Covering Bob Dylan is an art form that many have sunk or swim at this task. Jimi Hendrix delivered the perfect blueprint on covering the bohemian singer-songwriter with ‘All Along The Watchtower’, a track that the now-iconic guitarist transformed entirely. The key to pulling off a beautiful Dylan cover is to make it sound nothing like the original, and that’s a task that Stevie Nicks eloquently rose to when she took on ‘Just Like A Woman’.
Dylan originally released the track back in 1966, and the muse behind the song has been a constant source of inspiration ever since. The alleged inspiration behind the track is Edie Sedgwick. Acting as the poster girl of Andy Warhol’s Factory, despite losing her life so painfully early at just 28-years-old, Sedgwick lived an action-packed life and is allegedly the person who was entrenched on Dylan’s mind when he penned some of his most adored tracks. However, Dylan has never confirmed this notion.
Sedgwick became friendly with Dylan after a chance meeting at The Factory. She reportedly had an instant infatuation with the singer and, in reaction, Dylan’s feelings were reciprocal. The two then allegedly had a secret whirlwind affair before Dylan married Sarah Lownds.
Her older brother, Jonathan, would later claim that Sedgwick fell pregnant with Dylan’s child, but had to get an abortion due to her drug problems that she needed rehabilitation for and wasn’t ready to become a parent. He claimed that ‘Like A Rolling Stone’, ‘Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat’ and ‘Just Like a Woman’ were all written with Sedgwick in mind.
Nicks didn’t record the cover until 1994, but it was one that she had been planning on taking on for a long time and even plucked up the coverage to ask him in 1986. During Dylan’s co-headline tour of Australia with Tom Petty, a time when she first met Dylan, Nicks shared a great friendship with Petty and, as she had a free schedule, decided to gly out to hang out for the whole month-long tour—even joining the pair on stage on one occasion to perform a joyous version of ‘Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door’.
Divulging to the Boston Globe about why she decided to cover the track on her album, Street Angel, Nicks commented: “Bob Dylan and I met about eight years ago. I went along on a tour he did with Tom Petty when they went to Australia. My friend Rebecca and I just decided we were going to watch because we knew Tom wasn’t even going to get a microphone, that anything he sang he’d have to sing with Bob.”
Adding: “This was going to be an incredible blending of egos. So I went there for 32 days and became good friends with Bob — as good a friend as you can be with Bob, that is. He’s very much a loner, very much by himself. You don’t run up to Bob and say, ‘Hi, Bob.’ You kind of wait for him to even notice that you’re in the room. You just let him come to you at his own time.
“During that period, I told him that I was going to do ‘Just Like a Woman‘ one day, and I don’t think he believed me. He just said, ‘Cool. If you can do it from a woman’s point of view, then great.’ So I called him when the song was pretty much done and he came down to the studio to listen to it. I said, ‘You hate it, right?’ And he said, ‘No, I don’t. I really like it.’ I said, ‘Well, would you consider singing on it?’ And he said, ‘No, I won’t sing on it, but I’ll play some guitar and maybe some harmonica if you want me to.’ And I thought, ‘Well, praise God.’ It was really important to me that he liked it. I never would have put that song on the record if I didn’t think he was pleased.”
Take a few minutes out of your day and let Nicks’ swoon you with ‘Just Like A Woman’.