Though Bob Dylan moved away from his role as a ‘protest singer’ long ago — we saw Another Side by his fourth album — his name will forever be associated with social activism. The international human rights organization Amnesty International rose out of the same turbulent era as Dylan, forming in 1961, the year Dylan recorded his first album. Fitting, then, that in celebration of their 50th birthday, Amnesty would call on artists to contribute their Dylan covers to the massive four disc set Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International.
Last week, we finally heard Trent Reznor and Karen O.’s “Immigrant Song” cover from the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo soundtrack. Well, that 39-song set includes one other cover and it’s available to stream now. Reznor and Atticus Ross cover Bryan Ferry’s “Is Your Love Strong Enough” in the guise of How to Destroy Angels, their band with Reznor’s wife Mariqueen Maandig.
They Say It’s Your Birthday celebrates an artist’s special day with other people singing his or her songs. Let others do the work for a while. Happy birthday!
Bryan Ferry, it’s safe to say, loves covers. Between his solo career and his decades with Roxy Music, he’s covered everyone from The Beach Boys to Van Morrison, The Beatles to The Velvet Underground, Kris Kristofferson to Leadbelly to absurd amounts of Bob Dylan. It could even be argued that Talking Heads’ version of “Take Me To the River” is most directly a cover of Ferry’s take on the song. That’s another story for another time, though – now, it’s time to celebrate Ferry’s 66th with all the decade-spanning splendor the Internet has to offer. Whether Bill Murray’s legendary karaoke performance of Roxy Music’s “More Than This” from Lost in Translation qualifies as a cover or not, it certainly served as something of a guiding star by which this post could find its way.
Dylan Covers A-Z presents covers of every single Bob Dylan song. View the full series here.
We began our celebrations yesterday, but today, in fact, is the big day. On May 24th, 1941, Bob Dylan was born at St. Mary’s Hospital in Duluth, Minnesota. Twenty-one years later he released his first album and ever since…well, you know.
We continue our week-long series presenting covers of every single Dylan song with “Father of Night,” one of several Dylan songs that Manfred Mann rescued from obscurity. From there we hit songs by Jeff Buckley, The White Stripes, George Harrison, and, oh, about 54 more. Hours of music, and we’re not even halfway done!
“Song to the Siren” seems to be one of those songs where every cover is good. 2009 saw ex-Red Hot Chili Pepper guitarist John Frusciante build the Tim Buckley song to psychedelic grandeur. Then in June the Wailing Wall pulled it all back, using banjo and accordion to tell the Odysseus legend. Now Bryan Ferry comes along with his version. You might expect it to be layered and intricate (it is), but you probably wouldn’t expect David Gilmour and Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood to play guitar on it (they do).
Stereogum premiered the track yesterday. It also features Ferry’s Roxy Music cohorts Brian Eno, Andy Mackay, and Phil Mananera. Like much of Ferry/Roxy Music’s work, it’s densely produced without losing the emotional core. The track appears on Ferry’s Olympia, out October 26th. Check it out below.