Rebbeca Black Is Covered By… Bob Dylan?!

 It Was Only To Be Expected - Rebecca Black Has Begun Getting Covers Of Their Own. But The Actual Quality Of These Covers Has Surprised Everybody.

It Was Only To Be Expected - Rebecca Black Has Begun Getting Covers Of Her Own.

No, not really. What has just happened is that her recent viral hit (“Friday”) has started being parodied/covered by the dozen. And one of these comes from nobody else but a Bob Dylan impersonator that has really been doing his homework.

Here you have the clip. And you can also watch two more remarkable versions below: one that is banjo-driven, and another which has been embedded into the timeless (no pun intended) Groundhog Day .

Bob Dylan

Banjo Version

Groundhog Day

Remix Subterranean Homesick Blues And Win A Trip To South by Southwest

Now It’s Your Chance To Remix Bob Dylan’s Timeless Classic And Win A Trip To South By Southwest In The Process.

Now It’s Your Chance To Remix Bob Dylan’s Timeless Classic And Win A Trip To South By Southwest In The Process.

This is the day for fans of the gnomic singer/songwriter that also happen to love technology. Sony is currently holding an open competition in which people are invited to remix Dylan’s seminal ‘60s track, “Subterranean Homesick Blue”. The prize? A trip to South By Southwest in Austin next March.

The actual remixing process is done entirely online. A neat interface will let you take Dylan’s vocals along with all the individual instruments, and have your own way with them. And those who are skilled enough will be able to record themselves and bring what they see fit into the mix.

As long as Elvis Costello doesn’t show up and decides to write “Pump It Up Pt. 2”, it should be a very even and enjoyable competition for everybody…

Google Instant Meets Bob Dylan & Billy Joel

The launch event for Google Instant

The launch event for Google Instant

Google unveiled its new search technology two weeks ago. Named “Google Instant”, it lets you see results as you type. This means you don’t have to input a query and hit return any longer. The results materialize automatically at the bottom of the page as you are typing away.

And Google hit the nail on the head when they used Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues” to show off this new technology. The ad (embedded below) was featured at the launch event for Google Instant. They couldn’t have found a better song had they tried.

Or could they? Nay-sayers (because people always oppose to changes) and pranksters immediately came up with their own musical protests and parodies. This is one of my favorites, set to Billy Joel’s number one hit “We Didn’t Start The Fire”.

Again – it is a fast paced tune, and it is as suitable as Dylan’s song was for the “official” ad. And in any case, “We Didn’t Start The Fire” must be one of the most parodied songs ever. Just look it up on YouTube and see what crops up – “We Didn’t Start The Star Wars”, “We Didn’t Start The Crisis”, “We Still Didn’t Start The Fire”…

The Traveling Wilburys: Who Sings What

The Traveling Wilburys: Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison & George Harrison

The Traveling Wilburys: Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison & George Harrison

I have been asked a couple of times already who sings exactly what on the two volumes that The Traveling Wilburys were to issue during their stint together. Some (younger) people just aren’t accustomed to the singers’ voices on their own, and that is aggravated by the fact Petty sounds just like Dylan more than sporadically (“End Of The Line”, “7 Deadly Sins”). That is the reason why I decided to put this list together.

To begin with, their pseudonyms for each album:

The Traveling Wilburys Vol 1

Nelson Wilbury – George Harrison
Otis Wilbury – Jeff Lynne
Lefty Wilbury – Roy Orbison
Charlie T. Wilbury Jr. – Tom Petty
Lucky Wilbury – Bob Dylan

The Traveling Wilburys Vol 3

Spike Wilbury – George Harrison
Clayton Wilbury – Jeff Lynne
Muddy Wilbury – Tom Petty
Boo Wilbury – Bob Dylan

Now, who sings what:

The Traveling Wilburys Vol 1

Handle With Care – Harrison
Dirty World – Dylan
Rattled – Lynne
Last Night – Petty
Not Alone Anymore – Orbison
Congratulations – Dylan
Heading for the Light – Harrison
Margarita – Dylan
Tweeter and the Monkey Man- Dylan
End of the Line- Petty (with Harrison, Lynne and Orbison singing a verse or two each) Continue reading

The Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3 – Album Review

"The Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3" Was To Be The Final Release By The '80s Supergroup

"The Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3" Was To Be The Final Release By The '80s Supergroup

The second (and final) record by the Traveling Wilburys surfaced in 1990, and it was to be titled “Vol. 3”. This is widely thought to be a joke suggested by George Harrison (who was the unofficial leader of the band) to send fans scrambling for an album that never was. We know he did suggest the title, but I believe that it was a two-fingered salute to bootleggers rather than a joke – the amount of “unofficial” Wilburys records that came out after the first volume was unbelievable. And many also consider Tom Petty’s first solo disc (“Full Moon Fever”) to be the “lost” Wilburys album – it was produced by Lynne, and every Wilbury (except for Dylan) collaborated, albeit marginally in most cases.

The fact remains that after a universally-praised record that rejuvenated everybody, this new volume was released. The main difference telling one record from the other? The first time around, the guys were having fun. Now, they were getting down to business. The joviality was somehow missing the second time around. The professionalism remained, and so did the camaraderie. But not the lovable goofiness.

