Today, music icon Bob Dylan made history. The 11 time Grammy holder is now also the first singer-songwriter to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”.
Known throughout the globe, many artists have covered Dylan’s songs over the years, from Jimi Hendrix to Patti Labelle and many in-between. Not being the type to miss out on the fun, Argentine musicians didn’t hesitate to get in on the action too. Over the years various covers of Bob’s music have emerged, occasionally with a Latin American twist.
Charly García: Calle de la Desolación (Desolation Row)
Of course we have a Charly cover. The Argentine rock hero has always idolized and found inspiration in Dylan. He wrote “Viernes 3 AM” an oppressive ballad in ten minutes, similar to Dylan’s construction of “Blowin’ in the Wind”. Charly considers Dylan, among others such as the Beatles and Nirvana as real rock. “It does not have to be strong, but it definitely has to have some danger” he said talking to Clarín.
In this live cover during the Movistar 2014 concert dedicated to García, we see Charly’s take on Dylan’s 1965 single Desolation Row from his sixth studio album, Highway 61 Revisted. Unlike Dylan’s original, Charly has left out the guitar and given the track his own spin, giving us a slower and shorter cover on the keys.
Fito Paez: Doblen campanas (Ring Them Bells)
Argentine musician Fito Paez started his musical endeavours early on, forming his first band, Staff at 13 in 1976. An eight year wait saw his first studio album, “Del 63” and since he has released 22 more studio albums, his latest featuring Paulinho Moska (Locura total) was released last year. Fito has been described as a mixture between Bob Dylan and Billy Joel by prestigious producer Phil Ramone.
This cover was taken from his 2011 album “Canciones para aliens”. The album features 14 tracks totalling a play time of 54 minutes. Paez’s cover mainly features piano with the occasional whine of the electric guitar, unlike the more acoustic based original. It has an ambient and crowd-swaying sound.
Mancha de Rolando: Mis Primeras Páginas (My Back Pages)
Mancha de Rolando is a band from Avellaneda, formed in 1991. In their 2010 album “A cielo abierto – El año del tigre”, they included a cover of Dylan’s “My Back Pages” renamed (and sung in Spanish) “Mis Primeras Páginas”. There has been some rejection of this band due to their support to former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s government, but this didn’t stop them producing music, releasing their 18th album in 2014.
Mancha have put their own soft-rock feel to the track. Speeding up the tempo and introducing several voices and more percussion, the original country-based song has gained more of a rock-band anthem feel.
María José Cantilo: El Huracán (Hurricane)
Singer-songwriter María José Cantilo featured a translated cover of “Hurricane” in 1984 (originally released in 1976), in her debut self-named album “María Jose Cantilo” . She was part of the rock explosion that engulfed the country after the dictatorship ended in 1983. María released her most recent album in 2011“Esencia”, produced by son Gaspar Benegas, also guitarist for Indio Solari.
Cantilo’s interpretation uses the full features of twenty-first century society. Her track gives background to the story of song (institutional racism), with a video illustrating the wrongdoings of the US police force against African-American boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter. She retains Dylan’s composition of the track and uses his signature harmonica sound, giving it that true Bob feel.
Charly García and Joaquin Sabina’s cover fueled mash-up:
This private little improv between the two singers in a club consists of a five song cover medley. Mainly singing in English, we hear two gruff voices having a blast at some classics amid the occasional joke and giggle. The five minute sound-bite features two Dylan classics “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” and “Like A Rolling Stone” amongst other popular tracks such as “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” by The Shirelles. An amusing little listen to see off the tributes!