Doing Dylan - Part 2

Doing Dylan - Part 2

best bob dylan covers
Van Morrison, Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton (Photo by Keith Baugh/Redferns/Getty Images)

Last week we published Part 1 of this dive into great Bob Dylan covers, you can check it out here. The dive into his music was spurred on by the fantastic new Netflix doco, Rolling Thunder Review.  Worth watching if you haven't yet. 

Here are nine more great Dylan covers worth checking out, showcasing the breadth of his impact on other artists from the 60s to the current day. 

The White Stripes – One More Cup of Coffee

Moving further left afield now, a lot of baby boomer Bob fans would probably be surprised to know that many younger artists, raised on punk and raw garage rock, are also well acquainted with Dylan. This fab version of the Desire classic appeared on The White Stripes self-titled first album, in 1999, before Robert Plant recorded his... Of course, Jack White does have a very similar vocal timbre to Percy...

Eddie Vedder & Mike McCready – Masters of War

Staying with the younger generation, Eddie and his Pearl Jam pal were the youngest performers at Bob Dylan's 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration but caused something of a sensation with Dylan's heavy hitting anti-war number. The song remained a semi-regular in Pearl Jam's set, and on into Eddie's solo career. One assumes we'll hear it again soon... It's worth noting that Mark Arm from Mudhoney was the first of the so-called grunge artists to do this one – he cut it for a solo single on SubPop in 1990.

Van Morrison & Them – It's All Over Now Baby Blue

Back to the 60s, and back to one of the masters. Van Morrison began his musical career as a great R'n'B belter in the Belfast band Them. In the late 60s, he moved to the States, even following Bob's lead to move to upstate New York for a while. Dylan's phenomenal growth in the mid-60s obviously had a considerable influence on Van's desire to expand his own vision – this brilliant cover (of a tune that originally featured on Dylan's landmark 1965 album Bringing It All Back Home) was a stop on the highway that led to the likes of Astral Weeks.

Stevie Nicks – Just Like A Woman

One of Bob's most famous numbers, recorded by Stevie for her 1994 album Street Angel.

Peter, Paul & Mary – Blowin' In The Wind

The first time anyone had a hit with one of Dylan's songs – and that includes Bob himself – was when Peter, Paul & Mary recorded "Blowin' In The Wind" in 1963 and released it as a single. It sold 200,000 copies in a week and reached number two. Bob's version, released around the same time, didn't fare nearly as well, but now, of course, it is iconic. 

Joan Baez – With God On Our Side

Another artist from the early 60s folk movement who shall forever be tied to Dylan in the public's eye, Joan Baez was of course both a mentor and a muse to Dylan as his career was taking off. She had two or three albums out before he made a record, and didn't record one of his songs until she made her fifth album, Joan Baez in Concert, Part 2, which was released the same month that JFK was assassinated and recorded a few months earlier. "With God On Our Side" is another of Dylan's great anti-war songs. This version is from a couple of years later.

Nico – I'll Keep It With Mine

A long way from his strident political songs, "I'll Keep It With Mine" is one of Dylan's most delicate and beautiful personal songs. His wrote it in 1964 but never successfully recorded it himself, despite several subsequently released attempts. The first recording was by Judy Collins in 1965; the best-known version is by German chanteuse Nico, best known for her work with the Velvet Underground, from her 1967 solo album Chelsea Girl. Susanna Hoffs recorded a stunning version too, back in 1984, before The Bangles ever had a hit. Let's hear that also.

Sinead O'Connor – I Believe In You

Another sublimely beautiful Dylan song performed beautifully. Sinead was booed by the audience when she started performing this at the Dylan 30th Anniversary Concert in 1992; it was only a couple of weeks after she tore up a picture of the Pope on live television (as part of a demonstration against sexual abuse in the Church). But she was brave enough to stick with the song, and this 1999 performance is essential listening. 

The Four Seasons – Like A Rolling Stone

From the sublime to the sublimely ridiculous. One has to wonder what they thinking... but it's a fun listen. And their version of "Queen Jane Approximately", with wicked fuzz guitar, is even more so. From 1965. Check out Frankie's crazy harmony part in the chorus here. 

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