I didn’t have a theme for this week’s radio show, although I did throw in a few covers. This post is mostly about Bob Dylan, as I played several of his songs. Below is the playlist with clickable links to hear the songs on youtube. You can download the podcast, as well as other recent ones, at greer.party934.com .
- The Velvet Underground/I’m Set Free/The Velvet Underground
- Bryan Ferry/All Tomorrow’s Parties (Velvet Underground Cover)/Taxi
- David Bowie/I’m Waiting For The Man (Velvet Underground Cover)/Almost Famous Soundtrack
- The Beatles/Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band/With A Little Help From My Friends/Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
- Virgin Passages/While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Beatles Cover)/Mojo-Presents The White Album Recovered (August 2008)
- The Kinks/I’m Not Like Everybody Else/Greatest Hits
- Bob Dylan/Forever Young/Greatest Hits
- Aaron and Bryce Dessner/I Was Young When I Left Home (Bob Dylan Cover)/Dark Was The Night
- Carly Simon/Just Like a Woman (Bob Dylan Cover)/Chimes of Freedom – The Songs of Bob Dylan (Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International)
- Willie Nelson/He Was a Friend of Mine/Brokeback Mountain Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
- M. Ward/Story of an Artist (Daniel Johnston Cover)/The Late Great Daniel Johnston (Disc 1) (The Covers)
- Daniel Johnston/The Story of an Artist/The Late Great Daniel Jonhston: The Originals (Disc 2)
I played three of Dylan’s songs and one song that he has covered (“He Was A Friend Of Mine.”)
– Forever Young: Bob Dylan produced two versions of this song – one fast, one slow. He recorded both in 1973 for his 1974 album Planet Waves. Dylan is one of the most prolific lyricists of all time and it’s amazing how many times his songs have been covered. One of my favorite covers of this song is from Young@Heart, which is a group of senior citizens who sing contemporary songs. There was a documentary film about them in 2008. Those who are fans of the tv show “Parenthood” will recognize the fast version of the song used as the opening theme. Many others have covered the song, including Joan Baez, Peter Paul and Mary, Diana Ross, and The Band, The Band actually first started out as a backing band for Dylan but later became famous on their own. They recorded a version of Dylan’s song “I Shall Be Released” (one of my favorite Dylan covers outside of Jimi Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower.”)
Dylan originally wrote the song in 1966 as a lullaby for his son Jesse, but also recorded a faster version so that he wouldn’t sound too sentimental.
Image via musicstack
Dylan recently won the Nobel Prize for Literature, and with good reason. He is well-read and has always been greatly influenced by poets. He even took his name from the poet Dylan Thomas (his real name is Robert Zimmerman.) Some of my favorite lyrics to this song:
“May your hands always be busy, may your feet always be swift, may you have a strong foundation, when the winds of changes shift. May your heart always be joyful, and may your song always be sung, may you stay forever young…”
– I Was Young When I Left Home: The version of this song I played on my show was from brothers Aaron and Bryce Dessner, who make up the band The National. They recorded it for the 2009 charity album Dark Was The Night (which they also produced), a compilation of both original and cover songs from artists like David Byrne (of The Talking Heads), Justin Vernon (of Bon Iver), Colin Meloy (of The Decemberists), and Conor Oberst (of Bright Eyes.) The album is rooted in folk music and acknowledged in the title (it’s named after the Blind Willie Johnson song “Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground.”)
Dylan wrote the song during the end of 1961 and beginning of 1962 for his debut album Bob Dylan. It’s a reinterpretation of the folk standard “500 Miles” (also known as “Railroaders’ Lament.”)
An example of the original lyrics:
“If you miss the train I’m on, you will know that I am gone, you can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles…Lord I’m five hundred miles away from home…Not a shirt on my back, not a penny to my name, Lord I can’t go back home this a-way…”
And Dylan sings:
“I was young when I left home, and I been out a’ramblin round, and I never wrote a letter to my home…Not a shirt on my back, not a penny on my name, well I can’t go home this a’way…if you miss the train I’m on, count the days I’m gone, and you’ll hear that whistle blow a hundred miles…”
– Just Like a Woman: This Carly Simon cover comes from a charity compilation album of all Bob Dylan songs. It also featured artists like Adele, Pete Seeger, Johnny Cash, Patti Smith, and My Morning Jacket.
“Just Like a Woman” is originally on the 1966 Dylan album Blonde on Blonde and was released as a single that year. It’s allegedly inspired by his affair with Andy Warhol model Edie Sedgwick. Rolling Stone Magazine ranked it as #232 on their list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick. Image via agnautacouture.
The song has been featured throughout pop culture, most notably in the Woody Allen movie “Annie Hall.” Allen’s character goes on a date with a rock journalist who annoys him by reciting the lyrics to the song when discussing a Dylan concert she attended. Stephen King also mentions it in his book “Carrie”, when Carrie writes some of the lyrics to the song in her notebook. “Nobody has to guess/That baby can’t be blessed/’Till she finally sees that she’s like all the rest…”
A bit on the album Blonde on Blonde: It’s the third of his trilogy of his masterpiece rock albums in 1965 and 1966 (the other two being Bringing It All Back Home and Highway 61 Revisited) and was one of the first double albums in rock music.
– He Was A Friend Of Mine: I played Willie Nelson’s version of this song from the Brokeback Mountain Soundtrack. The movie incorrectly lists Dylan as the songwriter, but his version, out of 1961, was also a cover. It’s a traditional folk song and the earliest known version, recorded in 1939, was called “Shorty George.”
The Byrds recorded a version for their 1965 album Turn! Turn! Turn!, but they changed the lyrics to reflect the lament of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. They also altered the melody. It became a staple of their live performances, most notably at 1967’s Monterey Pop Festival where David Crosby made the controversial remark that Kennedy was assassinated as part of a U.S. government conspiracy.
Here is some short information on a few of the non-Dylan songs on the playlist:
The Kinks/I’m Not Like Everybody Else/Greatest Hits: Ray Davies’ brother Dave performs the lead vocals, with Ray occasionally participating. This is unusual, as each brother generally sang his own songs. Ray originally wrote the song for The Animals, but they rejected using it, so The Kinks released it on their own.
Daniel Johnston/The Story of an Artist/The Late Great Daniel Johnston: The Originals (Disc 2): You can read my previous blog post about Johnston’s fight with schizophrenia here.
If you’re curious about any of the other songs I played on the show (listed on the playlist above), hit me up and we can discuss. 🙂
Until next time!