Kris Kristofferson Remembers Dylan's Blonde Sessions


Kris Kristofferson Photo Courtesy of New West Records

March 24, 2008 - One of the key periods in the career of Country Music Hall of Famer Kris Kristofferson came when he paid his dues in Nashville as the janitor at the Columbia Recording Studios.

The studio was the location for sessions by some of country music's best, including Johnny Cash, the Statler Brothers, Tammy Wynette and George Jones. But it also attracted the attention of Bob Dylan, who cut three albums there during the 1960s. Kris was on hand when Dylan recorded Blonde On Blonde, considered one of his best albums and one of the most important in rock music history.

"I was the only songwriter in Nashville allowed in at the time," Kris told The London Times. "There were police round the building. Bob was doing a great thing for Nashville, giving it credibility. I never said a word to him — I didn't dare — but I spoke to his wife and son."

Dylan created much of the music at the spur of the moment; in fact, he only recorded one take of "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35," with its familiar "everybody must get stoned" chorus.

"In Nashville at the time, if you didn't cut three songs in three hours, you were being extravagant and wasteful," Kris recalled. "He just went in there and sat down at the piano, all by himself, and wrote all night long. The band [was] playing ping pong and waiting for him. I'd never seen anything like it. I respected him. To me, he lifted songwriting up to an art form that was worth committing your life to, like poetry... To me, it was like watching [Vincent] Van Gogh go through different stages of his painting and his inspiration."

Of course, people speak pretty highly of Kris' songwriting, too. Among the songs he's written: "Help Me Make It Through The Night," "For The Good Times," "Why Me" and "Me And Bobby McGee."