Al Kooper Quotes

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  • I started in the music business I was first introduced to 1650 Broadway, uh, which was in reality where everything happened in the '60s.

  • Every now and then we could steal somebody else's stuff.

    "Rock and Roll". "Shakespeares in the Alley", September 1995.
  • Producing Bob Dylan was pretty much a spectator sport.

  • The "Highway 61" album [of Bob Dylan] was produced by Bob Johnston if I'm not incorrect. And Bob Johnston was an entirely different producer than Tom Wilson. Tom Wilson had produced jazz records and was a Harvard educated.

  • Only through sheer ambition did I end up playing on [Bob Dylan sessions] and the fact that I could do that is a testament to how disorganized it really was.

  • ...You couldn't help being influenced by Dylan.

  • Musically Bob [Dylan] is a primitive. He's not a Gershwin, or somebody that uses eloquent music terms.

  • My influences were mostly gospel. So I was playing my twisted Jewish equivalent of gospel music over his twisted equivalent of rock and roll music. And it was a very excellent marriage.

  • The [Bob] Dylan sessions were very disorganized, to say the least. I mean, the "Like A Rolling Stone" session I was invited by the producer to watch.

  • Unlike so many Dylan-writer-wannabes and phony 'encyclopedia' compilers, Sean Wilentz makes me feel he was in the room when he chronicles events that I participated in. Finally a breath of fresh words founded in hardcore, intelligent research.

  • Mike Bloomfield sat down and started playing, and I went, whoa! Because I had never heard any white person play like that before. And he was about my age, and he just, that finished off my guitar career, just like that, in one afternoon.

  • The first generation from the '50s that were in 1650 [Broadway] were pretty much all crooks, I mean just out and out crooks. And the next generation had a little more finesse. But I mean those first wave of people, you know, definitely would take all your money, no doubt about it.

  • At the end of the playback of the take of "Like A Rolling Stone", or actually during the thing, Bob Dylan said to the producer, turn up the organ. And Tom Wilson said, oh man, that guy's not an organ player. And Dylan said, I don't care, turn the organ up, and that's really how I became an organ player.

  • The place that I worked I used to joke about it. There was a, every morning at 10:30 I'd come into work and I'd go into this cubicle that had a little upright piano and fake white cork bricks on the wall, and a little slate that came out of the wall that you could actually write on. And a door that locked from the outside. Every day from 10 to 6, we'd go in there and pretend that we were 13 year old girls and write these songs. That was the gig.

    Girl   Song   Morning  
  • I liked being challenged by music. It's good for me.

  • The very funny thing about "Like A Rolling Stone" is it was a six minute song, there was no music to read from. And there I was playing this unfamiliar instrument. So I would come in on the upbeat of one. I would wait until the band played the chord, and then as quickly as I could come in play the chord.

  • If you'd done a good job you'd just step back and let all these different chemistries interact and let it go.

  • I think it was Columbia politics, Columbia Records politics that, that, Tom Wilson left [Bob Dylan] after "Like A Rolling Stone".

  • Still being ambitious to want to play on the record, I was a mediocre keyboard player. And uh, I seized the opportunity and played the organ.

    "Rock and Roll". "Shakespeares in the Alley", September 1995.
  • In the, uh, '30s and '40s, the Brill Building was the hub of, uh, musical activity in Tin Pan Alley in New York City. I believe Irving Berlin was there, and uh, and everything just centered around there.

    "Rock and Roll". "Shakespeares in the Alley", September 1995.
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Al Kooper quotes about:

Al Kooper

  • Born: February 5, 1944
  • Occupation: Songwriter