The devotion Neil Young has for Bob Dylan is a huge factor. Both when Young was just getting started and now, he served as an inspiration. And as it turns out, that fact by itself is pretty much the best present you could ever offer Dylan.
Young informed Charlie Rose about the Promethean wallop Dylan gave to him: “I love Bob Dylan, I think he is great. In the very beginning I knew he was great.”
That may not appear to be particularly forward-thinking, but Young was an early believer to the genuine wanderer, who only reached number 22 in the US charts with the record that revolutionized everything, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.
Nonetheless, Young’s life did not come to a head at this point. He went on to say:“I was walking on down the street and there is this guy in a Lincoln Navigator or continental, I can’t remember, was one of those black cars. He is in there and he is blasting ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ and singing at the top of his lungs. It’s an afro-american guy sitting there, he is about 30 years-old in a suit, just rocking”.
Young continues: “I heard Bob’s voice and I went ‘This is Bob, you know. This is the essence of his feeling and everything. The moment that he was delivering that song is so powerful, you can’t keep that’. That comes and goes through you. You can’t strive to be that, there is no way you own it. I’ve heard Bob say that he doesn’t know who wrote, he doesn’t know the guy who wrote those songs anymore. I understand what he was saying, the feeling behind it. I look at it and I go ‘Well, I must been in a really different place doing that, but I was, I wrote those words, I sat down and I believe it”.
As a result, it was no shock when he accepted to perform at Dylan’s 30th-anniversary performance, particularly because he would be supported by the legendary Booker T & The MGs. ‘Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues’ was the track chosen to be covered on that night in 1992 at Madison Square Garden.
The song appears on Highway 61 Revisited with ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ and a slew of other classics. Young and Booker T encapsulate the album’s effervescent energy with one of its gentler tunes, bringing it in a wholly new path to the legendary Nina Simone. You can watch the amazing cover below.