50 years ago today Bob Dylan released his first album, which he called ‘Bob Dylan’. The event passed me by at the time, as I was too young at school, but I soon caught up. Since then, I’ve bought every album he’s made, as soon as they were released. Fanatics like me also buy covers of his songs by other artists, in the hope (which is rarely realised) that they will prove to be better than the original. We have just been treated to an album of 73 covers in aid of Amnesty International, who, appropriately, have also just celebrated their 50th anniversary.
The songs on the album include Adele’s version of ‘Make You Feel My Love’, which has competed with Leonard Cohen’s ‘Halleluja’ as one of the most covered songs of the last two years. The difference is that while Dylan kept his publishing rights, Cohen signed his away, so that Dylan is raking it in, while Cohen gets nothing and has had to go on tour again, just to make ends meet. A girl who, on account of the dollar sign in her name, is probably as clued up as Dylan, has produced one of the memorable songs on the Amnesty album. The version of ‘Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right’ by Ke$ha is easily as good as Adele’s ‘Make You Feel My Love’. The irony is that Dylan pinched the tune and most of the lyrics, but will still rake in the royalties. Leonard Cohen will be weeping.