An old rock-and-roll legend has it that Bob Dylan and George Harrison were supposed to record with Elvis Presley, but The King was a no-show. As Dylan tells it, though, Presley “did show up, it was us that didn’t.”
In a rare interview with writer Bill Flanagan, posted to Dylan’s website Wednesday night, Dylan was more generous with details of his personal life and his music than he has been in years. Perhaps most striking was his newfound admiration of the American songwriting standards.
His last two albums, “Shadows in the Night” and “Fallen Angels” were covers of standards. On March 31, he will release his 38th studio album “Triplicate,” a 3-disc megarecord of classics such as “Stormy Weather,” “As Time Goes By” and “The Best is Yet to Come.”
“These songs,” he said, “are some of the most heartbreaking stuff ever put on record and I wanted to do them justice. Now that I have lived them and lived through them I understand them better. They take you out of that mainstream grind where you’re trapped between differences which might seem different but are essentially the same. Modern music and songs are so institutionalized that you don’t realize it. These songs are cold and clear-sighted, there is a direct realism in them, faith in ordinary life just like in early rock and roll.”