Revisiting Elvis Presley’s cover of Bob Dylan song ‘Tomorrow Is A Long Time’
Diving back into the Far Out archives, we’re reflecting on a passing of the torch moment in music history as Elvis Presley covered Bob Dylan song ‘Tomorrow Is A Long Time’ back in May 1966.
Elvis was Dylan’s earliest influence when he heard ‘Hound Dog’ on the radio. It would prove to be a pivotal moment which would introduce him to the world of music and, from that day, he knew that he wanted to emulate Presley by becoming a professional musician himself. Dylan would later recall that life-changing moment and poignantly state: “When I first heard Elvis Presley’s voice I just knew that I wasn’t going to work for anybody and nobody was going to be my boss. Hearing him for the first time was like busting out of jail.”
So when The King would take on his song, ‘Tomorrow Is A Long Time’, which appeared on his Spinout soundtrack album, the enormousness of this effort wasn’t lost on Dylan. Elvis was reportedly inspired by Odetta’s version of the song and was recorded before Dylan had even released his own version. However, the praise of his songwriting skills could not be higher than Elvis making it his own.
Dylan later would describe Elvis’ recording of ‘Tomorrow Is A Long Time’ as “the one recording I treasure the most” as well as revealing that it was one of his favourite covers of his own tracks by other artists. Elvis would go on to make a home recording of ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’ later in 1966 which would eventually see the light of day on the posthumously released box set Platinum – A Life In Music, in 1997.
Dylan’s 1970 song ‘Went to See the Gypsy’ is alleged to be about a meeting he had with his childhood hero and it is even rumoured that he attempted to record an Elvis tribute album which, upon second thinking, he decided to abandon after recording just the three tracks which were ‘Lawdy Miss Clawdy’, ‘Money Honey’ and ‘Anyway You Want Me’.
The two great minds almost collaborated once upon a time which, sadly for us, never occurred after Dylan and George Harrison no-showed him after they met him after a performance at Madison Square Garden in 1972. It was upon that meeting that Elvis had convinced them to go to the studio with him which, inexplicably, they decided against for reasons that remain unknown.
This is perhaps one of few regrets that Dylan has in his career and, when The King died just five years later, it took its toll on him badly with him saying on record:“ I went over my whole life. I went over my whole childhood. I didn’t talk to anyone for a week”.
Elvis’ cover of ‘Tomorrow Is A Long Time’ gives the track a totally unique spin that only he could, taking on a new life that makes Dylan’s excellent wordsmith skills feel so personable when coming from the iconic voice of Presley.