Aug 132010

Song of the Day posts one cool cover every morning. Catch up on past installments here.

In 1998 CNN held a worldwide poll for Entertainer of the Century. Charles Aznavour went up against Bob Dylan. Charles Aznavour won. That tells you something about this Frenchman’s popularity. These days his albums are rarely released outside France, but famous friends like Elton John still periodically drop by to sing with him.

I don’t know whether Dylan was aware of that poll or whether his cover of Aznavour three months later was purely coincidental. He performed “The Times We’ve Known” once that year, at Madison Square Garden. “I usually play these things all to myself, but I feel like I’m all by myself now,” he said by way of introduction. A swooping steel guitar backs some of the most tender singing you’ll ever hear from the old Bobcat. He reprised the tune eleven years later in Paris, again summoning vocals far beyond what he usually delivers. We’ve got recordings of both performances below. Which one do you prefer?

Bob Dylan – The Times We’ve Known (Charles Aznavour cover) (Live in
New York 11/1/98)

Bob Dylan – The Times We’ve Known (Charles Aznavour cover) (Live in Paris 4/8/09)

Check out more Bob Dylan at his website. He’s currently on tour out West.

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  6 Responses to “Song of the Day: Bob Dylan, “The Times We’ve Known” (Charles Aznavour cover)”

Comments (6)
  1. Guess I have to go with the older version. Maybe only because I’ve heard it for so many years now..interesting band arrangement on the newer version though..

  2. Its always a tricky thing to pick a favorite with Bob because many times the atmosphere he creates conveys a different mood in different renditions.
    But that being said I think I’d have to say the second one.
    Now I have to try to find it on a boot.
    Thanks for posting.

  3. The ’98 version…he shows mastery over the song. The band (with Larry Cambell and Bucky Baxter) plays the song like they’ve been playing it for years. For a one-off, it was pretty amazing. The latter version is scattershot and sounds like a one-off. Hands down, the MSG version wins over in spades. Bob’s vocals are more confident and engaged, and the band picks up on it and delivers the song full force.

  4. Not sure I have a preference, both performances bring a lump to my throat, just amazing. The ’98 version is the main reason why I have a pile of Charles Aznavour CDs in my collection though. Bob always seems to perform other peoples song with the utmost respect.

  5. The ’98 version is my pick……Good chance he knew of the poll, He’s studying the dust.;)
    He’s also miles ahead and connected in ways nobody knows.

  6. don’t worry, Some Day Baby, i know oh too well

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