As we started to compile this record of the 50 Finest Bob Dylan Covers of All Time—asking for enter from Paste readers, writers and editors—somebody advised that it is likely to be simpler to compile an inventory of artists who haven’t coated Dylan. I’ve listened to actually tons of of Dylan covers over the course of the previous week, making an attempt to weigh decisions like, “Who’s model of ‘Tomorrow Is a Lengthy Time’ is healthier, Nick Drake or Nickel Creek?” However I don’t imply to make it sound like grueling work. My greatest take-away from this train is that going to Dylan for supply materials usually elevates no matter artist is tackling it. There are such a lot of transcendent moments in these 50 songs. Antony’s trembling tenor veering “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” into a very new route. Beck making “Leopard-Pores and skin Tablet-Field Hat” sound like he wrote it. I may put this playlist on repeat, and it’d be an extended whereas earlier than it grew previous.
We selected just one music from every of the artists, although some are talked about a number of occasions within the alternate takes. We disqualified any songs that have been duets with Dylan, however we didn’t restrict it to official releases or studio variations. There are a number of rumored songs we want we may have heard and regarded (like Gillian Welch and David Rawling’s “Fool Wind”), and I’m certain there are songs you like that we simply didn’t learn about. No artist has seemingly been coated as a lot as Dylan, so whereas this record is fairly properly researched, it’s removed from exhaustive. Tell us your favorites within the feedback part beneath.
Give the Junkies credit score for tackling the greats. On the band’s U.Okay.-only reside album, Within the Time Earlier than Llamas, Margo Timmins sings Dylan, Lou Reed, Robert Johnson and Gram Parsons. Choosing a rocking blues model of “If You Gotta Go,” Margo’s smoky vocals make for a beautiful send-off.
If not the Junkies, then… we like The Flying Burrito Brothers’ sunny nation rave-up.
A decade earlier, The Replacements’ hilarious, drunken Dylan parody “Like a Rolling Pin” proved that there must be no sacred cows in rock ’n’ roll. However this sped-up Ramones cowl of one among Dylan’s most interesting is delivered with out a trace of irony. Each bit as concurrently nostalgic and forward-looking as the unique, it does what most punk covers of non-punk songs fail to do—it pays real heartfelt tribute to the unique.
If not The Ramones, then… we like The Hollies.
One other gospel-soul association, however Hynde lays surprisingly jazzy vocals on high for the verses. That’s jarring sufficient given her traditional rock-chick voice, however extra voices be part of her on the refrain to show the music right into a pure anthem.
If not Chrissie, then… we like Kevn Kinney’s model with Warren Haynes and Edwin McCain.
Stevens’ tasty association contains horns bursting into refined piano and guitar that make it completely his personal.
If not Sufjan then… we like Joe Cocker’s earnest growls.
There’s hardly a greater music for channelling DiFranco’s cool invective than the story of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter.
If not Ani, then… we like… um… anybody beside Vanilla Ice.
Creek’s model is gorgeous, however regardless of an early misstep on the lyrics, Drake’s light crooning does a greater job of capturing the music’s loneliness.
If not Nick, then… we’ll take Nickel Creek’s vibrant pickin’ and grinnin’.
guitars, driving rhythm, and people indescribable vocals—it’s traditional Neil Younger. The important thing to his nice efficiency right here is his utter consolation contained in the music, as if he was born singing each phrase.
If not Neil, then… we like Nina Simone. It’s like sitting down with somebody over whiskey and soda in the midst of the afternoon and listening to their life story.
We’re fairly certain Bob by no means envisioned the music this manner, however we’ll guess he approves. Zack De La Rocha’s vocals construct from comfortable resentment to outrage, whereas the devices preserve a menacing low rumble. The truth that they by no means fairly catch as much as his power shouldn’t work however in some way does.
If not Rage, then… we like Vigilantes of Love. Invoice Mallonee and his group of a few years play it straight. Recorded simply on the finish of their punk-folk interval, this largely acoustic gem is extra driving and gripping than most bands absolutely plugged in. Mallonee’s whispered “everyone needs me to be like them” is particularly eerie and highly effective. A cocksure assertion of confidence from a band hitting its stride.
The September difficulty of British journal Mojo featured a sampler of Dylan covers. Ward, Oberst and James traded verses on “Lady from the North Nation.” Since then, they’ve periodically been discussing a “Monsters of People” album.
