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Flashback: Bob Dylan Sings ‘Dark Eyes’ With Patti Smith

When Dylan took Patti Smith on the road in 1995, he let her pick any song in his catalog for them to sing together.

When Bob Dylan invited Patti Smith to serve as opening act on the final dates of his 1995 tour, he gave her a pretty amazing offer.

“He gave me the opportunity to choose any song from his catalog and we could do it together,” Smith said. “So I looked through his lyric book, and I realized what a profound opportunity this was. This was somebody that I had adored and admired since I was 15 years old, giving me the opportunity to sing any one of his songs with him. So I chose ‘Dark Eyes,’ and Bob and I sang it for the next several days.”

The tour came at a very difficult time for Smith. Her husband, Fred “Sonic” Smith of the MC5, passed away the previous year and she was just returning to the road after a 17-year break. “I truthfully wasn’t certain how I would be received, or what I should do,” Smith said. “And being encouraged by him was very important to me.”

Nearly every night, Smith came out near the end of Dylan’s set for a tender duet on “Dark Eyes,” a 1985 obscurity that he’d only played a single time before. “For me, that was a timeless experience,”  Smith said. “I really felt an extreme amount of dignity and happiness singing with him. I allowed myself to think about how important he’s been to me, and what a hero, and to glean a certain amount of joy.”

Here’s their performance of “Dark Eyes” from the Beacon Theatre. Dylan returns there for a five-show run beginning in late November, but don’t expect a repeat performance. These days he sticks to a pretty tight setlist and guest performers are extremely rare.

In This Article: Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, Video

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