Revisit Bob Dylan’s Tribute To Frank Sinatra
Bob Dylan live in 1995 - Rock & Roll Hall of Fame / Youtube
Frank Sinatra celebrated his 80th birthday in a grand gathering of stars and musicians for an evening of musical tributes. Bob Dylan was part of the event, inited to perform alongside Bruce Springsteen among others on the bill. Dylan proceeded to dish out his 1964 song, “Restless Farewell”, from The Times They Are a-Changin’.
Dylan also spoke of Sinatra, as he regularly does, saying: “He was funny, we were standing out on his patio at night and he said to me, ‘You and me, pal, we got blue eyes, we’re from up there’, and he pointed to the stars. ‘These other bums are from down here’. I remember thinking that he might be right.”
During his performance, the camera shot cuts to Sinatra who looked a bit shocked, leading to rumors that he wasn’t happy with Dylan’s number. Bob debunked this, however, saying in a Washington Post interview that: “Frank himself requested that I do it. One of the producers had played it for him and showed him the lyrics.”
The source of Sinatra’s discomfort wasn’t the performance, but the entire event itself. In a statement of his daughter, Tina Sinatra, on her book My Father’s Daughter, she wrote: “We’d finally gotten Dad out of the public eye. The last thing that he needed—especially after the Grammys debacle—was to be pushed out into another network broadcast. I heard from Eliot and Sonny how much Dad was dreading it. When I called Dad myself, he begged me to ‘kill it please’.”
She added: “The taping that November lasted an uncomfortable two and a half hours. For all the talent on display (from Dylan and Springsteen to Hootie and the Blowfish and Salt-n-Pepa), the show was hung on Dad like a poorly fitted tux. It was all that Barbara and Tony could do to keep him from getting up and leaving. From where I sat, within earshot of his table, I could tell that he hated almost every minute of it.”
The tribute show was a success. despite Sinatra’s disapproval of it. Watch Dylan’s performance on the video below.