Bob Dylan has been touring virtually non-stop for years, and Paul McCartney had a theory as to why. Dylan’s Never Ending Tour began in the 1980s and has continued, albeit with a break for coronavirus (COVID-19) shutdowns, for decades to come. McCartney, who had gotten to know Dylan over the years, guessed why he stayed on the road so long. According to his hypothesis, Dylan toured so frequently because of the lack of romantic relationships in his life.
George Harrison said the ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ singer was looking for a reason to leave the road
Though Dylan has been a celebrated musician since the beginning of the 1960s, he hasn’t always been happy in this role. He’s embraced a number of other projects, including the ownership of a boxing gym, welding, and painting. He once even reached out to Carrie Fisher to name a cologne brand.
“He was calling because this cologne company had contacted him to see if he would endorse a cologne called Just Like a Woman,” she wrote in her book Wishful Drinking. “Now Bob didn’t like that name, but he liked the idea of endorsing a cologne. And he wanted to know if I had any good cologne names.”
When Fisher later mentioned this to Dylan’s friend George Harrison, he assured her that this sort of thing was a common occurrence.
“Anyway, a couple of weeks later, I saw George Harrison at this dinner party, as one does, so I tell him that Bob called and he said, ‘Don’t worry, because you know whenever Bob is on the road for a long time, he starts thinking about finding a regular job. You know, a job that will take him off the road.’”
Paul McCartney said Bob Dylan’s endless tour was due in part to his relationship status
Evidently, Dylan’s search for a job to take him off the road has been fruitless, as he has been touring consistently since the late 1980s. He began doing this because he was feeling directionless during a tour with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. After an onstage epiphany, he realized he wanted to reinvent the way he toured, hoping that playing without an end date would revamp his performance style and rebuild his audience.
McCartney had a different reason in mind. In a 2002 article with The Daily Mirror, journalist Gavin Martin recalled an early conversation about Dylan.
“Paul McCartney told me last year that he thought the reason Dylan never stopped touring was the lack of a good woman,” Martin wrote.
Dylan has been married twice, first to Sara Dylan and later, much more secretively, to Carolyn Dennis. At the point of McCartney’s remarks, however, Dylan was not married. Dylan felt that he was touring because he hadn’t accomplished enough yet.
“I can’t retire because I haven’t done anything yet,” Dylan said. “I want to see where this will lead me, because now I can control it all. Before I wasn’t controlling it. I was just being swept by the wind.”
Unlike Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney is currently married
McCartney has been married three times. At the time of his comment about Dylan, he was not far from marrying Heather Mills. The couple divorced in 2008, after four years. In 2011, McCartney married Nancy Shevell. The couple met in 2007. McCartney’s brother, Mike McGear, told People that the wedding was “Fabulous. Beautiful. It was just lovely and peaceful. Smashing lovely feel. I’m happy for my brother, he’s a lovely brother.”
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