Bob Dylan and… George Harrison & Ringo Starr, including a magical rehearsal

By Aaron Galbraith

George Harrison has been far from the quiet Beatle in terms of his collaborations with Bob Dylan over the years.  Starting off with his first real solo album, “All Things Must Pass,” we find included a Harrison/Dylan co-write “I’d Have You Anytime” as well as another rejected track “Nowhere To Go”. It also included a cover of “If Not For You”.

Here is a rehearsal for the song from The Concert For Bangladesh.

George also recorded a demo of “Mama, You’ve Been On My Mind” around this time. It was subsequently released on “Early Takes – Volume 1.”

Another demo, this time for “I Don’t Want To Do It” was also recorded around this time and then he subsequently re-visited the track in the mid 80’s for a soundtrack and one off single. I think it’s wonderful!

They have performed together several times in concerts. Most notably at George’s “The Concert For Bangladesh”. Bob joined the proceedings towards the end and, backed by George and Ringo, contributed a fine setlist of the old hits including “Blowin In The Wind”, “Mr Tambourine Man” and “Just Like A Woman”. The album also gained Dylan his first Grammy award for “Album Of The Year”.

Later George joined the rest of the guys at Bob’s 30th Anniversary Concert celebration. He contributed a fine “Absolutely Sweet Marie”.

As we all know, Bob and George teamed up with Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne and Roy Orbison in 1988 for a couple of albums as The Traveling Wilburys. You can read about the various tracks on these pages*.  From these years I’m going to include the one off single “Nobody’s Child” just because I don’t think it’s been mentioned here before! All the guys trade off on the verses (George would have known this one from the pre-fame Beatles days as they also recorded this with Tony Sheridan on vocals).

The year before the Wilburys got together Bob and George stepped up on stage at the Palomino Club for an informal jam session. Several songs were performed including these two fun numbers:

First up it’s “Peggy Sue”


Next an extremely fun version of “Watching The River Flow”. George clearly doesn’t know all the words and Bob is being of no help!


Just search for The Silver Wilburys on YouTube and you can listen to all the tracks they performed that night. It must have been fun for those on stage and in attendance.

Bob Dylan has covered George Harrison original’s in concert on two occasions.

Harrison’s “Something” was performed twice in November 2002 and May 2009

Next “Here Comes The Sun” was performed just once in 1981.

Ringo Starr has had more than a couple of acquaintances with the music of Bob Dylan.

The played together at The Band’s Last Waltz and at the Concert For Bangladesh mentioned above, as well as at the 1988 Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame concert.

Back in the mid 70’s several members of Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue band, namely T-Bone Burnett, Steven Soles and David Mansfield combined forces after the tour finished and formed The Alpha Band. They recorded 3 tremendous albums and if you are a fan of the sound they created during the Rolling Thunder Revue you should check them out. Anyway, Ringo joined up with the band for the second album “Spark In The Dark” and drummed on a couple of tracks including this fine take of Dylan’s “You Angel You”.

Then in 1981 Ringo joined Bob in the studio during the “Shot Of Love” sessions and played tom-toms on the “Heart Of Mine” single.

In 1987 Ringo held several recording sessions in Memphis for a potential new album and Dylan participated in one. He plays harmonica and duets with Ringo on “Wish I Knew Now (What I Knew Then)”.


The album and song remains unreleased after Ringo sued producer Chips Moman who attempted to release the album. Ringo felt he was too much “under the influence” of alcohol at the time. Bob testified on his behalf during the court proceedings.

Whilst, we still await Bob’s version of “Back Off Boogaloo”, Bob and Ringo have both covered the same songs on a number of occasions, “Sentimental Journey”, “Stardust”, “Stormy Weather”, “Winter Wonderland”, “The Little Drummer Boy” and “She’s About A Mover”.

To finish up let’s look back at this iconic performance from Bob, George and Ringo at The Concert For Bangladesh with “A Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall”.

*Footnote from Tony.

We have reviewed all the Wilbury songs that Dylan appears to have been involved in, and you will find them collected in our listings for 1989 (on the 1980s page) and 1990 (rather logically on the 1990s page)

But there is one I’d single out above all the rest – although I know most people don’t share my enthusiasm: Where were you last night.  Largely ignored as a Dylan composition, it remains for me the shining masterpiece of that project.

Every single Dylan composition reviewed and more

An index to our latest posts arranged by themes and subjects on the home page.  You can also see details of our main sections on this site at the top of this page under the picture.

There is an alphabetic index to the reviews of every one of the 590 songs Dylan has written or co-written  which you will find it here.  There are also 700+ other articles on different issues relating to Dylan.  The other subject areas are also shown at the top of this page under the picture

We also have a discussion group “Untold Dylan” on Facebook which mostly relates to Bob Dylan today.  Just type the phrase “Untold Dylan” in, on your Facebook page or follow this link 

And please do note   The Bob Dylan Project, which lists every Dylan song in alphabetical order, and has links to licensed recordings and performances by Dylan and by other artists, is starting to link back to our reviews.


  1. Excellent article. I’m a big Wilbury’s fan. Really enjoyed this immensely! Did you read George’s book? Excellent!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *