Next Tuesday, May 24 is Bob Dylan’s 75th birthday, and we here at KCRW are going to celebrate by wearing our brand new leopard-skin pill-box hats (which hopefully won’t blow away in the wind)! But we’ll also celebrate by listening to Eclectic24, our all-music digital stream, which goes into full-Dylan mode from noon to midnight, with a mix of original masters, covers of him and by him, interview clips, and songs that have inspired him over the years. Consider it a Dylan-apalooza, with lots of fun surprises surrounding the most acclaimed songwriter the pop music world has ever had!
To prepare ourselves, here’s a flashback from a couple of years ago, when Robyn Hitchcock last stopped by Morning Becomes Eclectic and graced us with a special Dylan cover that didn’t make the actually broadcast, due to time restrictions. Producer Collin Walzak sets the scene for us:
When Robyn Hitchcock wrapped up his Morning Becomes Eclectic performance last week, we had run out of time for his encore. Which was a huge bummer for us and the listening audience because he had chosen to cover Bob Dylan‘s“Quinn The Eskimo (Mighty Quinn)” to end the show.
But being the English Gentleman that he his and nary the sort to disappoint, Robyn obliged us with another cover that we could record for our archives. Since we weren’t under the duress of the clock he eased into an audible and chose a different one. One that he told us was his favorite song of all time!
“Visions Of Johanna” was first recorded by Bob Dylan in 1966 for the seminal album, “Blonde on Blonde” in Nashville. Several critics assert that this was one of Dylan’s finest works of songwriting while this guy thinks it’s literally the best song ever written(!)
It’s a beautiful contrast for Robyn, as his wit and relaxed personality become sharply focused and drawn into a song that’s so highly regarded. Cover songs have a way of fighting its way to the core of an artist and casting a bright light on what’s behind the curtain. And that’s why we asked him to stick around.
Robyn Hitchcock covering Bob Dylan’s “Visions Of Johanna”