Bob Dylan covered: my top 100 Dylan cover songs by Moondance (2022)

This chart reveals/uncovers the incredibly rich and diverse realm of Bob Dylan cover songs. Some estimates put the number of cover songs to be over 105,000! So, to make a chart of 100 Dylan cover songs is both hard & easy.
To fully acknowledge and represent this diversity and to cover Dylan's entire 60 year recording career, I set certain parameters:
* Limit any artist to only one cover song;
* Limit any Dylan tribute album to only one cover song ~ Note: the number/diversity of Dylan tribute albums discovered during the making of this chart has amazed me. Despite having over 40 tribute albums listed in this chart, I have only scratched the surface {elsewhere on the BEA site I am aware of a user who has a 'top 100 chart of 100% Dylan cover albums'; and during my research, I stumbled across a website that listed over 400 albums comprising between 50% - 100% Dylan cover songs};
* For Dylan albums with only a small number of original songs (eg Bob Dylan; Greatest Hits Vol II; Self Portrait; Masterpieces; Knocked Out Loaded etc), this chart includes at least one cover song to showcase those albums;
* For each of the 27 Dylan albums that contain all original songs, this chart includes between two - four cover songs;
* In other words, every Dylan album that includes, in part or in full, original songs is referenced in this chart (at last count, that added up to 40 Dylan albums);
* Some songs written/co-written by Dylan but never recorded by Dylan have been included in this chart (eg Clapton, Goffin, O'Keefe);
* Dylan side projects (eg Traveling Wilbury's, movie soundtracks) have also been included in this chart, to give this chart the most comprehensive feel that I could put together.
The order of the chart listing will be chronological - based on the release date of the corresponding contemporaneous studio album or the recording date for those songs that were released much later on compilation albums (GHVII, Masterpieces), the 1975 Basement Tapes or the various Bootleg Series albums.
The only exception to the chronological order is the #1 entry by Linda Mason. It has now been recognised that Linda's 1964 album was the first to be released that was 100% dedicated to covering the songs of Bob Dylan.
For the period 1961 - 1991, I am grateful to Michael Krogsgaard's 'Positively Bob Dylan', for providing the research that details the actual recording dates of Dylan's original songs, as well as dates/locations as to when Dylan first played his yet to be released songs in public.

