The most influential artist in popular culture!
Bob Dylan has been covered and copied by almost everyone who’s attempted to write a song. Some might even say that he invented modern songwriting.
His influence is so great, it’s difficult to find an artist post ’60 who has not been heavily influenced by Bob Dylan, directly or indirectly.
His classics include a huge selection of songs, making it hard to pick a handful to sum him up but let’s give it a go!
Blowin’ In The Wind, Mr. Tambourine Man, Hurricane, Knocking On Heavens Door, All Along The Watchtower, Subterranean Homesick Blues, Like A Rolling Stone, Tangled Up In Blue, One More Cup Of Coffee, Just Like A Woman, and Make You Feel My Love, pretty impressive!
Blowin’ In The Wind
Blowin’ In The Wind is a song from the 1963 album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. This wasn’t Dylan’s first album and he still mainly played covers at this point but Blowin’ In The Wind was his own song, quickly covered by his contemporary peers!
In fact, Peter Paul & Mary actually charted with the song way before Dylan did with his own version.
Blowin’ In The Wind is often used as an example of a protest song, posing philosophical questions about peace, war, and freedom. American teens in the 60s couldn’t get enough of it and Dylan became an icon.
Dylan has recorded a number of albums following this, now legendary early release. Even though he is now past half a century as an active recording artist, for many he still remains the one-man band that sang Blowin’ In The Wind, The Times They Are A-Changing, and Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.
In 1999, Blowin’ In The Wind was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame. In 2004, it was listed as #14 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
One More Cup Of Coffee & Desire
One More Cup Of Coffee (Valley Below) is a song by Bob Dylan from his album Desire. Since its release, the song has been covered by many artists including The White Stripes, Calexico, Roger McGuinn, and Robert Plant.
The 1976 album it appeared on was different from previous releases. For the first time, he now collaborated with several other artists.
Dylan had approached the concept of making an album from several different angles and this seventeenth studio album was his first attempt at a large collaborative effort.
Collaborative for Dylan meant chaos for the rest of the band. For example, the violin player, Scarlet Rivera, was spotted walking down the street with her violin case as Dylan passed in his limo. They’d never met before but Scarlet ended up playing on most songs on the album.
Overseen by producer Don Devito, many famed musicians were involved in the making of Desire. Eric Clapton was present at one point but soon left the studio advising Dylan to get a smaller band. There were five guitar players present on the day he was there!
Emmylou Harris sang the improvised harmony on the original recording of One More Cup Of Coffee, largely contributing to her career taking off. At the time, she had just released her second album Pieces Of The Sky (the first one didn’t have any impact).
It is possible that Dylan surrounded himself with so many musicians because his marriage was on the rocks during this time. The song Sara is his only self biographical love song, which he recorded by singing directly to her in the studio. Two years later, they divorced.
The most controversial track off Desire is without a doubt Hurricane, a true tale of how Rubin Hurricane Carter was wrongly jailed for a triple murder in 1966. Twenty-two years later, all charges against him were dropped. Since 1976, Dylan has never performed this song again.
Desire is, on par with his 1997 release, Time Out Of Mind, my favorite album.
Bob Dylan covers
Some people only know Dylan as a writer, having discovered him through songs covered by other artists.
The most famous one is All Along The Watchtower by Jimi Hendrix, in my opinion, the best recording ever made.
Other famous cover versions include Make You Feel My Love by Adele, Knocking On Heavens Door by Guns N Roses, Mr Tambourine Man by The Byrds, and of course, Blowin’ In The Wind by Peter Paul and Mary.
If you want to find out more about Bob Dylan’s incomparable career, there are numerous books written about him, perhaps the best guide is found at the website Bob Dylan Come Writers and critics.
Blowin’ In The Wind – Chords
Only using chords I, IV, and V, Blowin’ In The Wind keeps up the interest by adding bass lines and a mystery halftime bar.
This was Bob Dylan’s first hit, half a century later, he regularly plays this classic at gigs.
Go to Blowin’ In The Wind chords.
Blowin’ In The Wind – Lyrics
How many roads must a man walk down,
before you call him a man?
Yes and how many seas must a white dove sail,
before she sleeps in the sand?
Go to Blowin’ In The Wind lyrics.
One More Cup Of Coffee – Chords
One of my personal favorites, is One More Cup Of Coffee by Bob Dylan. This is a “four-chord song” having only Am, G, F, and E.
To make such simple chords sound interesting, Bob turns them around for the chorus and puts the rest down to performance and lyrics.
One More Cup Of Coffee (Valley Below) – Lyrics
Your breath is sweet, your eyes are like two jewels in the sky.
Your back is straight your hair is smooth on the pillow where you lie.
But I don’t sense affection, no gratitude or love.
Your loyalty is not to me but to the stars above.