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Bob Dylan's long-time friend Bob Neuwirth dies at 82

Bob Neuwirth dies at 82

Folk singer Bob Neuwirth has died aged 82.

The musician-and-songwriter passed away on May 18 in Santa Monica, California, and the sad news was confirmed in a statement released by his family, including partner Paula Batson, which suggests he died after suffering heart problems.

The statement read: “On Wednesday evening in Santa Monica, Bob Neuwirth’s big heart gave out. Bob was an artist throughout every cell of his body and he loved to encourage others to make art themselves. He was a painter, songwriter, producer and recording artist whose body of work is loved and respected.

“For over 60 years, Bob was at the epicentre of cultural moments from Woodstock to Paris, Don’t Look Back to Monterey Pop, Rolling Thunder to Nashville and Havana. He was a generous instigator who often produced and made things happen anonymously. The art is what mattered to him, not the credit.

“He was an artist, a mentor and a supporter to many."

The family signed off by concluding: "He will be missed by all who love him."

Neuwirth was born in Akron, Ohio in 1939 and studied fine art before taking up the banjo and becoming part of the US blues/folk scene of 1960s.

He met Dylan in 1961 at the Indian Neck Folk Festival in Connecticut and the pair became close friends, with Neuwirth going on to work as the star's road manager.

Neuwirth was with the 'Blowin' In The Wind' star at the Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island where the musician courted controversy by playing his ever performance with an electric guitar.

He also featured in Dylan's 1967 documentary 'Don’t Look Back' , 'Eat The Document' - a 1966 film covering the star's UK and Ireland tour - and Dylan-directed movie 'Renaldo and Clara'.

As well as appearing in the films, Neuwirth was also seen on the cover of his friend's 1965 album 'Highway 61 Revisited' but only his trousers and part of his T-shirt were visible.

Neuwirth later stepped away from his work with Dylan after the star's infamous 1966 motorcycle crash a month after the release of the album 'Blonde On Blonde'.

The accident prompted Dylan to cancel his upcoming tour dates and withdraw from public life.

However, the pair later came back together once again when Neuwirth returned to the fold for his old friend's ‘Rolling Thunder Revue’ tour which ran from 1975 to 1976.

He was even seen appearing on stage with the star during the shows.

In his memoir, 'Chronicles: Volume One', Dylan wrote of his pal: "Like Kerouac had immortalised Neal Cassady in On the Road, somebody should have immortalised Neuwirth. If ever there was a renaissance man leaping in and out of things, he would have to be it."

As well as his work with Dylan, Neuwirth also collaborated with Kris Kristofferson and Janis Joplin, co-writing her 1971 hit ‘Mercedes Benz’.

Neuwirth released his first album, the self-titled 'Bob Neuwirth' in 1974 and it appearances from stars including Kristofferson, Booker T. Jones, Dusty Springfield and Don Everly.

He recorded four more solo albums which included '99 Monkeys' and 'Look Up' as well as 1994's 'Last Day on Earth' with John Cale.

Neuwirth continued his love of art throughout his career and his paintings were displayed in exhibitions in both New York and Los Angeles.



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