We’re dipping into the Far Out vaults to bring you a rare recording of The Boss, Bruce Springsteen covering Bob Dylan’s 1965 classic ‘It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue’ at a bar all the way back in 1972. The then 23-year old Springsteen performed his usual run of powerful bar-bruising tunes when he pulled out this immaculate cover. It’s such a good rendition it naturally ends with a free-for-all sing-along.
It’s certainly not unusual to witness Springsteen paying tribute to his hero and idol, Bob Dylan. But this recording from way back in 1972, not only captures Springsteen when he was far from his Boss moniker, but also the sincere and soulful adoration he has for Dylan. It’s the kind of rare recording that can completely change your opinion on an artist.
Before Springsteen became The Boss, in fact before he’d even won employee of the month, Springsteen was a huge Bob Dylan fan. The singer’s love affair with Dylan stretches back to his childhood. This track from Dylan’s album Bring It All Back Home is likely one of his favourites from a list of hundreds.
The ‘Born To Run’ singer once recalled, when inducting Dylan into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, that the first time he heard a Bob Dylan album (Highway 61 Revisited, in 1965), Dylan’s performance “thrilled and scared me.” The freewheelin’ troubadour was a bastion of creative spirit and embody the down-and-out poet on the road that Springsteen had already romanticised so grandly.
The singer continued: “It made me feel kind of irresponsibly innocent. And it still does. But it reached down and touched what little worldliness I think a 15-year-old kid, in high school, in New Jersey had in him at the time.” It was enough to inspire Springsteen to pick up a guitar and follow his dreams through the bars, toilets and recording studios of rock ‘n’ roll’s notorious circuit.
Going back to the beginning of that journey, we’re looking back at one sensational performance where Springsteen paid tribute to his icon. A pre-E Street band Bruce Springsteen is a rare thing to hear in itself, but this audio from 1972 is a trip back in time to see The Boss.
It was captured at a bar in Richmond in 1972 and saw Springsteen’s first homage to the great man, Robert Zimmerman. The first of many too. The singer has paid countless tributes to Dylan, but this one may well be our favourite.
With a seemingly empty bar to play to, Springsteen rallies himself for a haunting and splintered rendition of Dylan’s 1965 classic. The sparse 11-minute number shows how vitally important Springsteen believed Dylan to be. The crowd rouse themselves to join in with the appreciation and it makes for one of the more curious covers because of it.
Bruce Springsteen would go on to share a host of different covers of Bob Dylan throughout his career but they all began with this one—a curious cover of ‘It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue’.