The folk rock icon was honoured as the 2015 MusiCares Person of the Year at a Los Angeles benefit gala earlier this month (Feb15), and during his speech he singled out Haggard for not supporting him at the beginning of his career.
Dylan said, "Merle Haggard didn't think much of my songs, but Buck Owens did, and Buck even recorded some of my early songs.
"Now I admire Merle... I love Merle but he's not Buck. Buck Owens wrote Together Again and that song trumps anything that ever came out of Bakersfield (the Bakersfield sound genre of country music). Buck Owens and Merle Haggard? If you have to have somebody's blessing - you figure it out. What I'm saying here is that my songs seem to divide people. Even people in the music community."
However, Dylan now insists he wasn't taking a swipe at Haggard, saying in a recent interview published on his own website, "I wasn't dissing Merle, not the Merle I know. What I was talking about happened a long time ago, maybe in the late Sixties. Merle had that song out called Fighting Side of Me and I'd seen an interview with him where he was going on about hippies and Dylan and the counter culture, and it kind of stuck in my mind and hurt, lumping me in with everything he didn't like.
"But of course times have changed and he's changed too. If hippies were around today, he'd be on their side and he himself is part of the counter culture... so yeah, things change. I've toured with him and have the highest regard for him, his songs, his talent... He's also a bit of a philosopher. He's serious and he's funny. He's a complete man and we're friends these days. We have a lot in common."
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