My Inspiration? It's Burns, Says Bob Dylan; (1) Influential: Bob Dylan Pictured in the Late Sixties (2) Burns:Emotions

Daily Mail (London), October 6, 2008 | Go to article overview

My Inspiration? It's Burns, Says Bob Dylan; (1) Influential: Bob Dylan Pictured in the Late Sixties (2) Burns:Emotions


Byline: Richard Simpson

HIS powerful songs have inspired countless other musicians.

Now Bob Dylan has named his own greatest inspiration as the Scottish poet Robert Burns.

The American singer-songwriter was asked to say which lyric or verse has had the biggest effect on his life.

He selected the 1794 song A Red, Red Rose, which is often published as a poem, penned by the man regarded as Scotland's national poet.

According to some experts it was based on a song Burns heard a girl singing. The poet himself, a pioneer of the Romantic movement, referred to it as a 'simple old Scots song which I had picked up in the country'.

Dr Gerard Carruthers, director of the Centre for Robert Burns Studies at the University of Glasgow, said: 'A Red, Red

Rose is one of the greatest love songs of all time. It's a song that resonates down the ages. It's part of the Burns song canon.

'It's one of his most emotive and emotional, perhaps his biggest expression of love.

'Burns was a hugely committed artist who dealt with everyday emotions and big emotions so in that sense it's not a surprise he's influenced Dylan.

'I imagine Dylan will still be loved in 200 years as much as Burns is.' Dylan revealed his connection to the verse as part of the music retailer HMV's My Inspiration campaign, started by David Bowie two years ago when he selected lyrics by the late Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd. …

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