I remember playing shows [with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers in the ‘80s] and looking out.. I didn’t have that many fans coming to see me,they were coming to see Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers.
~Bob Dylan (to Robert Hilburn, December 1997)
Thomas Earl Petty (October 20, 1950 – October 2, 2017) was an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and actor. He was the lead singer of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, formed in 1976. He previously led the band Mudcrutch. He was also a member of the late 1980s supergroup the Traveling Wilburys.
““What good am I if I’m like all the rest?” the 70-year-old singer nearly whispers to open the album. Is the question rhetorical? Is he talking to himself? The performance, a cover of a somewhat obscure Dylan tune where Jones is backed up by only a sparse rhythm section, is almost prayer-like in its gentle quietness and with its heartfelt vocals. Yet no answer is given to this or Jones’ other questions throughout the song, leaving the listener to ponder the answers and making it a quite haunting piece of music.”
– Adam Sheets (NoDepression)
Tom Jones – What Good Am I? – The best Dylan covers
Bob Dylan released What Good Am I? on his classic album, Oh Mercy in 1989.
Oh Mercy is notable for its sustained moodiness and resignation, often in relation to romantic dissolution. This is immediately apparent on the atmospheric Most of the Time, which features the richest production on the album. Described as “magisterial” by Allan Jones of Melody Maker, the narrator in Most of the Time sings of an estranged lover whom the narrator can’t quite shake from his memories. The song addresses an irreconcilable, personal relationship, and this theme would continue through What Good Am I?, a frank look at the narrator’s moral worth.
What good am I some like all the rest If I just turn away when I see how you’re dressed If I shut myself off so I can’t hear you cry What good am I?
I like Johnny Cash a lot. I like everything he does really.
-Bob Dylan (Autumn 1965 – Nat Hentoff (The Playboy) Interview)
John R. “Johnny” Cash (born J. R. Cash; February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003) was an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, actor, and author. He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 90 million records worldwide. His genre-spanning songs and sound embraced rock and roll, rockabilly, blues, folk, and gospel. This crossover appeal won Cash the rare honor of being inducted into the Country Music, Rock and Roll, and Gospel Music Halls of Fame.
.. Johnny was and is the North Star; you could guide your ship by him – the greatest of the greats then and now. I first met him in ‘62 or ‘63 and saw him a lot in those years. Not so much recently, but in some kind of way he was with me more than people I see every day.
~Bob Dylan (Statement on Johnny Cash – Sept 2003)
There’s no way to measure his greatness or magnitude as a person or as a player. I don’t think eulogizing will do him justice. He was that great – much more than a superb musician with an uncanny ear and dexterity. He is the very spirit personified of whatever is Muddy River Country at its core and screams up into the spheres. He really had no equal. To me he wasn’t only a musician and friend, he was more like a big brother who taught and showed me more than he’ll ever know. There are a lot of spaces and advances between the Carter Family, Buddy Holly and, say, Ornette Coleman, a lot of universes, but he filled them all without being a member of any school. His playing was moody, awesome, sophisticated, hypnotic and subtle. There’s no way to convey the loss. It just digs down really deep.
~Bob Dylan (Jerry Garcia’s Obituary – 10 August 1995)
Jerome John Garcia (August 1, 1942 – August 9, 1995) was an American singer-songwriter and guitarist, best known for his work as the lead guitarist and as a vocalist with the band the Grateful Dead, which came to prominence during the counterculture of the 1960s. Although he disavowed the role, Garcia was viewed by many as the leader or “spokesman” of the group.
Garcia has covered Dylan many times with both Grateful Dead & Jerry Garcia Band. Here are 5 Great examples.
Positively 4th Street
Jerry Garcia Band – November 17, 1975
You’ve got a lotta nerve to say you are my friend
When I was down you just stood there grinnin’
You’ve got a lotta nerve to say you got a helping hand to lend
You just want to be on the side that’s winnin’