Longtime Bob Dylan associate and folk singer Bob Neuwirth died on May 18th in Santa Monica, California at age 82, according to Rolling Stone. Neuwirth, who made his bones in the early-’60s Cambridge, Massachusetts folk scene became a constant companion and foil for Bob Dylan in the years leading up to his 1966 motorcycle crash. He claimed he was uncredited for contributing to Dylan’s 1965 “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” having reportedly written the legendary opening line, “When you’re lost in the rain in Juarez, and it’s Easter time too.“
Bob Neuwirth, whose body is featured on the cover of Dylan’s 1965 Highway 61 Revisited album, appeared in 1967’s Don’t Look Back documentary — and toured with Dylan as part of the 1975/’76 Rolling Thunder Revue. He’s also feature prominently in the docu-drama of the tour, 1977’s Renaldo & Clara.
He was an early supporter of Patti Smith, co-wrote “Mercedes Benz:” with Janis Joplin, and introduced her to her signature hit, a cover of Kris Kristofferson‘s “Me And Bobby McGee.”
Neuwirth’s family issued a statement, which read:
On Wednesday evening in Santa Monica, Bob Neuwirth’s big heart gave out. He was 82 years old and would have been 83 in June. 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 epicenter 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.