The passing of Roy Orbison surely had a big impact on the band, and the fact that both Dylan and Harrison penned songs that were truer to their ‘80s selves rather than genuine Wilbury music was the tipping point. Songs like “Where Were You Last Night” (Dylan) and “You Took My Breath Away” (Harrison) pointed to each artist’s worst tendencies during the previous decade. And the one joke of the disc was incredibly forced – “Wilbury Twist” had rampant instrumentation but they were trying too hard to revive something that the first time around flowed so effortlessly.

Speaking of rampant volume, the album’s first single (and its first track) was the heavy “She’s My Baby”, a song that always makes me think of Pete Townshend’s “My Baby Gives It Away”, only that the characters in the Wilbury’s song are far, far meaner and darker. The track (which did very well in the charts) also featured Gary Moore on guitar – he definitively had a field day. Continue reading

The Band – General Introduction

The Band: Richard Manuel, Garth Hudson, Levon Helm, Robbie Robertson & Rick Danko

The Band: Richard Manuel, Garth Hudson, Levon Helm, Robbie Robertson & Rick Danko

There were not that many performers whose beginning was as shrouded in mystery as that of The Band. They were known as Bob Dylan’s backing group during his early electric tours, and they were in fact the ones backing the master onstage during the infamous “Judas!” incident. They issued their first album in 1968 (“Music From Big Pink”), and the cover illustration was actually done by Dylan. After the album was issued, they gave no interviews. And a twist of fate dictated that they were not to perform live for some time since one of their members (Rick Danko) was involved in a car accident that left him out of business for a couple of months.

One of their most popular songs, from “Music From Big Pink”:

Gradually, the mystery was lifted and what we found was an ensemble of musicians that redefined the concept of collectiveness, and the idea of a performing unit taken as a whole. Their second, eponymous album was a major step forward. Released in 1969, it is now regarded as a seminal work in the history of Rock & Roll.

Upon its release, everybody knew who they were and the way they operated. The names of the five members of The Band were on the lips of everybody within the scene and the industry: Robbie Robertson, Richard Manuel, Rick Danko, Levon Helm and Garth Hudson. With the exception of Robertson, everybody could play multiple instruments. Three members also handled lead vocals: Manuel, Danko and Helm. Still, Manuel is traditionally considered “the” lead singer of the group.

Epochal songs dealing with American themes (like “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”) constituted the backbone of that breakthrough album, and that was all the more remarkable since all of them (except for Helm) were Canadians.

The albums that succeeded had The Band gradually expanding their sound by approaching producers like Todd Rundgren, and working on elaborate arrangements with New Orleans musician Allen Toussaint among others. And their penultimate record together (“Northern Lights – Southern Cross”) offered a truly updated sound thanks to the addition of synthesizers into the mix.

The Band Performing Live At "The Last Waltz" Concert

The Band Performing Live At "The Last Waltz" Concert

As good as they were, those albums began showcasing some strains and rivalries within the group, as Robertson emerged as an authoritative figure – he took the credit for most of their compositions, and that caused serious problems in the long run, with other members accusing him of claiming authorship of what was essentially a collective effort. Robertson would be the first member to quit – his last performance with The Band was on the famed concert movie “The Last Waltz” in 1978. Continue reading

The Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 – Album Review

The Traveling Wilburys' First Album

The Traveling Wilburys' First Album

The Wilburys were to release two albums of original compositions during their brief time together. While both are clearly more than a respectable listen, the first one is unanimously hailed as the Traveling Wilburys album.

Topping and tailing the record are the two tunes in which every member sings something at a point or other of the song. These are the Harrison-penned “Handle With Care” and the country-happy “End Of The Line”. The former seems like a combination made in heaven, as Harrison basically sings the lead during the verses, and then Roy Orbison sings a bridge that leads into a sing-along chorus by the rest of the band. Orbison’s contribution (a quavering plea) is a moment which moves me personally, and I bet many of those who listen to the song feel the same way. On the other hand, “End Of The Line” is a very uplifting way to close the record, and its message of optimism is all the more compelling because it feels incredible genuine – even Dylan sings like he truly means it. And those might as well have been his darkest years, keep that in mind.

Speaking of Dylan, he contributes a narrative which resembles “Lily, Rosemary And The Jack Of Hearts” in terms of content and “Hurricane” in terms of structure. It is named “Tweeter And The Monkey Man”, and some fans go as far as to call it one of his best songs from the period. The song is the penultimate track on the album, and it is the one and only composition that goes over the 5.00 mark. The rest all clock at 3.00 on average. Continue reading

The Traveling Wilburys – General Introduction

The Traveling Wilburys

The Traveling Wilburys

The Traveling Wilburys have gone down in history as one of the most enjoyable and – above all – genuine supergroups ever. The key to their appeal might lie in the fact that the five band members were excellent friends who knew how to collaborate and complement each other’s musical stance, stopping exactly at the line that separated one from the other. They worked with each other without intruding an inch, and without giving an inch. Such chemistry is rare, and the fact that five different individuals could have it at the same time goes some way into explaining the Wilburys’ effectiveness.

Everybody knows who they are, but in case you are just discovering them: George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty and Roy Orbison.

They came together when Harrison needed to record a B-side, and the resulting song (“Handle With Care”) was something that even the biggest undiscerning person in the industry would have regarded as far, far more than a B-side. Two full-length collaborations were to ensue, titled “Volume I” and “Volume III”. Continue reading