Now this is good news indeed! If only I understood how she made the list. Steve Meacham, a writer for the Syndey Morning Herald in Australia, recently posted a list of his favorite Bob Dylan covers. (Thank you Chergoup on Yahoo!, yet again, for the link).
Two things irk me about this article. One, his web links are wrong. He points us to dylancovers.com which is just a landing page with Google ads. The database of Dylan covers is at http://www.bjorner.com/covers.htm. This site is actually pretty cool. At a glance you can see Dylan’s amazing influential reach. The site also correctly identifies Cher’s whopping ten Dylan covers spanning a mere five years (http://www.bjorner.com/artistc.htm#_Cher) ...although technically Cher renamed "Lay Lady Lay" to "Lay Baby Lay," and "Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here with You" (one of my favorites) is listed twice erroneously due to a compilation being taken into account. If we were to count Cher compilations, all the songs would be listed about 100 times. This site has this same problem with other artists, as well.
But back to Meacham’s piece...I doubt he’s heard every single Dylan cover under the sun. Yet he still comes up with a list that is basically the most successful and high-profile of the bunch. He doesn't come up with much rationale for why he picks the the versions he picks (for instance choosing Neil Young & Crazy Horse’s version of "Blowin in the Wind" over Marlene Dietrich’s version because it's "the finest cover." Finest at what?) It gets worse when he gets to Cher’s version of "All I Really Want to Do." I'm amazed he picked her version over the one charting simultaneously by The Byrds. Cher's version beat The Byrds in sales but Dylan himself liked The Byrds' version. Critically, I'd like to know why Meacham felt Cher's was better. Is he finally a reviewer who will defend Cher’s music? Yet he provides no real defense! So close but no cigar.
It’s interesting that Dylan made his debut in 1962, just a mere 3 years before Cher. This helps to explain why folk was still so huge in the mid-60s and yet old enough to be taken mainstream by pop acts like Sonny & Cher.