Dylan Covers A-Z presents covers of every single Bob Dylan song. View the full series here.
Bob Dylan turns 70 tomorrow. We pondered long and hard how to celebrate. This seemed to us deserving of more than the usual They Say It’s Your Birthday collection, and we knew we could do better than another Best Dylan Covers list. We wanted to do something truly special.
So we’re celebrating Dylan’s birthday this week by doing something no one’s ever done before: compiling covers of every single Bob Dylan song. If he released it on a regular studio album, we’ve got it, for a grand total of 279 songs.* Our entire staff has dug deep to find the hidden gems alongside the classics. We’ve got your “Ballad of a Thin Man” and “Tangled Up in Blue,” sure, but we’ve also got your “Cat’s in the Well” and “Po’ Boy.” Heck – we’ve even got the Jesus stuff!
We can’t think of any other comparable artist we would do this for, because for no other artists have covers played such a large role in their story. While Dylan’s songs boosted the place of the songwriter in popular music, they simultaneously helped usher the cover into the modern age. For this, we must thank Dylan’s voice. The unorthodox, potentially off-putting singing instantly opened the door for other artists to bring these songs into the spotlight themselves. Starting with Peter, Paul, and Mary’s “Blowin’ in the Wind,” the flood of Dylan covers never abated. Then and now, a Dylan cover offers greater potential impact than, say, a Beatles cover, and so people covered everything.
Over the next five days we’ll be bringing you this set, which we humbly suggest may be the definitive Dylan cover collection. We can all but guarantee even the biggest Dylan fan has never heard covers of some of these songs before. The Dylan songbook is both deep and wide – deep because at the right moment even a played-to-death track like “Watchtower” can still stun, and wide because even the less-stellar material can deliver some fun interpretations.
We begin with letters A through E. Jason and the Scorchers’ cowpunk “Absolutely Sweet Marie” through R.L. Burnside’s bluesy “Everything Is Broken.” Click page two below to get started, then check back tomorrow for the next round. Happy birthday, Bob.
- Ray Padgett, Editor-in-Chief
* Well, almost. There were three songs for which we couldn’t find a thing. Can you spot them? Hint: Two come from the same album.
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