Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.
Bob Dylan recorded “Simple Twist of Fate” for one of his most popular albums, 1975’s Blood On the Tracks. Overanalyzed by critics and Bob fans everywhere, Tracks was dismissed by Dylan for having been influenced by the drama of a failing marriage, but there’s no denying how much pain comes through on the album’s songs, particularly this one.
A story of how a romantic connection can appear and disappear at a moment’s notice, “Fate” has changed lyrically over the years throughout Dyan’s live performances (which accounts for the diverse changes below).
Jeff Tweedy – Simple Twist of Fate (Bob Dylan cover)
Tweedy recorded his cover for the I’m Not There soundtrack, which in just a few years has already achieved cover classic status to some cover aficionados. Adhering to some of Dylan’s alternate lyrics, Tweedy takes a folding chair to the main couplet, then tags in Rolling Thunder Revuist David Mansfield to pin the song to the mat.
Sean Costello – Simple Twist of Fate (Bob Dylan cover)
Costello’s story is tragically stereotypical: another great musician struck down at an early age by a drug overdose. Luckily for the world, he started his music career early, and by the time he recorded this soulful cover he had met Levon Helm through working with Helm’s daughter Amy. Both play on this track, a bluesy arrangement that’s one of the best versions ever recorded.
The Format – Simple Twist of Fate (Bob Dylan cover)
Probably more people know Nate Ruess’ current band Fun than his previous one, but the Format still has the ability to sink its pop hooks into you. Reinvented as a beach hammock song, the arrangement is painstakingly patient in bringing in the rest of the band. Despite being one of the longer versions here, it almost seems to end too soon.
Erdmöbel – Simple Twist of Fate (Bob Dylan cover)
Erdmöbel is a band out of Cologne, Germany best known for their tongue-in-cheek humor and an album of German covers of pop songs. Here, though, they play “Simple” straight, adding a slice of piano to an already great sandwich.
Matthew Bieri – Simple Twist of… Awww Screw It (Bob Dylan cover)
Bieri’s partial recording will appeal to anyone attempting to play music while trying to avoid everything else. Sometimes everything else wins.
Visit www.bobdylan.com for lyrics, alternate versions, and sheet music.