From ‘Standing In The Doorway: Chrissie Hynde Sings Bob Dylan,’ it kicks off our week-long celebration of Bob Dylan’s 80th birthday next Monday, May 24, 2021.
Like much of humankind who lived in lockdown during the Corona nightmare year of 2020, Chrissie Hynde started feeling down. And then deeper down. Looking for meaning during the long season of bleakness, she found it in the new songs of an old friend, Bob Dylan. For Chrissie, his songs and spirit have given her sustenance through the years, and there he was again, and with a new song, his epic treatise on recent American history, “Murder Most Foul.” It was her ticket out of doldrums city. It gave her hope. And more than anything, it made her laugh.
“Listening to that song completely changed everything for me,” said Chrissie. “I was lifted out of this morose mood that I’d been in. I remember where I was sitting the day that Kennedy was shot. Every reference in the song. Whatever Bob does, he still manages somewhere in there to make you laugh. Because, as much as anything, he’s a comedian. He’s always funny and always has something to say. I called James and said, ‘Let’s do some Dylan covers,’ and that’s what started this whole thing.”
This whole thing was a series of Dylan covers she recorded with Walbourne during lockdown.
“Every singer-songwriter in the world covers the master’s songs,” she said “and there is an endless supply of them.”
Today we’re happy to share her rendition of “You’re a Big Girl Now,” from his classic 1975 album Blood On The Tracks.
They started with one, and then recorded another each week. Each would start humbly, with James sending a guitar idea for a Dylan song. Chrissie would live with it, and then bring her singing and her soul, and it would go back and forth. In this way they completed nine songs.
It was mixed by the great Tchad Blake, who has worked on Pretenders albums, as well as albums by Peter Gabriel, U2, Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, Los Lobos and Fiona Apple, many of which were produced by his oft-partner Mitchell Froom. He and Froom joined David Hidalgo and Louie Perez to form Latin Playboys, one of the coolest albums of modern times.
The result is Standing In The Doorway: Chrissie Hynde Sings Bob Dylan, which features raw, intimate renditions of nine songs from Dylan’s endless songbook. Each premiered on The Pretenders’ YouTube site, and will be released as an LP in August.
The songs are:
1. In the Summertime
2. You’re a Big Girl Now
3. Standing In The Doorway
4. Sweetheart Like You
5. Blind Willie McTell
6. Love Minus Zero / No Limit
7. Don’t Fall Apart On Me Tonight
8. Tomorrow Is a Long Time
9. Every Grain of Sand
The making of this album is featured in Standing In The Doorway: Chrissie Hynde Sings Bob Dylan will be featured in Tomorrow Is A Long Time, a new documentary by Michael Nunn and Billy Trevitt (Romeo & Juliet: Beyond Words, BalletBoyz). It is premiering exclusively on UK’s Sky Arts channel on Dylan’s 80th birthday, Monday, May 24; a U.S. broadcast premiere will be announced soon.