If there is a specific way that you could describe the aura of Bob Dylan, it would be mercurial. The man is just about the most acclaimed songwriter of all time, but you’d struggle to tell by the way he carries himself. Dylan performs in modest-sized theatres when he could sell out stadiums. He takes part in whiskey commercials. He makes Christmas albums. Whether you see him as a genius or a fraud, it’s hard to deny the power that Dylan has.
So when he takes the time to give praise to someone taking on his material, it’s worth listening to. He was vocal in his appreciation for the Grateful Dead’s three decades of Dylan covers, while his current live version of ‘All Along the Watchtower’ owes most of its style to Jimi Hendrix’s legendary version. But there’s one cover version that Dylan, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, sung the praises of.
If you think of the most immediate acolytes of Bob Dylan, who do you think of? John Lennon? Bruce Springsteen? Tom Waits? All good choices, but add another name into the mix: Alanis Morissette. Yes, the Canadian songstress best known for her early ’90s domination of culture with the singles ‘You Oughta Know’ and ‘Ironic’ is quite the Dylan fanatic.
You can read her own accounts of Dylan’s influence on her, or listen to her and Sheryl Crow sing his praises while on the red carpet. Whatever way you want to hear it, Morissette is happy to tell you just how much Dylan’s music has done for her. But what you might not expect is that the mutual appreciation society goes both ways.
While doing a Q+A on his website back in 2015 with writer Bill Flanagan, Dylan was asked about Morissette standing in for him during his induction to the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005, where the Canadian singer did her take on ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’. Dylan was effusive in his praise for Morissette, saying, “I couldn’t believe she got that so right, something I’d never been able to do.”
It doesn’t get much better than that. Check out Morissette’s version of ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ down below.