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Referenced By / Bob Dylan

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Dylan in the far right corner of the album cover of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

A list of references, shout-outs, parodies, homages, winks, nods to Bob Dylan.

Anime & Manga


  • Bill Hicks was a fan of Dylan and would open his act by singing "Subterranean Homesick Blues."


  • Gotlib: He once made a parody of the album cover of Nashville Skyline starring his character Hamster Jovial.
  • Zits: Walt gets angry at a song Jeremy is listening to, resulting in this exchange,
    Walt: Did I hear what I think I just heard?!
    Jeremy: Dad, it's just a song lyric.
    Walt: Don't give me that! I'm sick of this new music that's nothing but drugs and sex!
    Jeremy: You mean like, "Lay Lady Lay", "Lucy in the Sky", "Purple Haze", "Brown Sugar"?
    Walt: Hey, that's different! Those are classics!
    Connie: Ouch. Score one for the teenager.
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  • Watchmen features a number of references to Dylan's work — specifically, "Desolation Row", "All Along The Watchtower", and "The Times They Are A-Changin'". The first two serve as the namesakes of two of the chapters, while the last one is referenced specifically as a newspaper advertisement. The film version uses the last song as the theme for the opening montage, while covers of the other two are featured.
  • In the The Umbrella Academy's universe, God is apparently a horse-riding cowboy elder Dylan.

Films - Live-Action

  • Vanilla Sky: One scene duplicates the album cover of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan. Which turns out to be the clue to David's character that he has dreamt his memories about Sofia, because his memory of them two walking on Times Square is just a memory of Dylan's album cover, which he confused with reality.
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  • Forrest Gump: Jenny performs "Blowin' In The Wind" in a strip club.
  • The satirical film Bob Roberts (1992) parodies many scenes from Don't Look Back, including a clear parody of the opening scene.
    • Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story parodies the film notably during a press conference scene in which a reporter compares Dewey to Dylan. Dewey replies, "Why doesn't anyone ask Bob Dylan why he sounds so much like Dewey Cox?", parodying a press conference in Don't Look Back where Dylan provides a similar response when a reporter compares Dylan to fellow singer-songwriter Donovan.
  • Dylan just misses making a cameo in Inside Llewyn Davis. One of his songs is heard from the stage, but he's never seen.
  • In the Name of the Father: When Gerry and Paul find each other on a ship to England, they go to a bar and play "Like a Rolling Stone" on the jukebox, which they sing along to.
  • The 1989 thriller The Mighty Quinn, with Denzel Washington, took its title from the Dylan song of the same name.
  • Zig-zagged in We Bought a Zoo; Lily thinks Dylan was named after Dylan, but it turns out not to be.
  • In Steve Jobs, before Jobs' first talk, he debates with himself over which lyric from "The Times They Are A Changin'" he should use for his presentation (in real life, Jobs was a big Dylan fan).
  • The first line Jack Dawson says in Titanic (1997) is, bizarrely, a line from "Like a Rolling Stone":
    When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose.
  • In The Freshman (1990), Bert Parks performs "Maggie's Farm" at the dinner scene.
  • In Almost Famous, when William is flying with Stillwater, Russell asks him why he ran out on them the night before, as Dylan supposedly had come by and hung out with them.
  • One Night in Miami...: Malcolm X chastises Sam Cooke at one point for not doing any songs like "Blowin' in the Wind".
  • Begin Again: Dan and Gretta get into an argument about authenticity in popular music, and when he asks who meets her ideal of authenticity, she responds, "Dylan." Dan retorts Dylan had changed his act and his image so many times, he doesn't count.
  • The Post: After the Pentagon Papers are first released, during the protests in front of The Washington Post, there's a group of guitarists leading a sing-a-long of "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall".


  • In Naked Came the Stranger, Arthur Franhop has his hair twisted and curled like Bob Dylan's.
  • I Think I Love You: Bill once invited a woman into his apartment, only for her to go home when she realized how anal-retentive his music classification system was. Afterwards, Bill listened to Bob Dylan until dawn.

