George Harrison – If Not For You – The Best Dylan Covers

photo: Henry Diltz

George Harrison – If Not For You – The Best Dylan Covers

If Not for You” is a song by Bob Dylan, recorded for his 1970 album New Morning. Dylan recorded the album version in August 1970, having first recorded the song in a session with George Harrison on May 1 of that year. In addition to appearing on the album in October 1970, the August recording was released as a single in Europe; the May recording remained unreleased until its inclusion on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1–3 (Rare & Unreleased) in 1991.

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The story of the unreleased Beatles medley Black Dog Blues / Right String Wrong Yo Yo

This is a traditional country blues that dates back to the1920s. It has been recorded a lot of  times under several names, including Daddy Where You Been Gone So Long, Black Dog, Black Dog Blues, Call Me A Dog and Honey Where You Been So Long.

It is however NOT the same song as the Blind Blake song called Black Dog Blues. It also has nothing to do with the Led Zeppelin song.

Beatles recorded this “jam” on the last day of the so called Get Back sessions, 31st of January 1969. I don’t think it should be released as such, but I do think it’s interesting to see (hear) what was floating around in the studio. And to speculate what it resulted in or inspired the Beatles to create on a later stage, together or as solo artists. Also I like to find out why these songs were chosen to run through.

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Listen to Bob Dylan’s Recording Session With George Harrison in 1970 (56 min audio)

New York — Bob Dylan snuck into Columbia’s Studio B in New York on May Day and recorded for 12 hours with George Harrison, lead guitarist for a reportedly defunct British rock and roll group, the Beatles.
-Rolling Stone Magazine (May 28, 1970)

Wikipedia:
After work on Self Portrait was virtually completed, Dylan held more sessions at Columbia’s recording studios in the Columbia Studio Building at 49 East 52nd Street in New York, beginning May 1, 1970. Held in Studio B, the first session was accompanied by George Harrison, bassist Charlie Daniels, and drummer Russ Kunkel. A large number of covers and old compositions were recorded in addition to several new compositions. The results were rejected, although “Working on a Guru” and alternate versions of “Time Passes Slowly” and “If Not For You” have since been released.

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The Beatles playing Bob Dylan songs during the January 1969 Get Back/Let It Be sessions

George Harrison visited Bob Dylan in Woodstock late November 1968. They probably listened to and played a lot of songs together. He most certainly heard a new composition I Threw It All Away (Dylan recorded this one in February 1969 for “Nashville Skyline”).


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August 1: Watch Bob Dylan & George Harrison – The Concert for Bangladesh, New York City, 1971

bob dylan george harrison 1971

Bob Dylan & George Harrison: August 1, 1971, New York
The Concert for Bangladesh (or Bangla Desh, as the country name was spelt originally) was the name for two benefit concerts organised by George Harrison and Ravi Shankar, held at 2.30 and 8 pm on Sunday, 1 August 1971, playing to a total of 40,000 people at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The shows were organised to raise international awareness and fund relief efforts for refugees from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), following the 1970 Bhola cyclone and the civil war-related Bangladesh atrocities. The concerts were followed by a bestselling live album, a boxed three-record set, and Apple Films’ concert documentary, which opened in cinemas in the spring of 1972.The event was the first-ever benefit concert of such a magnitude and featured a supergroup of performers that included Harrison, fellow ex-Beatle Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Billy Preston, Leon Russell and the band Badfinger. In addition, Shankar and another legend of Indian music, Ali Akbar Khan, performed a separate set. Decades later, Shankar would say of the overwhelming success of the event: “In one day, the whole world knew the name of Bangladesh. It was a fantastic occasion …”
~Wikipedia

This was Dylan’s first live performance in two years. Harrison had to twist his arm to get him to take part in the benefit concert, and we can be very glad he did: it’s a stunning performance (both shows), modest, confident, richly textured, with Dylan feeling and communicating genuine love for the music he’s playing (in the case of” Blowin’ in the Wind” this was his first public performance of the song in seven years). Most of all, Dylan’s voice on this midsummer afternoon and evening has a rare, penetrating beauty that is immediately noticeable to almost anyone who hears it. This is, in a very real sense, the Dylan a large part of his audience dreams of hearing; this is the voice to fit the stereotyped or mythic image of Bob Dylan, guitar strumming poet laureate of the 1960s.
~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan Performing Artist I: The Early Years 1960-1973)

Madison Square Garden
New York City, New York
1 August 1971
Rehearsals before the Bangla Desh Concert

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The Beatles Released “Something” 50 years ago today – Here are cover versions by Bob Dylan, Springsteen, Sinatra, Elvis and more

Something in the way she moves
Attracts me like no other lover
Something in the way she woos me
I don’t want to leave her now
You know I believe and how

At the time I wasn’t particularly thrilled that Frank Sinatra did “Something” … I was more interested when Smokey Robinson did it and when James Brown did it. But I’m very pleased now, whoever’s done it. I realise that the sign of a good song is when it has lots of cover versions.
– George Harrison, 2000

Something” is a song by the English rock band the Beatles from their 1969 album Abbey Road. It was written by George Harrison, the band’s lead guitarist. Soon after the album’s release, the song was issued as a single, coupled with “Come Together”, making it the first Harrison composition to become a Beatles A-side.

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