“I’m always conscious of the Chaplin Tramp”

Dylan in London, 1966. Photo by Barry Feinstein.

Bob Dylan, who celebrates a birthday today, was asked early in his career about his idols: “If I’m on stage, my idol–even my biggest idol when I’m on stage, the one that’s running through my head all the time, is Charlie Chaplin.”1

He impacted Dylan not only on stage but in other ways as well: “He influences me, even in the way I sing. His films really sank in. I like to see the humor in the world. There is so little of it around. I guess I’m always conscious of the Chaplin tramp.”2 Therefore it’s not surprising that Dylan would include references to his idol in his radio show “Theme Time Radio Hour” which aired on SiriusXM from 2006-2009. Here are a few of those clips:

During an episode entitled “Street Map,” Dylan briefly mentions Chaplin’s 1917 film Easy Street.

In a show called “Work & Jobs,” he discusses Jackie Coogan and plays a brief interview clip in which Jackie talks about working with Chaplin on The Kid.

Lastly, Dylan plays Judy Garland’s version of “Smile” during an episode called “Happiness.” He explains that the melody was written by Chaplin for his film Modern Times, which, not coincidently, is also the name of a 2006 album by Dylan.

1“The Billy James Interview,” Fall 1961
2Robert Shelton, No Direction Home, 1986


  1. Jess, thanks for the great photo and sound clips (Judy Garland!). And thanks for the Memorial Day reminder! Silly Charlot…

  2. Great stuff! I had no idea Chaplin was that big an influence on Dylan. You always find the most interesting and unexpected connections.

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