THE ORIGINAL: Bob Dylan (1970)
The first 23 seconds give us a snappy-peppy, super-country, twangy intro, before Bob’s clear and precise vocal comes in. The arrangement is very soothing — acoustic and electric guitars, soft but steady drums, a bouncy bass line, a Hammond B3 and some chimes for good measure — until his jarring harmonics honks a few times.
This clocks in at 2:43, which to me is pretty fast for a country song, or even a “country rock” song. I’m so happy I can understand what he’s saying. This is a lovely love song that I could hear playing in any old school dance hall in Memphis.
COVER #1: George Harrison (1970)
George Harrison slows this down to a sleepy and warm harmonic tune you’d want to have playing in the background on vinyl while making out with your lover in bed. I dig the churchy Hammond B3, played by Billy Preston. It washes over the whole production, somewhat overtaking it.
The slide guitar, the brushed drums and George’s vocal mesh well. Even the bits of harmonica are nice. The breezy, gauzy feel makes this good for a lazy-day playlist.
COVER #2: Olivia Newton-John (1971)
Olivia Newton-John’s cover is pretty much a carbon copy of George’s arrangement. Less gauzy, more steel guitar, drums, tambourine happening here. Her voice is high, lilting, and cutie pie perfect, as she always is. There just isn’t anything new or different happening here.
WHO DOES IT BETTER?
Considering that these were all recorded within a year of each other, they’re pretty much the same, except for the speed of Dylan’s original. But I dig George’s cover the best!
NOW YOU DECIDE!