Bob Neuwirth, Colorful Figure in Dylan’s Circle, Dies at 82 - The New York Times
May 20, 2022 2 mins, 22 secs
He was a recording artist and songwriter himself, but he also played pivotal roles in the careers of Bob Dylan and Janis Joplin.

Bob Neuwirth, a painter, recording artist and songwriter who also had an impact as a member of Bob Dylan’s inner circle and as a conduit for two of Janis Joplin’s best-known songs, died on Wednesday in Santa Monica, Calif.

Neuwirth had an eclectic string of albums, including his debut, simply titled “Bob Neuwirth,” in 1974, as well as a 1994 collaboration with John Cale called “Last Day on Earth” and a 2000 collaboration with the Cuban composer and pianist José María Vitier, “Havana Midnight.” But he was perhaps better known for the roles he played in the careers of others, beginning with Mr.

Neuwirth said he first encountered Mr.

Neuwirth said years later, he caught his eye “because he was the only other guy with a harmonica holder around his neck.”.

Dylan held court at the Kettle of Fish bar in Greenwich Village in the early 1960s, Mr.

Dylan toured England in 1965, Mr.

Dylan embarked on his Rolling Thunder Revue tour, Mr.

Neuwirth had mastered those little twists long before Bob Dylan made them famous and conveyed them to his best friend with altruistic grace.”.

Neuwirth was also involved in “Mercedes Benz,” another well-known Joplin song that, like “Bobby McGee,” appeared on her 1971 album, “Pearl.” He was at a bar with her before a show she was doing at the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, N.Y., in August 1970 when Ms.

Joplin began riffing on a ditty that the poet Michael McClure would sing at gatherings with friends.

Neuwirth began writing the lyrics the two of them came up with on a napkin.

Neuwirth are jointly credited as the writers of the song, which on the album is less than two minutes long.

Neuwirth nudged along the careers of artists he admired, including Patti Smith, in whatever ways came to mind.

“Though Bob was renowned for his acerbic wit — from his days as aide-de-camp to Dylan and Janis — when I met him 25 years ago, he epitomized kindness, mentorship and curiosity,” she said.

Robert John Neuwirth was born on June 20, 1939, in Akron, Ohio.

After two years at art school, he spent time in Paris before returning to the Boston area, where he began performing in coffee houses, singing and playing banjo and guitar.

Pennebaker’s 1967 Dylan documentary, “Dont Look Back,” as well as in “Eat the Document,” a 1972 documentary of a later tour that was shot by Mr.

And he appeared in “Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story,” the 2019 Martin Scorsese film.

Neuwirth was a producer of “Down From the Mountain” (2000), a documentary, directed in part by Mr

“It’s all about the same to me,” he said, “whether it’s writing a song or making a painting or doing a film

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