Bob Dylan and Tom Petty – Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door

When Petty advances to the front of the stage to start singing, Dylan waves to him to wait until he finishes his harmonica solo. It was a little bit rude, but I guess Dylan wanted to show everyone who was boss (as if there was any doubt!) They harmonize beautifully in this song. (video below)

Tragically, Tom Petty died of an overdose after accidentally mixing a variety of medications including fentanyl, a potent opioid 30 to 50 times more powerful than heroin. He was 66.

I’m going to be posting a few more Dylan vids in the coming weeks. Since learning that the legendary singer-songwriter will be playing Paris mid-October, I’ve taken an interest in the man. I was never a fan. Oh, sure, like everyone else, I knew and sang along to his greatest songs: Lay Lady Lay, Blowin’ in the Wind, Like a Rolling Stone, etc. but he was on the periphery of my musical odyssey as I romped and rocked my way through the 1970s and 80s.

I’ve spent the past month watching his early performances from the 1960s, reading his memoir (Chronicles), viewing Martin Scorsese’s documentary on him called No Direction Home, and observing his startling transformations and mutations over the decades. He’s been called so many names. Shape-shifter. Protest singer. Jewish boy from Minnesota. Born again Christian. Trickster, troubadour, joker. Iconoclast, innovator, icon. And in 2016, Nobel Prize for Literature winner. What an extraordinary life this man has lived. And to think that it all started with an acoustic guitar, a harmonica and a clutch of amazing songs.

6 thoughts on “Bob Dylan and Tom Petty – Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door

    • He’s been called in the past, along with a raft of other names, a shaman. He’s rejected all of these appellations.
      In a long-ago interview when he was in his mid-twenties, a journalist asked him what he would call himself.
      He replied, “a song and dance man.”
      A true iconoclast, Dylan carved out his own path, he was neither leader nor follower. He just claimed to be doing his own thing and if people liked it, fine. If not, that was fine too.

  1. The truth is that Dylan’s career in the 80s was on the wane. His best years were behind him. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, on the other hand, were at their peak. Dylan’s manager, who was also Petty’s manager, suggested that the Heartbreakers be Dylan’s backup band on an 18-month world tour. This is them in Australia.

    • It’s true that the 60s and 70s were his two best decades. Here, during the Australian tour, he’s only 45 but he looks a lot older. It must be hard to cling on to fame when you’ve been at the very top for a long time …

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