Saturday, 31 October 2009

Pretending To Be Bob

I went to see Andy White the other week and was inspired to dig out his debut album, 1986's "Rave On Andy White". It is still an enjoyable listen but not having heard it for ages I had forgotten quite how blatant the Dylan influences were. Take this one, for example:

"Rembrandt Hat" - Andy White

What is a Delacroix cat? I suspect not even Andy knows.

That particular track shows its influences but stands up in its own right. Others topple over into parody. And there probably isn't an artist who has been more parodied over the years than Bob Dylan.

Here is an early "tribute" from 1965, available on the classic "Pebbles Volume 3" compilation and, bizarrely, a top 40 hit in Canada:

"Like A Dribbling Fram" - Race Marbles

I think the most successful parody came out a couple of years ago - the "Dylan Hears A Who" album, which took Dr Seuss poems and arranged them in the style of "Highway 61 Revisited" period Dylan. The music is spot on, the vocals are close enough to have you briefly thinking it might be Bob himself, and the lyrical content is no more nonsensical than some of Bob's own efforts of that period ("The sun ain't yellow it's a chicken" anyone?).

"Dylan Hears A Who" was briefly a roaring success until it was closed down by the Grinches who represent Dr Seuss's estate. At the risk of incurring the wrath of the Man in the Hat, here is the hit single:

"Green Eggs And Ham" - Dylan Hears A Who

Listening to "Dylan Hears A Who" it is clear that it is meant an affectionate tribute. This one on the other hand is a cruel assault on Bob's reputation and whoever is responsible for it ought to be shot:

"Monstrous Parody"

Of course the most parodied Bob-bit of all is the video for "Subterranean Homesick Blues". Here is Weird Al Yankovic with one of the many examples. It's all palindromes, folks:


  1. Believe it or not, my Games teacher was called Andy White. Not this Andy White though - another one. Yorkshireman. Not very clever.

    Dylan was famously in The Travelling Wilburys - as was Roy Orbison, who you mentioned a couple of posts ago. I always thought they sounded a bit like ELO, and then I downloaded - sorry, bought - 'Zoom', ELO's 2001 album and realised ELO sounded like the Travelling Wilburys.

    Then I got all confused and started moaning about the Daily Mail and that.

  2. An interesting coincidence. When I was a student I shared digs with a Weird Al Yankovic. Not this one obviously. From Kings Lynn. One of the Norfolk Yankovics.