“Chaos is a friend of mine.”
Perhaps a better headline would be, “My Favorite Dylan Covers as of Right Now Because They are the First Ones That Came to Me.” I tend to change my mind on this kind of thing often. Keep in mind that this is my own personal list of Dylan covers that I enjoy, not “The Definitive List of The Greatest Bob Dylan Covers in The History of The Known Universe.” So don’t get all bent out of shape if something you love didn’t end up in this blog.
I’ve been a fan of Mr. Zimmerman’s since as long as I can remember. The guy pretty much defined music for me via my parents turntable and speakers when I was a small child, but I know there are quite a few of my friends out there who can’t stand his voice. It’s always the same line too, “Man, I love Dylan’s lyrics but…”
I think you guys are crazy of course, but hey, to each his own.
So, in honor of all you closeted Dylan fans who would rather hear someone else sing the greatest songs ever written, I’ve put together, in no particular order, some covers that you might enjoy.
Mike Ness: Don’t Think Twice
Mike Ness and Social Distortion always remind me of my time in the Army. One of their albums, usually Live at The Roxy was constantly playing in the barracks. Here’s Orange County punk rocker Mike Ness and his band performing Don’t Think Twice live, complete with cowboy hats and boots.
Sam Cooke: Blowin’ in the Wind
Sam brings some soul to the classic. Simply amazing.
The White Stripes: One More Cup of Coffee
I love this decidedly very White Stripe-ish cover. Jack White makes it sound like he owns this song…
Nick Drake: Tomorrow is a Long Time
A beautiful rendition of a beautiful song.
Cat Power: Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again
A great cover of my favorite Dylan song. Now the rainman gave me two cures and said “jump right in.” The one was Texas medicine the other was just railroad gin. And like a fool I mixed them and it strangled up my mind and now people just get uglier and I have no sense of time.
Rage Against The Machine: Maggie’s Farm
Well, he puts his cigar out in your face just for kicks. His bedroom window is made out of bricks. The National Guard stands around his door… I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s pa no more. How could Zack and Tom not cover this song?
Tatiana Moroz: Make You Feel My Love
Singer/songwriter Tatiana Moroz has been a good friend of mine for a couple of years now, but that’s not why she made my list. The New Jersey native has one of the most beautiful voices in music today. How could you not love this version of Make You Feel My Love?
Beck: Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat
Beck nails this one. And the lyrics actually make more sense then most of Beck’s own songs!
Black Keys: Wicked Messenger
Black Keys. Bob Dylan. Nothing more needs to be said.
Jason and The Scorchers: Absolutely Sweet Marie
Nashville group Jason and The Schorchers are known for combining country, punk and hard rock. This live version of Sweet Marie has a little bit of all three.
Iron and Wine with Calexico: Dark Eyes
An eery, dark cover of Dylan’s 1985 song Dark Eyes off the Empire Burlesque album.
Nina Simone: Just Like Just a Woman
Nina Simone was one of a kind. Singer, pianist, songwriter, jazz musician and civil rights activist. And this is a one of a kind cover of Just Like a Woman.
George Harrison: If Not For You
This is one of those songs that, even though I know it was written and later recorded by Dylan, I always think of as a George Harrison song.
Wilco and Fleet Foxes: I Shall Be Released
I think that Jeff Tweedy is one of the best things to happen to music in the last couple decades. This is a great live performance, with Fleet Foxes, of I Shall Be Released.
Them and Van Morrison: It’s All Over Now Baby Blue
Baby Blue has been covered often, but this unique version is my favorite. Van’s vocals are amazing here…
Pete Seeger: Forever Young
When Dylan unexpectedly went electric at the 1964 Newport Folk Festival, Pete Seeger allegedly attempted to take an axe to the soundboard wires to put a stop to the performance. It’s amusing, fun and somewhat ironic to hear old Pete cover Forever Young.
Johnny Cash and June Carter: It Ain’t Me Babe
Not sure how anyone could argue with this song making the cut. The Man in Black and June; two of the most amazing voices in country music.
Jimi Hendrix: All Along The Watchtower
“I like Jimi Hendrix’s recording of this and ever since he died I’ve been doing it that way. Strange though, how when I sing it I always feel it’s a tribute to him in some kind of way.” ~Bob Dylan
?: Shelter From The Storm
I have no idea who this Japanese gentleman is, but I think this might be my favorite cover. Ever. By anyone.
Thanks for reading. Please share your favorite Dylan covers in the comment section below! And a special thanks to Meridith Allison and Joe Trent for a few of these suggestions that I had forgotten about.
About the Author: Nick Allison is just a banged-up combat infantry veteran of the War in Iraq. He lives in Austin, TX with his wife, their children and two big, dumb, ugly mongrel dogs.
Please feel free to send your love letters and hate mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Twitter: @ChaosSection.com or @NickAllison80