Van Morrison On Why He Refuses To Be Compared To Bob Dylan

Van Morrison argued that he and Bob Dylan were fundamentally different in an interview with Ultimate Classic Rock. Morrison distinguished himself from Dylan by pointing out that he was really a singer who composed songs, even if he acknowledged that similarities between them are sometimes drawn. Dylan, on the other hand, was defined as “a songwriter who sings songs.” He declared:

“Well, I’m just nothing like Bob Dylan, so I guess what I was trying to say was, like, I’m coming from the place that I’m a singer first. I’m a singer. Right? And I write songs. So Bob Dylan and I are, like, worlds apart. What he does and what I do, you know, it’s nowhere near. I am a singer who writes songs, so I was comparing myself more to the singer who writes songs, rather than a songwriter who sings.”

Van Morrison On Hearing Bob Dylan For The First Time

Following the dissolution of “Them,” the Irish singer relocated to Woodstock in 1967 since Dylan was a resident. He was searching for something fresh and wanted to escape the British scene. He thought Woodstock would be full of maverick individuals like him, so he moved to another continent to pursue his goal.

Morrison believed he was superior to everyone else and had faith in his skills. However, Janet Rigsbee, his ex-wife, recalled Morrison’s fascination with Dylan. Says she:

“Van fully intended to become Dylan’s best friend, Every time we’d drive past Dylan’s house… Van would just stare wistfully out the window at the gravel road leading to Dylan’s place. He thought Dylan was the only contemporary worthy of his attention.”

In an interview from 2000, Morrison discussed hearing Dylan for the first time. He declared:

“I think I heard [The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan] in a record shop in Smith Street. And I just thought it was just incredible that this guy’s not singing about ‘moon in June’ and he’s getting away with it… The subject matter wasn’t pop songs, ya know, and I thought this kind of opens the whole thing up.”

Afterward, the pair would embark on a global tour and perform several cover versions of each other’s songs.

Morrison Slammed ‘Top 200 Singers Of All Time’ List

Van Morrison voiced his displeasure with his 37th-place ranking on Rolling Stone’s “Top 200 Singers of All Time” list. He was especially upset by Bobby Bland, Joan Baez, and Solomon Burke’s poor rankings—all three of whom he thought should have been in the top 20. Morrison. “Let’s face it, this is not reality,” he said in response to the fact that he was listed above these singers. Morrison was listed, according to Rolling Stone. They declared:

“To experience the height of Van Morrison’s vocal genius, you have to get beyond the words.”

In an earlier this year interview with the Independent, Morrison took a strong swipe at his listing. He declared:

“People keep calling me to say, ‘Congratulations, you are No 37 in Rolling Stone’s 200 singers. Oh great, thanks very much. Who else is there? Joan Baez, one of the greatest folk singers of all time, is at 189? Solomon Burke and Bobby Bland are in the high hundreds? What the fuck? These people should be in the top 20 at the very least. It’s nice they mention me, but let’s face it, that’s not reality.”

People from a wide spectrum of musical genres attacked the Rolling Stone list that was released earlier this year.


2 thoughts on “Van Morrison On Why He Refuses To Be Compared To Bob Dylan”

  1. Their list didn’t even mention Burton Cummings of Guess Who. He’s retained his marvelous, distinctive voice over decades, from “These Eyes” and “American Woman” up to his present day solo efforts. Just another reason the RS list is strictly bogus.


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