Joan Baez Reveals How Bob Dylan Throws Tantrums Before Going On Stage
via Dave Bing / YouTube
Folk singer Joan Baez penned a letter to her sister, Mimi Fariña, during their tour in England in May 1965, expressing frustration with Bob Dylan’s increasingly unmanageable behavior. According to Baez, Dylan was “so unbelievably unmanageable” and prone to tantrums and outbursts. She believed that his anger was related to his unique version of stage fright, stating, “He never had the traditional stage fright the way I did… But it would come out in another way, a sudden furious tantrum because his coat was stolen one time.”
Dylan and Baez had crossed paths in New York City’s folk scene in 1961, where Baez, already a folk star, played a significant role in popularizing Dylan’s music. Their relationship flourished as they dated and toured together, with Dylan’s rise to rock stardom aligning with their time together. However, by the spring of 1965, their bond had reached a breaking point.
Before their tour in England, Dylan had a meltdown over a missing jacket, which Baez disliked and had been urging him to get rid of. Recalling the incident, Baez stated, “I’m sure to this day he thinks I must have stolen it… I was really working on him, trying to get him to get rid of that jacket.” When the jacket disappeared, Dylan unleashed his fury on the police, their entourage, and even Baez herself. Baez attributed the incident to the performance-related tension they both experienced.
Despite the turmoil, Baez managed to calm Dylan that night, leading to a remarkable performance. Their romantic relationship eventually came to an end later that spring, but they remained friends. It took over 40 years for Dylan to express remorse for his behavior towards Baez, admitting, “I feel very bad about it… I was sorry to see our relationship end.”
These anecdotes from Joan Baez provide a revealing glimpse into the complexities and personal struggles faced by two influential musicians during a critical phase in their careers. The challenges of fame and artistic partnerships left a lasting impact on both Baez and Dylan, shaping their individual journeys and leaving an indelible mark on their artistic legacies.