“I had gone through my Britpop phase. I think this was when I was working with Ricky at this alternative music station, XFM, in the early 2000s. I had stumbled across Bob Dylan somewhere. I liked him, but I always associated him with the ‘60s and thought of him as being political – Blowin’ In The Wind and vaguely protesting at things. Why do I want to hear a protest singer talking about the Vietnam War? It’s over – let it go.
“Then I listened to Blood On The Tracks and I thought, ‘OK, now I understand.’ The political messiah thing was just one moment in time, really – there’s so much more to him. To me, it’s like there’s Bob Dylan and then there’s everybody else. He exists in a stratosphere that is unequaled.
“This album is eminently re-listenable; in fact, I listen to it frequently, constantly, all the way through, all the time. There’s nothing on the list that I listen to as much. It came out during one of his divorces, I think, and it’s fueled by this anger. Idiot Wind has a sort of spiteful bitterness towards his ex-wife, and yet there’s other songs that are very romantic about love – If You See Her, Say Hello is a stand-out. As a personal testament and an expression of one man’s feelings, it’s unparalleled.
“This led me down a road of my love for singer-songwriters. I guess I felt more mature and I didn’t need the rock ‘n’ roll grit, and I could just listen to a man or woman with a guitar. Through Blood On The Tracks, I discovered Neil Young and Joni Mitchell and all that, which is the stuff I listen to most frequently now.”