Bob Dylan Looked Up To Beck’s ‘Odelay,’ Mark Howard Recalls

Bob Dylan recently released his ‘The Bootleg Series Vol. 17: Fragments – Time Out Of Mind Sessions (1996-1997),’ featuring the remix of 1997’s original album. Speaking to Mojo, engineer Mark Howard shared details about ‘Time Out Of Mind’ and revealed that Dylan wanted to make it sound like Beck’s ‘Odelay.’

“Bob came in and played the beginnings of ‘I Can’t Wait’ on the piano,” Howard said, recalling how Bob Dylan came up with the idea. “It was a gospel-style piano version. At the same time, Tony Mangurian is doing this hip-hop beat with him. It was really cool-sounding.”

He continued, “After that session, Bob said, ‘I’d love to make a record like that kid Beck.’ ‘Odelay’ was out, and he liked the way it sounded. We thought that would be a really cool angle for Bob. And so, in Oxnard, we thought we had the bones of the beginnings of the songs.”

Beck released ‘Odelay’ in 1996, a year before Bob Dylan’s ‘Time Out Of Mind.’ Before working on the album, Beck entered the studio to record some acoustic tracks for ‘One Foot In The Grave.’ As the singer wasn’t really pleased with the outcome, he started to work with Dust Brothers, who had a hip-hop-focused production style.

The musician used a mixture of country, blues, rap, jazz, and rock on ‘Odelay’ and believed Dust Brothers’ sample-based production was more fun. Apparently, Bob Dylan was impressed with the singer’s new approach and wanted to make his own ‘Odelay’ with 1997’s ‘Time Out Of Mind.’

Before the album’s release, Dylan struggled to develop creative ideas and find his musical identity. So, it seems Beck’s ‘Odelay’ came to his aid and inspired him with its sample-based approach during the recording process.

Recently, Dylan released his 15th installment of ‘The Bootleg Series,’ revealing an in-depth outlook on ‘Time Out Of Mind.’ Released on January 27, it’s a compilation album featuring a remix of the original version, alternate versions, outtakes, and live recordings.