Obama 'inspired by Bob Dylan'

White House hopeful Barack Obama has revealed he takes musical inspiration from Bob Dylan, while rival John McCain confesses to an unlikely love of R&B star Usher.

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Barack Obama's eclectic iPod collection ranges from classical to rap, but his love of one Bob Dylan song stands out for an insight into the Democratic presidential candidate's bid to change America.

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Maggie's Farm, Dylan's classic protest of 1965 against a stifling old order, is “one of my favourites during the political season,” the Illinois senator confessed in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine.

“It speaks to me as I listen to some of the political rhetoric,” he said.

The song, which marked Dylan's explosive rupture with the folk scene, includes the lyrics: “Well, I wake in the morning,/Fold my hands and pray for rain./I got a head full of ideas/That are drivin' me insane.”

Mr Obama said he has about 30 Dylan tracks on his iPod, but added: “If I had one musical hero, it would have to be Stevie Wonder.”

Favourite movies

Wonder jostles for space on Mr Obama's playlist with “everything from Howlin' Wolf to (cellist) Yo-Yo Ma to Sheryl Crow,” via Bruce Springsteen and cutting-edge stars of rap including Will.i.am and Jay-Z.

His Republican opponent, John McCain, this week admitted to a somewhat surprising liking for US R&B singer Usher after a tip from his daughter Meghan, who writes a blog about life campaigning with her father.

The 71-year-old senator, who was held captive for five years after his plane was downed in the Vietnam War, said his formative experience was with the pop music of the 1950s and early 1960s.

“When I got shot down, my cultural and musical tastes, what little I had, came to a screeching halt,” he said in an interview with the St Paul Pioneer-Press in Minnesota.

“One of the movies that makes me laugh the hardest is American Graffiti,” Mr McCain added, referring to Star Wars director George Lucas's breakout comedy of 1973.

“I love that movie. I really do. There are scenes in it that I think are really hilarious.”