If not these guys, then… we like John Gorka.
Each be aware out of Jones’ mouth appears like a caress, making you imagine she is going to certainly be your child tonight.
If not Norah then… Michelle Malone could have one of the best voice you’ve by no means heard.
Association-wise, Yo La Tengo’s cowl of “Fourth Time Round” is fairly trustworthy to the unique—even the organ they use sounds 1960s-ancient. However what utterly units their model aside is the dreamy, Vince Guaraldi-esque piano enjoying and Georgia Hubley’s completely entrancing vocal.
If not Yo La Tengo, then… we like Calexico’s model.
Tedeschi takes you again to church—like Aretha singing with Duane Allman rocking out on the dobro (in truth, Tedeschi is enjoying with husband Derek Vans right here, whose uncle is Allmans drummer Butch). The manufacturing is ideal—simply sufficient of each factor, with nothing misplaced. And the “oohs” alone are definitely worth the value of admission. Gospel blues at its finest.
If not Susan then we like… The Misplaced Canine.
Verlaine (Tv) and Smokey Hormel (Johnny Money, Tom Waits and um… everybody).
If not Malkmus… then you must return to the unique model.
The Quiet Beatle makes it sound like he wrote this music himself. The layered slide guitars are an excellent contact, and there’s only a trace of harmonica, as if in tribute to the creator.
If not George, then… we like Richie Havens.
We now have to be sincere; we don’t at all times love the candy, plaintive Dylan covers of Joan Baez. However her method suits tunes like “Farewell Angelina,” that sound as in the event that they have been written by the hills of Appalachia themselves.
If not Joan, then… we like Jeff Buckley’s soulful model regardless of the horrible sound high quality of the recording.
“Easy Twist of Destiny” is Dylan’s finest music about unrealized love. Listening to it on his legendary divorce file Blood on the Tracksmusic waxing as cloudy as a Hollywood flashback whereas his uniquely phrased guitar licks pirouette atop Melvin Seals’ shimmering organ and John Kahn’s dreamy bass enjoying.
If not Jerry, then… we like Jeff Tweedy’s model from I’m Not There.
For her cowl of this Blonde on Blonde spotlight, Cat Energy’s Chan Marshall makes use of the identical soul band that backed her on her masterful album The Best. These genuine Memphis horns add an entire new layer to “Memphis Blues Once more,” the tune crooned so coolly by Marshall which you can image her laying down her vocal from behind a barricade of Dylan-esque Ray-Ban Wayfarers.
If not Chan, then… we like Catbird Seat.
Even with the bass guitar and backing vocals, you’d swear it’s simply Wendy alone on the balcony of her condominium at three a.m., the evening’s final cigarette in entrance of her, reminiscences churning in her mind. It’s pensive, tender and heartfelt. And he or she sings the hell out of it, too.
If not Wendy… then we like Neko Case’s twangy pedal metal, strolling basslines and trademark vocals—half cocksure and half plaintive. Plenty of enjoyable.
Reed’s 10-minute speaking roadhouse blues offers new life to this seldom-covered monitor.
If not Lou, then… we’ve got to choose a brand new music as a result of we’ve by no means heard anybody else deal with it.
Among the best songs off of Osborne’s Grammy-nominated album Relish was her attractive rendition of this Dylan reduce from Oh Mercy.
If not Joan, then… we like Mark Lanegan.
With guitars flying across the melody, the Watson boys’ bluegrass model is totally satisfying.
If not the Watsons, then… we like Billy Bragg.
Simply after the departure of Gram Parsons, Chris Hillman launched 1971’s The Flying Burrito Brothers, which included this country-rock cowl.
If not the Burrito Bros. then we like… David Grey.
There’s not a false be aware in one of many most interesting of Van Morrison’s many legendary performances with Them. As an added bonus, Beck constructed one among his finest songs round a pattern the organ half.
If not Van, then… we like Echo & Bunnymen’s model, notable if just for its ballsiness; not many New Wave bands had any curiosity in protecting their dad and mom’ songs, particularly these of Dylan. However the band’s underwater-shimmery sound and Ian McCulloch’s out-on-a-limb vocals are an excellent match for “Child Blue.”
Storage rocker Mitch Ryder’s cowl of Dylan’s definitive anthem doesn’t enhance on the unique (how may it?), but it surely annexes a Godfather of Soul funk groove that absolutely reinvents the music. “How does it really feel?” is reworked from a righteous sneer right into a name to rise up off your ass and dance.
