I’m sorry to report that the great Bruce Langhorne is in hospice care and dying. I visited him a few days ago and he is in a good place and at peace. But the 24 hour care he needs is expensive, and so I suggested letting his fans know, in case anyone is able to make a contribution to his care.
Bruce was the inspiration for Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man” and played guitar on many of Dylan’s greatest works, including “Love Minus Zero/No Limit,” “She Belongs To Me,” “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” “Maggie’s Farm” and other tracks from The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, Bringing It All Back Home and Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid.
In the liner notes for Dylan’s “Biograph” box set he recalled ““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.”
Bruce also made important contributions to albums by Richard & Mimi Farina, Joan Baez, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Tom Rush, Richie Havens, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Gordon Lightfoot, John Sebastian, Carlos Santana, the Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem, and many others.
Below is a message from Bruce’s close friend Cynthia Riddle, who is helping to organize his care.
Bruce Langhorne is preparing for his final curtain call. He is in the care of hospice and his days are numbered. He is in a peaceful state at home, filled with joy and love. A steady stream of old friends is coming from near and far to play some music, pay their final respects and have a few more laughs.
End of life care is extremely expensive and we would appreciate any support you could offer. If you would care to contribute to Bruce’s care, you can make donations and purchase Bruce’s CDs here.
On behalf of Bruce, we offer you our deepest gratitude. Thank you, and keep the love flowing. Or, as Bruce might say, “Carry on Nurse!”
“If you had Bruce playing with you, that’s all you would need to do just about anything.” Bob Dylan
“If he were to walk in right now and you didn’t see Bruce, you would feel his presence. He just emanates love and kindness, in addition to being a virtuoso on like 50 string instruments.” Peter Fonda
“Just occasionally you come across these geniuses. Bruce Langhorne was one; he responds instinctually to the visual image. Bruce has done some of the most beautiful scoring I have ever been involved with, or ever known.” Jonathan Demme
Download Bruce’s song, Old Dog, for $1.00, to support organizations that rescue abused and abandoned dogs.
For more information about Bruce, see our earlier post, an interview with Richie Unterberger, his AllMusic page, and his website.
December 29, 2015
Gosh, this is real sad news. All our love . . .
Mr. Bruce Langhorne, I just made a modest contribution. I thank you for your artistry and the decades of true spirituality that it, and you, have brought to my life. Bless you. Also, I once saw a clip of you being interviewed and you seemed like a beautiful, joyous person. Whatever future you encounter, I pray that it’s pain free. Thank you again for all the beautiful music.
We met Bruce at the lenders party at EMP in Seattle for Bob Dylan’s American Journey exhibit. His smile & warmth were so welcoming to the strangers from Hibbing Minnesota. Everyone knew one another from the New York period but Bruce & a few others like Izzy Young made us feel we belonged there like friends, the Bob Dylan mystical connection we came to call it. What a wonderful man, feel blessed to know him. We had the same greeting from him two years later at the Skirball Museum, he was in a wheelchair at that time but lit up when he saw us. Hugs & smiles abound. We will be sorely missed. Go to the eternal music Bruce. Thanks for the joy.
Another poor boy undergorund. A blessed and gifted man. If Genius knew Gratitude, Langhorne would not need money at this time.
Much love to Bruce. We haven’t seen each other since the late 1960s, but I knew him as a friend, a fabulous musician, a funny and kind man. It’s awful to learn that Bruce is dying–and a relief to know that he’s in hospice care.
~So sad to hear of Bruce Langhorne’s approaching “final curtain call”!~ How very Blessed we all are to have known this vibrant, gorgeous man & to have enjoyed so much of his wonderful music all these many years!~
~He was a very specially anointed musician who channeled the very Spirit of Music with every molecule of his being! ~No matter what instrument he was playing, he very creatively always contributed the most perfect musical support to every artist he ever collaborated with!~He will be sorely missed, but we wish him Godspeed in his Journey to join that Heavenly Band~
~Sending much Love & Light to you Bruce~
~xoxo…. Maria Muldaur~
Thank you for posting this and letting the world know this sad news.
I would like to wish Bruce and his family much peace and comfort while he is under hospice care. I did purchase his CD “Tambourine Man” and also downloaded his “Old Dog” song. Bruce sure must be an old soul to write and record a song like that! It is one of the best that I have ever heard! Like Maria Muldaur’s beautiful comment above, I too would like to wish him Godspeed in his journey and say thanks for all the great music over the past 55 years!
I would like share my video interpretation / adaptation of Bruce’s Old Dog song of which I discovered in the post above. Thanks to Record Mecca once again for raising awareness to it and of course to Bruce for all his great music over the years! It was very healing for me to make and I hope it does the same for whoever takes the time to view it.
Peace, love and light to Bruce, his family and friends.
The Hired Hands: A Tribute to Bruce Langhorne
We would like to pay homage to one of the greatest and most infamous guitarists alive, Bruce Langhorne. His music has influenced and touched a lot of lives over the years, either through his soundtrack work with Peter Fonda or his studio work in the 1960’s as the go to hired hand for musicians such as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Richie Havens, Odetta… and many others. If his name is new to you I suggest browsing his wikipedia page to acquaint yourself with the volume of work he accomplished throughout the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Scissor Tail Editions was lucky enough to release Bruce’s score to Peter Fonda’s 1971 anti-western “The Hired Hand”on vinyl in 2012.
The goal here was to ask artists to cover or reinterpret a song of their choice from the soundtrack. No rules on whether the music should be derivative of a certain song, if the soundtrack inspires a mood, then the artists use their intuition.
Bruce has come on hard times in recent years, having suffered a stroke that prevents him from playing the guitar. He’s currently in hospice care awaiting his final curtain call. A large percentage of profit go to Bruce and his family.
Enjoy this 8 minute interview I did with Bruce and Al Schackman (Nina Simone’s guitarist) on their scoring my short doc, Walden, along w/ drummer Gordy Ryan. Bruce and Al are so funny and insightful. Bruce also mentions the Occupy Movement and We Are One.