Tune du Jour: “Forever Young” – Bob Dylan
THE CLASH of Cover Tunes: Neil Young & the Grateful Dead vs. Soweto Gospel Choir
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"Free markets will not prevail without unfettered competition among cover songs." - Milton Friedbyrd

“Free markets will not prevail without unfettered competition among cover songs.” – Milton Friedbyrd


Forever Young is one of Bob Dylan’s most beautiful songs. The song expresses Dylan’s hopes and dreams for his children as they progress through childhood. Forever Young is a frequently covered song with the majority of artists attempting in futility to maintain the spiritual poignancy that Dylan achieved.

Forever Young first appeared on Dylan’s album Planet Waves, which was released in 1974. Two versions of the song were included on the album, a slow and fast version. For what it’s worth, I think the slow version is so vastly superior to the fast one that I question why it was even included on the album; the fast version should have been an outtake, packed away for a future rarities release. Forever Young is just one example of the magic Bob Dylan and The Band routinely conjured up. It only solidifies the excellence and expertise of one of the more underrated bands of our time, The Band.

Forever Young is also noteworthy for one of those surreal moments when time just seems to awkwardly stand still. Of course I’m referring to Howard Cosell’s inane recitation of its lyrics when Muhammad Ali outlasted Leon Spinks to win the heavyweight title for an unprecedented third time.


Planet Waves: Slow Version

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Bob Dylan and The Band:

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Planet Waves: Fast Version

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Bob Dylan and The Band:

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The Last Waltz: Simply Outstanding Live Version

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Bob Dylan and The Band:

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THE CLASH of Cover Tunes

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Soweto Gospel Choir vs. Neil Young & the Grateful Dead
Soweto Gospel Choir:

Neil Young & the Grateful Dead:

Neil Young is a recipient of CMI’s universally coveted title of Bi Victor Melodious Maximus in Adversarial Replication. Among the title’s myriad of rewards and benefits, perhaps most desirous is that it bestows upon the recipient the eminently yearned for privilege of having one’s name appear in print media in bold orange!

Young’s triumphal exploits in CMI’s THE CLASH of Cover Tunes competitions are detailed below:

10/18/2013 – “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” (Bob Dylan) – Neil Young with Booker T & The MGs (100%) throttle Robyn Hitchcock (00%)

9/27/2013 – “Imagine” (John Lennon) – Neil Young (84%) wallops David Bowie (16%)

Oh the disharmony! Much like Harlan County there are no neutrals here. Only one cover tune will live to play another day and it is your solemn responsibility to decide which one prevails. So tell me … Which Side Are You On?!!?

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Votes can be cast up to three months from the day of the original post.

Disclaimer: Votes cast from Florida may or may not be counted.

  1. Cuspid says:

    Neil Young does an nice job on this, and the Dead were thankfully relegated to a supportive, background role. But the Soweto Gospel Choir steals this one. I like their version better than the original. Fantastic.

  2. RDubbs says:

    Hate to vote against Neil but this performance feels somewhat lackluster. Almost like he is distracted. Disappointing in that Neil usually produces great covers of Dylan. Something about Neil’s craggy voice, emotional guitar licks and high-octane energy that seem to really work in a Dylan ballad. Sadly, this rendition exhibits none of those attributes.

    And as Zaner has already pointed out, the Soweto Gospel Choir deliver a superlative rendition of the song akin to a spiritual hymn.

    Sorry, Neil.

  3. The Bug says:

    I like the Neil Young version, like the symmetry of Neil Young singing Forever Young, but I have to go with Soweto, there is something to be said about those voices, angelic. Gave me goosebumps, and I never go against the “goosebump” factor.

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