AC/DC’s Brian Johnson in a recent interview talked about Bob Dylan. It’s hard to find artists who don’t love Bob Dylan at all. In the world of Rock n’ Roll, he is one hell of an inspiration. In a recent conversation on BBC Radio 6 with Matt Everitt, Brian talked about how Bob is his inspiration.
He says that many people love Bob and he is not an exception. He also revealed Bob Dylan’s best album for him. It was ‘The Freewheelin’ for him. He says he admired the album a lot. He said, “The Freewheelin’ was and still is one of my great favorites.” He also informs people about his regret related to the album, Brian says,
“I’m guilty of not calling it out enough in case people thought I wasn’t rock and roll enough.”
He then reflects back on John Lennon’s words to discuss how great Bob Dylan really is. The Beatle surely was an icon to the world. Brian recalled the comments, “People would say, ‘What is he doing liking Dylan?’ I’m ashamed of myself for that, I must admit, because Lennon said, ‘It was the stuff of greatness,’ that album. The instant you hear it, you like every song of it. It does not happen many times.”
Brian must have heard about that from the book The Beatles Anthology. There John Lennon is found saying, “In Paris in 1964 was the first time I ever heard Dylan at all. Paul got the record [The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan] from a French DJ. For three weeks in Paris, we didn’t stop playing it. We all went potty about Dylan.”
However, the relationship between John and Bob was not always on the admiring level. It seemed shabby as the years went by. Lennon wrote a handful of songs describing Dylan, whereas Dylan never wrote a Lennon-esque song. Their relationship was quite disturbing at times. Listening to Rubber Soul Dylan once said,
“What is this? It’s me, Bob. [John’s] doing me! Even Sonny & Cher are doing me, but, fucking hell, I invented it.”
Lennon also repaid the favor later on after listening to Dylan’s 1979 record Slow Train Coming. After listening to the song he says, “He wants to be a waiter for Christ.” He continues, “The backing is mediocre […] the singing’s really pathetic and the words were just embarrassing.”
Whatever the case, those two still inspired each other a lot. Back to Brian Johnson, it’s easy to know how much Bob means to him. Especially the album ‘The Freewheelin’ which he will always admire. He also admitted that he stole that album of his. It was also the very first album he owned.
In an interview with AXS TV, he revealed, “The first album I bought – well, actually, I stole it, because my girlfriend at the time was in Newcastle and she worked in the record store, and she said, ‘You know what? There’s an album over there that nobody’s buying. It’s awful. If you nick over and stick it up your … .’ And I did, and it was Bob Dylan’s Freewheelin’.” He also elaborated,
“I walked out of that shop with the biggest nipples in Newcastle. That’s what vinyl did to you!”
Little did he know that it would be his biggest inspiration. The all-time classic album is and will always be his treasure. He also talked about how he still enjoys listening to the songs on the album. Brian Johnson is not only the one to be fascinated with that work. Even other legends like Lennon were enchanted with the record.
Listen to ‘The Freewheelin’ on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music, and other major Musical Platform.