Keith Richards’ Favorite Bob Dylan Song

Despite his prestige, Keith Richards isn’t afraid to gush about his favorite artists. Like many of his contemporaries, Richards is partial to Bob Dylan. The Bard has been the envy of many great artists, arguably taking the crown for the songwriter’s songwriter. Richards certainly thinks so. While we’re sure Richards enjoys many Dylan tunes, his favorite is “Girl from the North Country.”

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The simple yet stunning narrative has enchanted generations of folk fans. Dylan released this song in 1963 to great acclaim. It remains one of his signature songs. In Richards’ view, it’s Dylan’s ability to write prosaically without it sounding like an affectation that makes this song great.

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If you’re travelin’ in the north country fair
Where the winds hit heavy on the borderline
Remember me to one who lives there
For she once was a true love of mine

“While the British Invasion was going on, Bob Dylan was the man who really pulled the American point of view back into focus,” Richards once said. “At the same time, he had been drawing on Anglo-Celtic folk songs, and that’s certainly true of ‘Girl From the North Country.’ It’s got all the elements of beautiful folk writing without being pretentious.”

Another selling point of “Girl from the North Country” for Richards is the absence of a jaded attitude. According to the Stones guitarist, this track is one of Dylan’s most straight-forward, open-hearted songs to date.

“In the lyrics and the melody, there is an absence of Bob’s later cutting edge,” Richards continued. “There’s none of that resentment. He recorded it again later with Johnny Cash, but I don’t think it’s a duo song. Bob got it right the first time.”

Elsewhere in the same interview, Richards talked about Dylan’s overarching inspiration. He called him the “most prolific writer.”

“He’s the most prolific writer: I think he’s written more songs than I’ve had hot dinners,” Richards said. “So, Bob, just keep ’em coming! He’s an inspiration to us all, because he’s always trying to go somewhere new. I love the man – and I love that he rock & rolls too!”

(Photo by David Redfern/Redferns)

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