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Farewell: On this 12 track Dylan cover album, Linda covers songs written up to & including Bob's 3rd studio album (The Times They Are A-Changin'). Interestingly, Linda's album also includes 3 songs that were not officially released at that time, including 'Farewell' (side 1, track 6). The few comments available on Linda's album/cover songs are less than generous - and rightfully so. Nevertheless, the historical significance of Linda's album is that it has been recognised as the FIRST album released that was totally devoted to Dylan songs. It was also the only album Linda released and her part in the Dylan story begins & ends there.
"Farewell" was recorded by Dylan in early 1963 as a Witmark & Sons demo and live recordings from the same period have been in circulation on various unofficial recordings (eg A Rare Batch Of Little White Wonder). The song was officially released on Dylan's 2010 Bootleg Series Vol. 9 - The Witmark Demos 1962-1964.
Despite the lyrical sentiment, I don't think a 21 year old Dylan would have ever imagined how far from reality his journey would contradict this line: "With my hands in my pockets and my coat collar high, I will travel unnoticed and unknown".
[First added to this chart: 06/05/2022]
Year of Release:
1964
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None
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Song To Woody: On a 10 track album of songs written by a variety of contemporaneous songwriters (eg Cash, Nix, Messina), Earl does a fine rendition of one of Dylan's earliest compositions, 'Song To Woody' (side 2, track 2). On this track, Johnny Cash plays acoustic guitar & Ramblin' Jack Elliott does additional vocals .
"Song To Woody" was recorded on 20 November 1961 and released on Dylan's debut March 1962 'Bob Dylan' album {track 5, side 2}. Of the 13 songs on the album, only 2 were original songs - the other original song being "Talking New York". The belated first live performance of 'Song To Woody' appears to have been at Chicago Stadium on 3 January 1974.
Despite its early genesis, the 20 year old Dylan's genius pokes up its head with a line reflecting on the state of the world (that is perhaps more true now than it was a short 60 years ago): "It looks like it's a-dyin' an' it's hardly been born".
[First added to this chart: 05/23/2022]
Year of Release:
1975
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None
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None
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Baby I'm In The Mood: By the late 1950's, Odetta was a major voice in the civil rights movement and had a significance influence on the teenage Bob Dylan, who later reflected that "The first thing that turned me onto folk singing was Odetta". In 1965, Odetta released her 13th studio album - a 12 track album of Dylan songs, opening the album with a classy version of "Baby I'm In The Mood For You" - which remains one of Dylan's more obscure songs.
"Baby I'm In The Mood For You" was recorded by Dylan at Columbia Studios on 9 July 1962 and appeared on unofficial recordings such as 'Talking Bear Mountain'. The song was officially released on the 1985 'Biograph' box set - which originally consisted of 5 LPs, with "Baby I'm In The Mood For You" landing at track 1 of side 2 on the 4th LP in the set. It appears that Dylan has never given a live performance of the song.
Lyrically, the song is a ramble of images where the rhyming scheme seems to dictate where the next line leads ~ however, it is interesting to note that the third line of verse 4 contains: "Sometimes I'm in the mood, I wanna fly like a cannonball". Very shortly after, Bob revisited the 'cannonball' image when in line 5 of verse 1 of 'Blowin' In The Wind' he wrote: "Yes, 'n' how many times must the cannonballs fly...". I'm guessing these are the only two instances where Dylan penned 'cannonball' in his songs.
[First added to this chart: 05/26/2022]
Year of Release:
1965
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Rank Score:
17
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John Brown: Eric is a relative contemporary of Dylan's, having worked various Greenwich Village venues in the mid 60's. At track 6 of his 13 track 'Waves' album, Eric does a terrific cover of Bob's 1962 anti-war song "John Brown".
The earliest known Dylan performance of "John Brown" is from the Gaslight Cafe, NY in late 1962 and the first studio recording dates from February 1963 for Broadside Ballads Vol 1 (an album showcasing the songs of NY based folk singers of the time - eg Seeger, La Farge, Turner, Traum, Spoelstra) - although the song is ascribed to Blind Boy Grunt (aka Bob Dylan attempting to avoid contractual issues with Columbia Records) The early importance of 'John Brown' to Dylan's repertoire is the inclusion of the song in Dylan's first major concert - Town Hall, NY on 12 April 1963.
The song would not surface. officially, until a Witmark & Sons demo recorded in August 1963 was released on the 2010 Bootleg Series Vol 9 - The Witmark Demos 1962-1964.
Dylan's reflections on war can be viewed through these lines: "And I couldn't help to think, through the thunder rolling and stink, that I was just a puppet in a play"; "But the thing that scared me most was when my enemy came close, and I saw that his face looked just like mine".
[First added to this chart: 05/22/2022]
Year of Release:
2005
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0
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Tomorrow Is A Long Time: Rod does a delicate version of Dylan's 'Tomorrow Is A Long Time' - with a gentle touch of violin in the background - at Side 1, track 4 of his iconic "Every Picture Tells A Story" album. I've loved that album since it was released over 50 years ago and it still rates in my top 100 albums of all time.
There is a home recording of Dylan singing 'Tomorrow Is A Long Time' from August 1962, but the publicly available 'live' recording took place on 12 April 1963 at Dylan's first public concert (Town Hall, NY). This 'live' version was released on Dylan's 1971 'Greatest Hits Vol II' double album at side 4, track 3. In fact, tracks 3 - 7 were all previously unreleased songs - which remains an interesting Dylan trademarks for 'greatest hits/compilation albums'. Dylan did a studio recording of 'Tomorrow Is A Long Time' for the Witmark & Sons Demos in December 1962, however this version was not released until the 2010 'Bootleg Series Vol 9 - The Witmark Demos 1962-64'.
My favourite line from this song: 'Only if she was lyin' by me, then I'd lie in my bed once again' - and delivered perfectly, yearningly, by Dylan.
[First added to this chart: 05/23/2022]
Year of Release:
1971
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Rank Score:
1,789
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Blowin' In The Wind: The Peter, Paul & Mary cover showed the universal appeal of Dylan's songwriting. The PP&M single was released in June 1963 and reached no2 in the US Billboard charts, as well as receiving a Grammy Award for Best Folk Recording. On the 'In The Wind' album, the song brings the album to a close at side 2, track 6.
It has been estimated that 'Blowin' In The Wind' has been covered by over 375 artists.
'Blowin' In The Wind' was written by Dylan in early 1962 and the first live recordings date from May 1962 (WBAI-FM Radio; Gerde's Folk City). The studio recording took place on 9 July 1962 and released as the opening track on Dylan's May 1963 "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" album and on subsequent Greatest Hits & compilation albums.
Surprisingly, given the celebrated status of "Blowin' In The Wind", Dylan did not perform the soong at any of his major solo concerts (eg Town Hall NY, Carnegie Hall NY, Town Hall Pa, Philharmonic Hall NY) leading up to or following the release of "Freewhellin' Bob Dylan". The song was performed live at the 1 August 1971 'Concert For Bangla Desh' and then became a regular inclusion for live performance (with a new arrangement & vocal delivery) from the mid 70's and thereafter.
If you have any further questions on this topic, then "the answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind".
[First added to this chart: 05/23/2022]
Year of Release:
1963
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Rank Score:
114
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Girl From The North Country: At CD2, track 11 of this extraordinary 145 track/5CD/1DVD box set, The Waterboys do an absolutely beautiful cover of Dylan's 'Girl From The North Country'. There is also 'live' footage of them performing the song at Glastonbury 1989 at song 3 on the DVD.
'Girl From The North Country' was recorded by Dylan on 24 April 1963 and released one month later (side 1, track 2) on the May 1963 'Freewheelin' Bob Dylan' album. The first public performance of the song by Dylan was probably on the Canadian "Quest" TV program - aired on 10 March 1964.
"Remember me to one who lives there, she was once a true love of mine"
[First added to this chart: 06/15/2022]
Year of Release:
2021
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Rank Score:
4
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Masters Of War: In a 32 track celebration of Dylan's first 30 years as a recording artist, Eddie Vedder's version of 'Masters Of War' is the highlight for its raw energy & honesty. The video of Eddie's performance is a 'must see'. In a smorgasbord of musical royalty, congregated to celebrate Dylan's song, Lou Reed's take on "Foot Of Pride" is also a joy to hear & behold.
'Masters of War' was first recorded by Dylan for the Witmark & Sons Demos in early 1963 and a 'live' version from this time also circulated on unofficial recordings. The official studio version was recorded on 24 April 1963 and released (side 1, track 3) on Dylan's May 1963 "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan' album.
(Note: This year ~ 2022 ~ marks Dylan's 60th year as a singer/songwriter/recording artist/performer.)
Among a host of memorable couplets/images, my favourite line: 'All the money you made will never buy back your soul'.
[First added to this chart: 05/25/2022]
Year of Release:
1993
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Rank Score:
20
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A Hard Rains A-Gonna Fall: In his debut solo album, Bryan opens up with a stunning re-working of Dylan's "A Hard Rains A-Gonna Fall' and along the way had commercial success with the song ~ releasing it as a single, reaching #10 in the UK singles chart
The first known performances by Dylan of 'A Hard Rains A-Gonna Fall' can be tracked to late 1962 and the studio recording took place in December 1962 and released (side 1, track 6) on the May 1963 "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan".
So many stark & vivid images in this one song, and so I will simply settle on this one: 'I heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley'.
[First added to this chart: 05/22/2022]
Year of Release:
1973
Appears in:
Rank Score:
37
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Walls Of Red Wing: I see Ramblin' Jack as an important member of the traditional American folk lineage that also ties Woody Guthrie & Bob Dylan together. Accordingly, I felt it important to include a Ramblin' Jack "Dylan" cover in this chart - although I was surprised to find only a handful of Dylan covers scattered in Ramblin' Jack's 20 album/50 year recording anthology. At track 6 of this 13 track album, Ramblin' Jack (accompanied by John Prine on vocals & guitar) does a delicate cover of 'Walls Of Red Wing' - a somewhat obscure Dylan song.
'Walls Of Red Wing' was first performed live by Dylan at his first Town Hall, NY concert on 12 April 1963, with a studio recording talking place 12 days later (24 April 1963) as part of 'The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan' sessions, although the recording was not included on final studio album. The studio recording was finally released on the 1991 'Bootleg Series Vol 1-3 (Rare & Unreleased)' 3 CD boxset, on CD1, track 14.
"The night aimed shadows through the crossbar windows"
[First added to this chart: 06/05/2022]
Year of Release:
1998
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Rank in 1998:
None
Rank in 1990s:
None
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Total albums: 100. Page 1 of 10

