Bob Dylan Honors Jerry Lee Lewis With Cover of ‘I Can’t Seem To Say Goodbye’

by Taylor Cunningham
(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Stagecoach)

On the day Jerry Lee Lewis passed, his friend Bob Dylan paid tribute to his friend and music icon with a cover of I Can’t Seem to Say Goodbye.

Lewis died on Oct. 28, the same day that Dylan performed for a massive crowd in Nottingham, England. During the show, the Mr. Tambourine Man singer asked his fans at the Motorpoint Arena to take a moment for Dylan

“I don’t know how many of you know,” he began. “But Jerry Lee’s gone. We’re gonna play this song, one of his. Jerry Lee will live forever – we all know that.”

With that, he jumped into a heartfelt rendition of the 1970 hit, which appeared on Lewis’ album A Taste of Country.

Bob Dylan Worked Out of the Same Studio as Jerry Lee Lewis in the 1960s

Jerry Lee Lewis became a rockabilly superstar in the 1950s. The singer was a part of the infamous Sun Records along with Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash. Over the course of his career, he recorded an astonishing 40 records.

In 1958, Lewis briefly took Elvis’ place in the spotlight after the King of Rock enlisted in the Army. But during an overseas tour, the press learned that Lewis’s second wife, Myra Gale Brown, was only 13 years old and his cousin. Once the news broke, the singer fell from the ranks. His tour was canceled, the radio blocked all his songs, and former fans refused to buy his records.

Bob Dylan met the singer in the 1960s when he worked out of the same studio as Lewis, who was dubbed “the killer.” In a 1969 interview with The Rolling Stones, Dylan said he wrote To Be Alone With You for the star during that time. But Lewis never recorded it. So Dylan recorded it himself and put it on his Nashville Skyline record.

Lewis’ career was shrouded in controversy when Dylan met him. Not only did the public know about his marital scandal, but they also watched him go through addiction issues and various legal battles. He did, however, successfully rebrand himself as a county music singer later in his life.

Jerry Lee Lewis died at the age of 87 at his home in DeSoto County, Mississippi, following several false reports saying he had passed several days earlier. His rep, Zach Farnum shared in a statement that he died with his seventh wife, Judith, “by his side.”

“He told her, in his final days, that he welcomed the hereafter,” Farnum added. “And that he was not afraid.”