Saturday, January 3, 2009

Saturday Night At The Liberal Curmudgeon: Interpreters Of Dylan

A few Saturday nights ago, I put up a post, "Dylan Goes Electric, Newport 1965." While Bob Dylan upset the folk purists at that folk festival by plugging in, he has never been an artist who stood in one place. In addition, Dylan has always influenced other artists through his various phases, many of whom have presented cover versions of his songs. Here are four sets of prominent interpreters of Dylan, two from the acoustic and two from the electric periods.

Peter, Paul & Mary's spirited rendition of The "Times They Are A Changin' " was recorded in 1995 for PBS's "Great Performances." John Sebastian, former leader of The Lovin' Spoonful, accompanied them on harmonica:

Joan Baez has had a long personal and musical association with Dylan. Here she performs "Love Is Just A Four Letter Word" on Austin City Limits in 1990:

Dylan's electric performance at Newport gave rise to a new hybrid sound, folk rock. The Byrds, prime exemplars of the genre, lip-synced their hit cover of "Mr. Tambourine Man" on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1965:

The Grateful Dead incorporated Dylan's music into their remarkably varied repertoire. This rendition of "When I Paint My Masterpiece" was recorded in Oakland, California, in 1987:


mjmand said...

Of course it should not go unsaid that Dylan's music has been covered by rhythm and blues artists of such stature as Stevie Wonder, who covered "Blowin' in the Wind," and Etta James, who recorded "Gotta Serve Somebody." I believe Stevie Wonder actually sang "Blowin' in the Wind" at Bobfest - the name that Neil Young gave to the concert in Dylan's honor that celebrated his 30th anniversary in the music industry. And there are so many more.

Jeff Tone said...

MJM: I wonder if Dylan is the most covered song writer in history. He's definitely among the most. There must be a way to research this.

mjmand said...

I started my research into the most covered songwriter (one word or two?) and I came up with one interesting fact. According to one link in Google, "Yesterday" is the most covered song with more than 3000 recorded versions.

Jeff Tone said...

One word.

Interesting fact. Keep going with your research on the most covered songwriter and report back to us.