the guitar. It resulted in songs like ‘The Times They Are A-Changin‘ that were just the right answer to the growing counterculture.

For the next few years, Dylan followed in the footsteps of his idols like Woody Guthrie. He wrote songs to reflect the times rather than preaching from a pulpit. He was showing people what the genre was capable of. But the other side of rock and roll was concerned with an emotional impact whenever their music was played on the radio.

Before the British Invasion sank its teeth into America, artists like Elvis Presley created songs with both a light and dark side. Playing rockers like “Hound Dog” while also delivering heartbreaking love songs like “Love Me Tender.” Elvis Presley had the highest profile of any rock singer at the time. But no one sang with more conviction than Roy Orbison.

Orbison would become known for turning his songs into miniature dramas. He would be singing about his heartbreak in ‘Only The Lonely’ and finally getting the girl in ‘(Oh) Pretty Woman‘. For all of the great lines that he may have written in his lifetime, though, Dylan always thought that Orbison’s greatest asset was the tone of his voice.

Orbison inhabited his songs like an actor would inhabit a movie role. It made the audience feel his pain as he cried along to every one of his tracks. Even though many songs followed a similar formula, Dylan believed Orbison could transcend genre entirely.

In the book Chronicles Vol. 1, Dylan reflected on his influence. He said, “[He] transcended all genres–folk, country, rock and roll, or just about anything.” He blends various styles in his work. It includes some uninvented style… There was nothing like him on the radio. I’d listen and wait for another song. But aside from Roy, the playlist was pure boredom…gutless and flabby.”

Dylan wasn’t the only one taken with what Orbison had to offer. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted Bruce Springsteen. However, he admitted that he wanted to sound like Roy Orbison on Born to Run. It was because he only wanted to admit that no singer could come close to what the rock and roll pioneer had done.

Bob Dylan would even get the chance to work with Orbison as part of the Traveling Wilburys. He was writing with him as well as Tom Petty and George Harrison. Dylan may have been able to write songs that shook the listener to their core. But Orbison was the one who could hold their hand through life’s ups and downs.

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