Live-Action TV

  • Spitting Image: Bob Dylan was made into a puppet.
  • In the first episode of Murphy Brown, Murphy convinces Frank of her 1960s pedigree by reciting the lyrics to "Subterranean Homesick Blues".
  • Dylan appears As Himself in an episode of Dharma & Greg where Dharma tries to become a professional drummer.
  • Homicide: Life on the Street: In the three-part season six premiere episode "Blood Ties", Felix Wilson (James Earl Jones), the business tycoon and philanthropist whose family is implicated in the death of his maid, brings up "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll" (as well as the real Hattie Carroll) to illustrate how little of a fair shake he expects his family to get involving the case.
  • The miniseries The Sixties has the characters visit the Newport Folk Festival to see Dylan and wonder why he'd need all those guitar amps... oh.
  • The Young Ones episode "Cash" had the musical guest of the week be Ken Bishop's Nice Twelve, a one-off conglomerate of high-profile rock musicians and theme writers, including Jools Holland, Simon Brint, Stewart Copeland and Chris Difford performing "Subterranean Homesick Blues". For contractual reasons, this was edited out of DVD releases in the past, but was reinstated for the 25th Anniversary edition.
  • Young Sheldon: Sheldon once stayed with a Bourgeois Bohemian couple, and was horrified as they played "The Mighty Quinn" on the piano. When his father picks him up and the song comes on the radio, Sheldon quickly asks him to turn it off.
    Adult Sheldon: "You'll not see nothin'"; shame on whoever wrote that!
  • The Americans: In the fifth season, when Philip gives Kimmy a cake for her birthday, he sings the first verse of "Forever Young".


  • The Beatles:
    Feel so suicidal, just like Dylan's "Mr. Jones."
    • On "Dig It" from Let It Be Lennon namedrops Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone".
  • John Lennon: During the song "God" from John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band John sings about various things he doesn't believe in, including "Zimmerman". He also wrote an Answer Song called "Serve Yourself", a sarcastic attack on Dylan's "Gotta Serve Somebody" from Slow Train Coming.
  • On the wall of the bathroom graffiti cover of The Rolling Stones' Beggars Banquet (1968) we can read the text: "Bob Dylan's Dream", a reference to the song of the same name from The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan.
  • Frank Zappa: Zappa guitarist Adrian Belew imitated Bob Dylan during the track "Flakes" on Zappa's album Sheik Yerbouti.
  • The Flemish band De Nieuwe Snaar has a song called In De Hemel Is Geen Dylan ("There's no Dylan in heaven") with the line "because there is no Dylan in heaven, we'll play him here."
  • David Bowie's album Hunky Dory has a song named Song For Bob Dylan, in reference to Dylan's own song Song For Woody.
  • "Mediate" by INXS from their album "Kick" has a music video which is a shout-out to the "Subterranean Homesick Blues" sequence in Don't Look Back.
  • Chumbawamba has a track called "Give the Anarchist a Cigarette" on their album "Anarchy" (1994).
    Give the anarchist a cigarette/ 'Cause that's as close as he's ever going to get/ Bobby just hasn't earned it yet.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic parodied the "Subterranean Homesick Blues" video in his music video "Bob".
  • "Johnny Ryall" from Paul's Boutique by Beastie Boys references "Maggie's Farm" from Bringing It All Back Home.
    'Cause he ain't gonna work on Maggie Farm no more
    • On the same album "3-Minute Rule" is another reference
    I'm just chillin', like Bob Dylan
    I'm a writer, a poet, a genius, I know it
    I am free as far as I can see is Nashville skyline underneath it all
    You yourself are free
  • Metal band Judas Priest named themselves after the Dylan song "The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest" from John Wesley Harding.
  • Belle and Sebastian have a song called "Like Dylan In The Movies", specifically referring to Don't Look Back.
  • Wyclef Jean's song "Gone 'Til November" features the line "Knockin' on heaven's door/Just like Bob Dylan". Dylan does a cameo in the music video as well.
  • The Against Me! song "Bob Dylan Dream", which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin - that is a recollection of rather bizarre dream Laura Jane Grace had about Bob coming to stay with Laura and her wife.
  • The third verse of "Only Wanna Be With You" by Hootie & the Blowfish references Dylan heavily. Describing the song's narrator and his girlfriend listening to Bob Dylan's music together.
  • Alternative county artist Jason Isbell of Drive By Truckers fame has a line from "Boots of Spanish Leather" tattooed on his left forearm.
    Just carry yourself back to me unspoiled
    From across that lonesome ocean
  • The Who mention Dylan, along with the Beatles and LSD advocate Timothy Leary, in "The Seeker".
    I asked Bobby Dylan
    I asked the Beatles
    I asked Timothy Leary
    He couldn't help me either
  • Night Ranger: In the title track from their album Big Life, the band borrows/references part of "Tangled Up in Blue":
    Late on one day as the sun went down I was just about to do the same
    I heard a knock on the door, couple girls walked in, said "Baby, don't we know your name?"
  • Steve Taylor delivers a Take That! to Dylan in his song "Meltdown (At Madame Tussaud's):
    Dylan may be fillin' the puddle they designed
    Is it gonna take a miracle to make up his mind?

Web Animation

Western Animation

Real Life

  • When Muhammad Ali fought the heavyweight championship boxing in 1980 journalist Howard Cosell and a personal friend of Ali quoted from "Forever Young" from Planet Waves.
    Even Muhammed Ali can not be forever young. His hands are no longer busy, his feet no longer swift.