If not Mitch, then… we like The Rolling Stones, partially, as a result of it turns into a theme music.
With nothing however acoustic guitar for accompaniment, Simone’s model sounds extra like one thing handed down by means of the ages than a Dylan cowl.
If not Nina, then… we additionally just like the Neville Brothers.
Sam Beam’s Iron & Wine collaborated with Calexico for the 2005 EP Within the Reigns. The 2 bands reunited to file “Darkish Eyes” for the I’m Not There soundtrack, and the result’s a darkish, haunting ballad.
If not Sam, then… we like Patti Smith.
Even with the best soul voice this facet of Otis Redding, why Cooke would take this traditional, plaintive anthem and switch it right into a bop is puzzling at first hear. However by the point he reaches the refrain, you’re not questioning; as an alternative you’re tapping your toes and marveling at his genius. Cooke’s is healthier than Stevie Marvel’s soulful take, and that’s
saying one thing.
If not Sam… then we love Peter Paul & Mary’s extra well-known model. So sq. they’re hip, PP&M are a Wes Anderson soundtrack away from being the following large factor in 2009. Among the most stunning harmonies of the 20th century are theirs—assuredly dripping with sincerity and urgency.
Colvin closes her Cowl Lady album with a reside model of this Dylan nugget, and its a beautiful outro.
If not Shawn, then… we like Elvis Costello’s reduce off the reissue of 1995’s Kojak Selection.
The “Godmother of Punk” hangs with the Dylan unique, snarl for snarl.
If not Patti, then… we like each the The Black Keys and The Faces.
With an authoritative wail, Eddie Vedder leads a 2006 crowd in a well timed rendition of Dylan’s response to the “military-industrial advanced.”
If not Pearl Jam, then… we like Lucinda Williams’ twangier method.
Dylan wrote this music particularly for Nico, and it’s a lovely pairing. A string part compliments the Warhol collaborator’s uncommon voice.
If not Nico, then… we like Marianne Faithfull.
Johnny Money’s model is so definitive that he’s extra recognized it with it than Dylan himself, however Money will get his due additional up the record. And Nick Cave is extra plausible as a wished man—a criminally deranged one at that—on this relentless model.
If not Nick, then… we’re fairly joyful to take heed to Johnny Money.
The Scorchers strip out the groove and switch the music right into a straight rocker, with one among Jason Ringenberg’s finest surly vocals. You’ll by no means so utterly imagine you’re in a rocking roadhouse deep someplace within the Texas countryside.
If not Jason then we like… the Flaming Groovies.
Possibly it’s not truthful to incorporate Dylan’s longtime collaborators on songs they know so properly, however The Band places its expertise to good use on “After I Paint My Masterpiece,” full with some candy, candy accordion.
If not The Band, then… The Grateful Useless will get the nod over Elliott Smith on sound high quality alone.
Chapman’s voice is sort of as distinctive as Dylan’s and carries an analogous heft for a music that wants it.
If not Tracy, then… Simon & Garfunkel are not any slouches both.
A loopy punk-blues-industrial model with Harvey alternately whispering and screaming the vocals. A primal, sensible cry.
If not Polly Jean, then… Johnny Winter’s traditional electric-blues model of the music. It reminds you—forcefully—of the underlying roots of the chord construction.
This music ought to actually be heard within the context of the entire Secret South album for full impact. Like each Sixteen Horsepower album, it’s haunted and haunting, with Appalachian instrumentation and apocalyptic visions of guilt, regret and confusion emanating from David Eugene Edwards’ hypnotic and manic tent-meeting supply. The Dylan music is a hard-won second of transcendence and religion, practically triumphant in its assurance.
If not 16HP then… we heard that The Waterboys do an excellent cowl, however we couldn’t discover it.
Dylan and The Band first launched this sad-eyed ballad on The Basement Tapesscrub-covered canyon—does simply this, with the assistance of Calexico’s geographically good Southwest horns.
If not Jim then… we like Bonnie “Prince” Billy.
An unapologetically worshipful rendition of one of the crucial epic Dylan story songs, and the Ladies’ utter sincerity actually sells it. If not Amy and Emily… Dickie Betts turns in a countrified tackle “Tangled” and, no shock, provides a lovely, prolonged guitar solo to the center of it. It’s a model to drink chilly beer to on the again porch because the solar goes down.
