What could be worse than Captain Kirk singing Dylan?
September 10, 2007 5:30 PM   Subscribe

What are the worst covers of Bob Dylan's songs of all time?

I mean the equivalent of George Burns singing "With a Little Help from My Friends" or Ed McMahon's rendition of "Thank Heavens for Little Girls"; just hideously idiotic pairings of the songs with inappropriate artists, or abominably misconceived versions of Dylan's music. Obviously, Bill Shatner's "Mr. Tambourine Man" would start this list. What else?
posted by Astro Zombie to Media & Arts (33 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I will steal your suggestions for a blog post I am writing.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:31 PM on September 10, 2007


Avril Lavigne singing Knocking on Heaven's Door. You can just tell from the way she sings it that she has no the hell it's all about, the historic context in which Dylan wrote it, or probably even who the hell Bob Dylan is.
posted by jk252b at 5:39 PM on September 10, 2007


For research on this topic, I would direct your attention to: DylanCovers. I can't imagine Chuck Barris's version of "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" can be very good.
posted by lovecrafty at 5:43 PM on September 10, 2007


There are some fine candidates on the instrumentals pages at DylanCovers.com. Or you could search for your favorite schlockmeister at the Dylan Covers Database.
posted by mediareport at 5:48 PM on September 10, 2007


Guns & Roses' cover of Knocking on Heaven's Door.
posted by wsg at 6:09 PM on September 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


This. (caution: self link)
posted by Meatbomb at 6:22 PM on September 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Check out this. Knocking on Heaven's door in Portuguese is Bate na porta do céu, or Batendo na porta do céu and there are lots of versions, tracing back to Zé Ramalho.

Also, Caetano Veloso does a version of Jokerman that I've always thought was odd, although I have friends who defend it.
posted by umbú at 6:27 PM on September 10, 2007


Mr. French does Dylan.
posted by Oriole Adams at 6:52 PM on September 10, 2007


Hands down, William Shatner covering Mr. Tambourine Man. Worst cover of any song ever by anyone.
posted by alms at 7:11 PM on September 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


I would also vote for the Shatner song, assuming you accept Mr. Tambourine Man as a Dylan song (since it was originally by the Byrds).
posted by gingerbeer at 7:15 PM on September 10, 2007


I thought Madeleine Peyroux's cover of "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go" was pretty horrible. That may just be my taste, though.
posted by jeffxl at 7:33 PM on September 10, 2007


Knocking on Heaven's Door is a much-abused song. I can remember a particularly bad Grateful Dead cover off a bootleg. The Wikipedia article has a list of other perpetrators.
posted by rottytooth at 7:39 PM on September 10, 2007


The Rage Against the Machine version of 'Maggie's Farm' and the Ministry version of 'Lay Lady Lay' both pretty much sound how you'd expect them to.
posted by box at 7:56 PM on September 10, 2007


And the Jamie Saft Trio's album of Dylan covers, Trouble, is mostly instrumental, but it features Mike Patton (of Mr. Bungle, Faith No More, etc.) singing 'Ballad of a Thin Man' and Antony (of Antony and the Johnsons) singing 'Living the Blues.' I don't have very strong feelings about either of those vocalists, but I could see how somebody might.
posted by box at 8:02 PM on September 10, 2007


And there's Is It Rolling Bob, the album of reggae Dylan covers (there's an album of dub versions, too), and the soundtrack to Masked and Anonymous. All of these albums feature some Dylan covers that might produce strong reactions.
posted by box at 8:05 PM on September 10, 2007


Michael Bolton - Like a Rolling Stone

The random noise in the background of Lee Renaldo's version of "Mama You've Been on My Mind" is sure to annoy a lot of folks. It annoys me at least, and I'm a huge fan of Sonic Youth.

Of course, the real answer is anything Dylan did once he took the stage of the Newport Folk Festival in 1965.
posted by hydrophonic at 8:18 PM on September 10, 2007


Well, it's intentionally bad, but it probably counts. DEVO (as their Christian Rock alter-egos) did a live cover of "Gotta Serve Somebody", featuring vocals by Booji Boy (Mark Mothersbaugh in a baby mask, and in a falsetto). I love it, but if you're a Dylan purist, you'll hate it. You can find it on the rarities collection "Recombo DNA".
posted by SansPoint at 8:27 PM on September 10, 2007


Oh, their christian rock alte-egos are "DOVE - The Band of Love"
posted by SansPoint at 8:28 PM on September 10, 2007


assuming you accept Mr. Tambourine Man as a Dylan song (since it was originally by the Byrds).

Wait, is that a joke?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:31 PM on September 10, 2007


Have you seen Dylan live recently? He's changed the melodies to all his old songs. Dylan is DOING the worst covers himself. It's meta-CRAZY!
posted by history is a weapon at 9:05 PM on September 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Any cover of Knockin' on Heaven's Door by anyone anywhere ever.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:20 PM on September 10, 2007


assuming you accept Mr. Tambourine Man as a Dylan song (since it was originally by the Byrds).

gingerbeer, you might want to refresh yourself on the history of folk-rock before you go making pronouncements in Dylan threads. The Byrds covered *four* Dylan songs on their first album, including "Mr. Tambourine Man."
posted by mediareport at 9:20 PM on September 10, 2007


Me first and the gimme gimmes - Blowin' in the wind
posted by tellurian at 10:07 PM on September 10, 2007


Nice choreography from the Jacob Sisters - Blowin' in the wind
posted by tellurian at 10:17 PM on September 10, 2007


G 'n R's version of Knockin' on Heaven's Door unequivocally kicks ass.

My vote goes to John C. Mellencamp's All Along the Watchtower.
posted by Roach at 12:19 AM on September 11, 2007




Buy the 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration. You'll be spoilt for choice.
posted by Optamystic at 4:47 AM on September 11, 2007


I second Optamystic here. Goddamn.
posted by fidelity at 6:03 AM on September 11, 2007


gingerbeer is probably alluding to the fact that the Byrds' recording of Tambourine Man came out before Dylan's own did. Not that I buy that as meaning that their version is "the original," since Dylan performed the song in public the year before. Recordings of a couple of those performances were released later.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:23 AM on September 11, 2007


Well Brian Ferry recently released Dylanesque. It's pretty hit and miss in my opinion, Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues in good. But some of the other songs not so much. YouTube page with most of the elevin songs.
posted by Sailormom at 7:52 AM on September 11, 2007


Bryan Ferry's new album Dylanesque is chock full of moderately sucky covers. Odd, because I like Ferry and Dylan and yet putting the two together is less then complimentary. The Times They Are A Changin' needs some anger and fear in the delivery, turning it into a happy future-positive Paul Simon/Dire Straits remix does not serve it well.
I would also like to second GnR's version Knockin' on Heaven's Door as as repellant tripe. A textbook example of reach exceeding grasp.
posted by doctor_negative at 8:06 AM on September 11, 2007


Madeleine Peyroux's cover of You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go unequivocally kicks ass. It's like if Billie Holiday sang it in the 40s.
posted by wsg at 9:28 AM on September 11, 2007


Australian band The Whitlams did a pretty atrocious cover of Tangled Up In Blue.
posted by robotot at 8:59 PM on September 13, 2007


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