The Collab Bob Dylan And Eric Clapton Almost Bombed, Producer Beau Hill Recalls

During a recent chat with Chuck Shute, producer Beau Hill remembered the Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton collaboration that nearly went up in smoke.

As Hill recalled, Dylan, Clapton, and Ronnie Wood worked together on the soundtrack of the 1987 movie ‘Hearts of Fire’ he produced. However, Dylan couldn’t deliver music on time for principal photography. Then, the director of the film, Richard Marquand, asked Hill to go down there to fix the situation. The producer revealed the rest of the story, explaining:

“I went to the Townhouse, London, and I walked into the control room, and they had one of the second engineers running the session. So, basically, all he was doing was he just kept putting on reels of tape and running it, and then they would jam or fart around doing whatever they were doing. So there were like 15 reels of two-inch piled up on the floor, and they hadn’t gotten one song out of the batch.”

He went on to disclose what the musicians were like when he saw them:

“So I go to the control room glass and look outside and see Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Ron Wood, Eric’s drummer, Henry Spinetti. I was just sitting there going, ‘Wow, what a weird life I lead.’ It was pretty crazy, and I went and introduced myself. I was trying to be as diplomatic as possible, and I said, ‘Listen, Richard wanted me to come down and just see if I could lend a hand.’ Eric and Henry Spinetti were sober, totally sober. Dylan and Ron Wood were not sober.”

Then, the interviewer stepped in and asked whether they were just drunk or if there were any drugs involved. Hill replied:

“My lips are sealed. I can’t tell you. We had half of the band that was focused and the other half, shall we just say, different focus. So, I took some time and scanned through the tapes to see if there was anything in there that I could resurrect. I found a couple of things:  ‘Okay if we can clean this up here and fix this and do that blow up.’ Eric was looking at me with these giant eyes, going, ‘Thank you, we needed some help.'”

During the ‘Heart of Fire’ sessions, Clapton backed Dylan on guitar parts, Wood on bass, and Spinetti on drums. Dylan was initially supposed to contribute four new songs for the album, but in the end, he only delivered two original songs and one cover song. Fiona Flanagan and Rupert Everett also had several pieces on the soundtrack.

You can watch the full interview below.