Bob Dylan Clarifies His Merle Haggard Remarks
Bob Dylan made headlines with a remarkable and wide-ranging speech recently, but now he's clarifying some of what he said.
The legendary singer-songwriter gave an epic speech during his recent MusiCares Person of the Year ceremony, taking the opportunity to share his views on some fellow musicians he seemingly felt had slighted him, including Tom T. Hall and Merle Haggard.
He said Haggard “didn’t even think much of my songs. I know he didn’t … Buck Owens did, and he recorded some of my early songs … Buck Owens or Merle Haggard? If you had to have somebody’s blessing, you can figure it out.”
Haggard, for his part, disputed Dylan's assessment via Twitter.
“Bob Dylan, I’ve admired your songs since 1964," he wrote. "'Don’t Think Twice’ Bob, Willie [Nelson] and I just recorded it on our new album.”
In a new interview with veteran journalist Bill Flanagan on Dylan’s website, the music icon says his remarks about Haggard were not intended in a negative way.
“I wasn’t dissing Merle, not the Merle I know," he clarifies. "What I was talking about happened a long time ago, maybe in the late ’60s. Merle had that song out called ‘Fighting Side of Me’ and I’d seen an interview with him where he was going on about hippies and Dylan and the counter culture, and it kind of stuck in my mind and hurt, lumping me in with everything he didn’t like. But of course times have changed and he’s changed too … He’s a complete man and we’re friends these days. We have a lot in common.”
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