Patti Smith may well be one of the only people in the world to cover the enigmatic Bob Dylan and do it justice. Whether it’s because of her affiliation with the singer’s city of choice or her lasting friendship with the icon, either way, Smith covers ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ like nobody else.
The cover in question comes from Smith’s concert film, released in 2012, ‘Live in Montreux 2005’ and sees her in fine form at a gig in Montreux, Switzerland. The cover is lush and velvety offering not only a slick product but Patti’s incredible vocal power.
On this tour, Smith was joined by original Patti Smith Group members guitarist and vocalist Lenny Kaye and drummer Jay Dee Daugherty, Television guitarist Tom Verlaine, and Smith’s longtime bassist, keyboardist, and vocalist Tony Shanahan.
Truly one of the first punk poets Patti and Bob’s friendship dates way back to 1975 and continues to be going strong to this day, although their first meeting had Smith acting a little too cool for the icon Dylan, she described in an interview with Thurston Moore: “I really acted like a jerk. I thought: that guy will never talk to me again. And the day after there was this picture on the cover of the Village Voice. The photographer had Dylan put his arm around me. It was a really cool picture. It was a dream come true, but it reminded me of how I had acted like a jerk.”
“And then a few days later I was walking down 4th Street by the Bottom Line and I saw him coming. He put his hand in his jacket—he was still wearing the same clothes he had on in the picture, which I liked—and he takes out the Village Voice picture and says, ‘Who are these two people? You know who these people are?’ Then he smiled at me and I knew it was all right.”
“To me, Dylan always represented rock’n’roll – I never thought of him as a folk singer or poet or nothing. I just thought he was the sexiest person since Elvis Presley – sex in the brain, y’know? Sex at its most ultimate is being totally illuminated, and he was that he was the King. And he still has it. I don’t think his true power has been unleashed.”
The pair still find a strong connection and this 2005 cover of ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ shows not only Smith’s admiration for Dylan’s work but the warmth she holds for his character.
Take a listen below to Patti Smith covering Bob Dylan’s ‘Like A Rolling Stone’