Bob Dylan: What Frank Sinatra Told Him When They Met

Bob Dylan and Frank Sinatra are two different artists one might not associate with each other. Dylan was at the forefront of 1960s rock and, at the time, Sinatra represented the old guard. However, the two crossed paths.

Sinatra was a known traditionalist. What did he think of a rock ‘n’ roll revolutionary like Dylan? And what did Dylan think of the traditionalist Sinatra?

Bob Dylan at the piano | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

What happened when Bob Dylan went to Frank Sinatra’s house

Sinatra managed to be successful during the rock ‘n’ roll era. However, that doesn’t mean that he liked the genre. According to GQ, he described Elvis Presley’s genre as “deplorable, a rancid smelling aphrodisiac.”

With that in mind, one might assume Sinatra didn’t like Dylan’s music. According to Billboard, Dylan and Bruce Springsteen had the privilege of going to Sinatra’s house for a dinner party. Dylan says Sinatra wasn’t too familiar with Dylan’s catalog, however, Dylan believed Sinatra knew “The Times They Are a-Changin,” “Blowin’ In the Wind,” and “Forever Young.” Dylan said Sinatra told him he liked the latter song.

Sinatra’s admiration for “Forever Young” is interesting. The song is a rock song, showing Sinatra had a higher opinion of rock music later in life than he originally did. However, it also has some of the sentimentality that characterized some of Sinatra’s most popular songs.

“Forever Young” by Bob Dylan

RELATED: John Lennon: The Bob Dylan Album He Said Wasn’t Authentically Dylan

Dylan remembered Sinatra giving him very high praise. “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.”

What Frank Sinatra thought about Bob Dylan

Though he’s most famous for his folk songs, Dylan has covered several Sinatra songs over the years. Dylan has lots of respect for Sinatra’s work, even though he wasn’t buying Sinatra’s records back in the 1960s. Dylan told The Guardian “When you start doing these songs, Frank’s got to be on your mind. Because he is the mountain. That’s the mountain you have to climb, even if you only get part of the way there.”

Bob Dylan’s cover of “Full Moon And Empty Arms” by Frank Sinatra

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

Years after his death, Sinatra remains one of the most acclaimed vocalists in the history of recorded music. Dylan has always been an insightful artist, and he has some insight into what made Sinatra’s singing so magical. “People talk about Frank all the time. He had this ability to get inside of the song in a sort of a conversational way. Frank sang to you — not at you.”

Dylan also noted Sinatra’s longevity. He said lots of the music of the 1960s was expected to last forever in the cultural memory bank. However, while music by many other artists faded away, Sinatra’s music remained popular. When an artist as endearingly popular as Dylan says an artist has longevity, he really knows what he is talking about!

Also see: Beatles: Why Bob Dylan Said ‘Yesterday’ & ‘Michelle’ Are ‘Cop-Outs’