"In the jingle jangle morning, I'll come following you." Plenty of people could identify that as a line from Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man," but how many know the man who inspired the song? As it turns out, his name was Bruce Langhorne, and the highly regarded session guitarist has just died at age 78, reports the AP. Langhorne collaborated often with Dylan, perhaps most notably on Dylan's 1965 album Bringing It All Back Home, and the New York Times calls him a pivotal figure in helping turn folk music into folk-rock music. Dylan once explained that he was inspired to write "Tambourine Man" after seeing Langhorne show up for a recording session in 1964 with a large Turkish drum adorned with bells.
Langhorne, who was born in Tallahassee, Fla., but raised mostly in New York City's Spanish Harlem neighborhood, displayed skill at the violin as a child, but had to give it up when he lost two fingers and part of his thumb on his right hand in a fireworks accident at age 12. The mishap led to a distinct playing style on the guitar. He was a regular in Greenwich Village in the 1950s and 1960s, making a name for himself by playing with Joan Baez, Gordon Lightfoot, and others. Wrote Dylan in his 2004 memoir, Chronicles: “If you had Bruce playing with you, that’s all you would need to do just about anything.” (Read more obituary stories.)