The folk music world is in mourning as Bruce Langhorne, the inspiration behind Bob Dylan’s iconic song, ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’, has passed away at the age of 78 according to Dylan Golden Aycock, a disciple to the legend. As an in-demand guitarist based out of Greenwich Village he was credited on the albums of the likes of such artists as: Chad Mitchell Trio, Carolyn Hester, Odetta, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Richard & Mimi Fariña, Tom Rush, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Gordon Lightfoot, Steve Gillette, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Hugh Masekela, Lisa Kindred, Eric Andersen, Hoyt Axton, David Ackles, Mike Blomfield, John B. Sebastian and Bobby Neuwirth, and many others.
Langhorne is perhaps most well known for playing on Bob Dylan’s records: 1963’s ‘The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan’ and 1965’s ‘Bringing It All Back Home’. His guitar playing is most prominent on tracks ‘Love Minus Zero/No Limit’, ‘She Belongs to Me’, and ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’. He also provided the countermelody on electric guitar to ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ for which he was of an inspiration to Dylan. Dylan stated in his liner notes for 1985’s ‘Biograph’ box set: “‘Mr. Tambourine Man,” I think, was inspired by Bruce Langhorne. Bruce was playing guitar with me on a bunch of the early records. On one session, (producer) Tom Wilson had asked him to play tambourine. And he had this gigantic tambourine. It was like, really big. It was as big as a wagon-wheel. He was playing, and this vision of him playing this tambourine just stuck in my mind. He was one of those characters…he was like that. I don’t know if I’ve ever told him that.”
Langhorne also played electric guitar on all three of Richard & Mimi’s studio albums, as well as playing the giant Turkish tambourine – for which he was so remembered for – on songs such as ‘Dopico’ and ‘Allen’s Interlude’. In his later years Langhorne composed the music for many a Peter Fonda film, including “The Hired Hand”, “Idaho Transfer”, and “Fighting Mad”, while other films to feature his unique expertise include “Stay Hungry”, “Melvin And Howard”, and “Night Warning”. His talents didn’t just stick to the musical realm though, Langhorne founded his own hot-sauce company in 1992 called Brother Bru-Bru’s African Hot Sauce.