Thursday, January 5, 2017

365 Days of Dylan, Day 5: Mr. Tambourine Man

As a child of the 1960s (and I literally mean "a child." I was born in 1960), I'd often confuse "Mr. Tambourine Man" with two other songs, Jerry Jeff Walker's "Mr. Bojangles" and the Lemon Pipers' "Green Tambourine." All three tunes lived together in my young, impressionable psychedelic-folk-fueled mind.

I'm also pretty sure I heard The Byrds' version of "Mr. Tambourine Man" before Dylan's. It hit #1 in 1965 (the same year Dylan released the song on Bringing It All Back Home). Only later did I connect the song to Bob Dylan.

The Byrds' cover of "Mr. Tambourine Man" upped the jangle ante and has been cited as a significant influence of the folk-rock explosion the late 1960s and early 1970s.

With its dozens of covers and staying power, "Mr. Bojangles" made Dylan's music accessible to a wider audience, even spawning (and I think that's the appropriate word) a rendition by William Shatner.


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