Happy 80th birthday, Bob Dylan! Your autobiography
Chronicles volume one once was the spark that started this website, and it’s no wonder that a lot of musicians have covered your songs in sessions for The Influences since. So, to celebrate your birthday, I’ve decided to make an overview of (almost) all the Bob Dylan covers from 13 years of The Influences sessions. Dylan’s influence
In between a lot of the videos you’ll find quotes by the musicians about their love for either the song they covered or about the influence of Bob Dylan on their life and art. Some of the quotes are taken from interviews we did in the past, some are sent in specifically for this article.
‘I grew up with Bob Dylan, my parents had those records in their collection. That song is kinda like when the portal opened. It feels channeled. I don’t know if it was the first Dylan song I heard, but I do know I always responded to his early records. This like really folky, almost solo stuff. It feels so inspired. Obviously there’s a lot of words, you just are so transfixed by hearing image after image. I think it’s a song that feels more and more relevant and real nowadays, even though he wrote it so long ago.’
‘Bob Dylan really inspired our first songwriting attempts. We fell in love with his songs instantly and proudly walked around the schoolyard looking like Dylan twins. Until this day ‘I Shall Be Released’ is one of our favorites and put on our set list frequently.’
‘To me, Subterranean Homesick Blues, is truly art and original. It was a huge influence on my own work. This odd poetry put to blues music. Really creative and doesn’t get any cooler than that if you ask me!’
Taylor Hollingsworth (Dead Fingers)
‘In my father’s room behind the CDs were the tapes, and behind the tapes there were the records where music formed the landscape, a glorious mountain range. In its valleys I heard Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf. I stole a copy of
Freewheelin’, heard the Girl from the North Country and wanted to freeze. I heard ‘hard rains gonna fall’ and fell hard.’ Davie Lawson
You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go is one of our standards; it was the first song we sang together and it stays with us. It doesn’t get old. Or it was always old?’ My bubba
‘Bob Dylan was one of the artists that drew me into the world of songwriting. I so often get inspired by his music, and I keep rediscovering new things every time I listen to his wonderful discography.’
‘There are many singers and songwriters I have admired over the years but Dylan is his own category. He’s the writer that grows with you and performer that changes shape depending on which way the light catches him. It feels as though I am constantly discovering more Dylan and at this point in my own writing career, it’s obvious to me that no writer has influenced me more.’
‘You Ain’t Going Nowhere is one of those classic Dylan songs that means nothing and everything all at once. It’s like a Rorschach Test, where everyone sees something different in it. I think everyone’s been influenced by Dylan to some degree because he changed the rules of the game forever. He redefined the role popular music could play in modern society, and he set the standard for artistic evolution. Most importantly, I think, he showed that songwriting could be about inventing yourself as much as finding yourself.’
‘Happy 80th birthday for Bob Dylan! My family and I are on holiday right now; no direction home, no sense of time.’
‘After first hearing Bob Dylan at the age of 13 or 14, his music, in all its guises and through all its phases has resonated with me. The ability he has to tell a story, provoke one’s thinking about often complex and controversial issues and convey it all with powerful themes and lyrics, has proven very influential in my own writing.’
‘Seven Curses is really interesting to me, because it’s a Dylan song that makes you wonder what came from Dylan and what was tradition. It isn’t a folk traditional, because he wrote it himself, but it contains many elements of traditional songs, and it’s an adaptation of sorts. So, it’s right in the middle of an original Dylan song like the many he wrote later, and the repertoire he sang before he started writing. I find that very exciting in a creative way. Seven Curses is composed like a thriller, almost; the story has a gruesome outcome, and you don’t know what’s going to happen. But in the most gruesome moment, the camera zooms out.
“The gallows shadows shook the evening. In the night a hound dog bayed. In the night the grounds were groanin’. In the night the price was paid.” I think that’s just beautiful. The climax happens just out of view, but we all know, this isn’t right. It’s a thriller in the format of a song. Because it feels like a traditional, it immediately has this old and deep quality to it. That’s what I like and I feel it when I sing it myself.’’
Lucky Fonz III
‘In my youth, we used to breathe Bob Dylan’s music at our home. My parents (dad played guitar, mom sang) sang a lot of Dylan and Only A Hobo likely is the song I’ve heard more than any other.’
‘Back when I used to sing this song often, I suffered from a suffered a chronically broken heart. Whenever it was fixed for a bit, it would break all over again. Singing this song had a cathartic effect. Specifically the last verse would straighten my back and make me pull my shoulders back and put my chin up. Tonight I’d really sleep in my own bed, by myself. Don’t think twice, it’s all right.
I ain’t sayin’ you treated me unkind
You could have done better but I don’t mind
You just kinda wasted my precious time
But don’t think twice, it’s all right’
There is no better way to discover music than watching great musicians cover the songs they love. The Influences has been producing these videos ever since 2008. Read more.