The Bob Dylan album that made Roger Waters ask, “What is wrong with you?”

Unlike a drunken football commentator, Roger Waters is not afraid to voice his personal opinions. His philosophy is that too many people do nothing but sit about and be comfortable when things ought to be done. And that also applies to the unimportant activity of studying music. The controversial Mr. Waters is a man who would wager that keeping quiet if something isn’t lovely is for meek and mild lambs guaranteed to be killed, despite the fact that some could label him cynical.

On the creative front, Bob Dylan used to be the pioneer in this regard. Robert Plant, a colleague of Waters’, once clarified:

“Something happened when Dylan arrived. I had to grapple with what he was talking about. His music referenced Woody Guthrie, Richard and Mimi Farina, Reverend Gary Davis, Dave Van Ronk and all these great American artists I knew nothing about. He was absorbing the details of America and bringing it out without any reservation at all, and ignited a social conscience that is spectacular.”

Plant says in closing, “Dylan was the first to say, ‘Hello, reality.'” I realized I needed to quickly put on the sandals and get rid of the winkle-pickers. Eventually, too many saw him as more of a social soldier than an artistic savior, and Dylan abandoned his protest approach in favor of a more expansive spiritualism in response to followers who picketed his private home and encouraged him to join them on the front lines.

In the end, Dylan released a cover album of classic classics in 2015 under the name Shadows in the Night, which was made famous by Frank Sinatra. Even though Dylan declared in a hurry, “I don’t see myself as covering these songs in any way. They’ve been covered enough. Buried, as a matter a fact. What me and my band are basically doing is uncovering them. Lifting them out of the grave and bringing them into the light of day.”

But that wasn’t entirely how Waters saw it. The apologetic bassist stated: “I haven’t got time to do an album of Frank Sinatra covers like Bob Dylan, for instance, which is weird. You go, ‘F**** me, Bob, what is wrong with you? Why would you do that?’ I guess it’s because he can’t bear the thought of not being on the road, and he couldn’t think of anything else to do. I can’t believe he really has an affinity for all that schlock. But maybe he does.”

While it’s true that Dylan, who even told Pete Townshend, “I’m a folk singer,” loves the road as much as a tired truck driver wants to get off it. A folk singer is only as good as his memory, and mine is fading,” the singer-songwriter hinted to the guitarist of The Who, hinting that he performs to preserve his memories; the more eloquent Sinatra-esque side of him has always existed, along with the more graphic depictions of love gone wrong.

David Gilmour, Waters’ former Pink Floyd bandmate who is now his adversary, stated on Desert Island Discs that “Ballad in Plain D” is one of his all-time favorite tunes. “I lived through a lot of his heavy protest stuff, and this was another side I’m very keen on. This sort of love song approach.”






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