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Bob Dylan covered: my top 100 Dylan cover songs composition

Decade Albums %


1930s 0 0%
1940s 0 0%
1950s 0 0%
1960s 15 15%
1970s 15 15%
1980s 2 2%
1990s 20 20%
2000s 26 26%
2010s 12 12%
2020s 10 10%
Country Albums %


United States 49 49%
United Kingdom 23 23%
Mixed Nationality 18 18%
Australia 5 5%
Canada 2 2%
Sweden 1 1%
New Zealand 1 1%
Show all
Compilation? Albums %
No 81 81%
Yes 19 19%
Live? Albums %
No 94 94%
Yes 6 6%
Soundtrack? Albums %
No 97 97%
Yes 3 3%

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1970's: albums 101 - 200 by Moondance (2022)
Bob Dylan albums rated by Moondance (2022)
1980's: albums 101 - 200 by Moondance (2022)
1990's: albums 101 - 200 by Moondance (2022)
1960's: albums 101 - 200 by Moondance (2022)
2000-09: albums 101 - 200 by Moondance (2022)
My top 100 artists/albums: Australia by Moondance (2022)
2010's: albums 101 - 200 by Moondance (2022)
My top 100 artists/albums: New Zealand by Moondance (2022)

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88/100 (from 2 votes)
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Best Artists of 1972
1. David Bowie
2. The Rolling Stones
3. Nick Drake
4. Yes
5. Neil Young
6. Lou Reed
7. Deep Purple
8. Jethro Tull
9. Genesis
10. Can
11. Big Star
12. Stevie Wonder
13. Curtis Mayfield
14. Novos Baianos
15. Milton Nascimento / Lô Borges
16. Steely Dan
17. The Allman Brothers Band
18. Wishbone Ash
19. Roxy Music
20. Black Sabbath
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