Top 10 Covers of Bob Dylan Songs

Few artists have been covered as much as Bob Dylan. With a far-reaching catalog riddled with hits and a mass appeal that knows no genre, how could artists not try their hand at a Dylan classic? And if they’ve got it, some re-imaginings even manage to outshine the icon’s originals.

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Here are 10 noteworthy covers of Dylan songs for you to decide for yourself.

1. “It Ain’t Me Babe” – Johnny Cash and June Carter

In just a short time after its release, Dylan’s 1964 classic “It Ain’t Me Babe” had seen various covers – one from The Turtles, the other by country icon Johnny Cash. Cash sang his rendition of the Dylan tune with his future wife June Carter. Together, with his grizzled baritone and her twanging lilt, they made “It Ain’t Me Babe” entirely their own.

2. “All Along the Watchtower” – The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Dylan’s 1967 song “All Along the Watchtower” has become more closely associated with Jimi Hendrix than the Bard himself. Hendrix’s version quickly made the song a Top 20 hit when it was released in 1968, just months after Dylan dropped his original.

3. “Gotta Serve Somebody” – Mavis Staples

Dylan’s 1979 gospel-inspired “Gotta Serve Somebody” has been covered by dozens of artists, including Willie Nelson, Natalie Cole, Etta James, and Judy Collins. One of the most notable renditions of the song has been from powerhouse vocalist Mavis Staples.

4. “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” – Guns N’ Roses

Another of Dylan’s most covered songs, “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” is arguably best known by its Guns N’ Roses cover. The band shrugs off Dylan’s simplistic arrangement for power chords and anthemic vocals.

5. “Mr. Tambourine Man” – The Byrds

When Dylan released his classic tune “Mr. Tambourine Man” in March 1965, The Byrds weren’t far behind, dropping their own nearly as iconic version a month later.

6. “Maggie’s Farm” – Rage Against the Machine

Dylan’s influence knows no genre, so his songs have been covered in various musical styles. His “Maggie’s Farm,” especially, has seen innumerable versions, but no cover has quite matched Rage Against the Machine’s. Their hard-edged interpretation drives home the song’s defiant I ain’t gonna work… lyrics.

7. “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” – Nina Simone

Gordon Lightfoot, Linda Ronstadt, the Grateful Dead, Neil Young, the Black Crowes, and so many more have covered Dylan’s 1965 song “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues.” Nina Simone’s haunting version, however, stands out among them all. Her rich contralto beautifully guides the tune’s narrative lyrics.

8. “One More Cup of Coffee” – The White Stripes

While frontman Jack White pretty accurately mimics Dylan’s quavering vocals, The White Stripes add a certain edginess to Dylan’s “One More Cup of Coffee.”

9. “Million Miles” – Bonnie Riatt

A Dylan track tinged with blues, “Million Miles” seemed to beg for a Bonnie Raitt cover. Her voice paired with the song’s slow rocking arrangement are the perfect match for Dylan’s 1997 deep cut.

10. “Boots of Spanish Leather” – The Lumineers

Dylan’s 1964 ballad “Boots of Spanish Leather” has seen dozens of re-imaginings, but none quite like The Lumineers’ tear-jerking rendition. The band stripped down the already emotionally charged tune for a heart-sinking cover.

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