In 1985, throughout the Reside Help live performance, Patti LaBelle went completely large on this music, doing vocal gymnastics on nearly each line. Bombastic? Actually. Nonetheless superior? Completely.
If not Patti, then… we like The Pretenders.
The blues have come a great distance from Lightnin’ Hopkins to Beck’s fuzzed-out interpretation of “Leopard-Pores and skin Tablet-Field Hat.” The chord progressions and harmonica are nonetheless there, but it surely’s been damaged down and reassembled, and the outcomes are chic. Plus it’s for an excellent trigger as a part of the spectacular Battle Baby presents Heroes album.
If not Beck, then… we’ll accept John Mellencamp.
On The White Stripes’ debut album, the music of a person departing his unrequited love is rubbed completely uncooked.
If not Jack & Meg, then… we like Roger McGuinn’s latest model with Calexico.
After the British folks band heard a preview of Dylan’s then-unreleased Basement Tapes, bassist Ashley Hutchings stated, “this unusual, form of mish-mash of kinds and drawled lyrics got here out of the audio system. It sounded form of subterranean; there was this unusual cloak of weirdness protecting them. We beloved all of it. We’d have coated all of the songs if we may.” That adoration comes by means of on Fairport’s cowl of “Percy’s Tune” from Unhalfbricking, one among solely two albums to function each Sandy Denny and Richard Thompson.
If not Fairport Conference, then… we like Arlo Guthrie.
The queen of Americana lives at the exact opposite finish of the vocal spectrum from Dylan, and with producer Daniel Lanois on the helm, her angelic singing floats above atmospheric clouds of music.
If not Emmylou, then… we like Derek Webb’s honest method.
The fiddles soar. The drums march. And the depth and energy of Miller’s voice ship each ardour and gravitas at a time when the music’s message mattered as a lot as ever. It’s an epic second on Miller’s finest album Common United Home of Prayer.
If not Buddy, then… we like Manfred Mann.
Splendidly phrased and tenderly sung, Havens provides a stage of empathy lacking from the unique.
If not Richie, then we love each Nina Simone’s understanding model and Jeff Buckley’s refined one.
Roger McGuinn and the remainder of The Byrds just about made it their job to cowl each new Dylan music they heard. This California-country shuffle—the opening monitor on The Byrds’ Sweetheart of the Rodeosteel provides an entire new layer to the music, as do The Byrds’ harmonies, with Mcguinn, Parsons and Chris Hillman creating an un forgettable vocal mix. It’s each bit as stunning as their cowl of “Mr. Tambourine Man.”
If not The Byrds, then… we like Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova’s model on the I’m Not There soundtrack.
Antony Hegerty pours his otherworldly soul into this model till it’s utterly spent. When he sings, “I really feel like I’m knocking on heaven’s door,” he appears like he’s really knocking on heaven’s door—although it’s unclear whether or not he’s an angel of darkness or mild.
If not Antony, then… we additionally bow on the ft of Weapons N’ Roses.
Although Dylan was coming from the countercultural folks motion and Money was a part of the extra conservative country-music world, they have been large admirers of one another’s work, and really ended up doing a unfastened, off-the-cuff (in all probability drunk and stoned) session collectively in 1969 that was by no means formally launched. 5 years earlier than that, although, Money’s cowl of the Dylan traditional “It Ain’t Me Babe” reworked the music utterly. Whereas a grasp songwriter, Dylan’s voice and trickster persona by no means lent themselves properly to sincerity—listeners have been at all times left questioning precisely the place Dylan stood, and whether or not he actually meant what he was singing. Money, however, is sincerity personified, and along with his booming, certain voice (and June Carter’s harmonies making issues much more poignant), he imbues the bittersweet music with extra energy and difficult honesty than any singer earlier than or since.
If not Johnny & June, then… we additionally adore Nancy Sinatra’s tackle the music.
Dylan’s folky, foreboding unique model—from his stripped-down John Wesley Harding album—is an fascinating character research of two males dwelling exterior the legislation, on the perimeter of society. However from the opening notes of Hendrix’s otherworldly cowl, the entire tune comes alive, seedy however enlightened protagonists the Joker and the Thief jolted to life like hobo Frankensteins by Hendrix’s supercharged guitar enjoying and determined vocal supply.
If not Jimi, then… we like XTC’s gutsy transforming.