Bob Dylan Was ‘Drawn’ to Famous Women With Voices Like This

Bob Dylan is known for his distinctive voice — and he’s attracted to women with distinctive voices. However, the woman whose voices he likes don’t sound much like him. Here’s a look at the handful of female singers whose voices attract him.

Bob Dylan with a piano
Bob Dylan | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Why Bob Dylan was drawn to the voices of these celebrities

During a 1985 interview with Scott Cohen of Spin, Dylan discussed the type of women he likes. “I’ve always been drawn to a certain kind of woman,” he said. “It’s the voice more than anything else. I listen to the voice first. It’s that sound I heard when I was growing up. It was calling out to me.”

Afterward, he discussed a handful of female artists whose singing he liked.  “When everything was blank and void, I would listen for hours to The Staple Singers. It’s that sort of gospel singing sound. Or that voice on The Crystal’s record, ‘Then He Kissed Me,’ Clydie King, Memphis Minnie, that type of thing.” 

The Crystals’ “Then He Kissed Me”

RELATED: The Singer John Lennon Said Was as Important as Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan Combined

For context, The Staple Singers are most known for R&B hits like “Respect Yourself” and “Let’s Do It Again.” The Crystals are probably best known for “Then He Kissed Me” which has been covered by notable artists such as The Beach Boys, Kiss, and Daniel Johnston. However, they also released other classic Phil Spector songs like “He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss)” and “Da Doo Ron Ron.” 

Clydie King was known both as an artist in her own right and as a backup singer who worked with Dylan and others, including The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Arlo Guthrie, and Ringo Starr. According to Rolling Stone, Dylan described her as the best singing partner of his career and his soul mate. Memphis Minnie is primarily remembered for singing “Me and My Chauffeur Blues.” While Dylan puts all these singers in the same category, they made pretty different music.

Memphis Minnie’s “Me and My Chauffeur Blues”

RELATED: Beatles: Why Bob Dylan Felt They Ripped Him Off With ‘Norwegian Wood’

Was Bob Dylan more concerned with women’s voices or women’s bodies?

Later in the Spin interview, Cohen asked Dylan “What happens when the body doesn’t match the voice?” “There’s something in that voice, that whenever I hear it, I drop everything, whatever it is,” Dylan replied. “A body is a body. A woman could be deaf… and blind and still have soul and compassion. That’s all that matters to me. You can hear it in the voice.”

Bob Dylan was impressed with this celebrity even though she wasn’t a singer

Initially, Dylan said he was drawn to women because of their singing voices. However, he also praised Edie Sedgwick, an actor and model who appeared in Andy Warhol productions, for being enthusiastic and exciting. While Sedgwick was a countercultural celebrity, she didn’t release any albums. Dylan was interested in women’s voices, however, a woman didn’t need to be a singer to impress him.

RELATED: Bob Dylan’s Secret Archive Worth Millions Includes Song Rewriters and Notes From Celebrities Like Johnny Cash and Barbra Streisand