Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue

Written and first recorded by Bob Dylan (1965).
Hit versions by Them (1965 |GER #12 1973), The Byrds (B-side 1969), Graham Bonnet (AUS #3 1977).
Also recorded by Joan Baez (1965), Dion (1965, released 1969), The Byrds (1965, released 1987), The 13th Floor Elevators (1967), (as “Baby Blue”) by The Seldom Scene (1975), The Animals (1977).

From the wiki: “‘It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue’ was written and performed by Bob Dylan and featured on his 1965 Bringing It All Back Home album. The song was originally recorded with Dylan’s acoustic guitar and harmonica and William E. Lee’s bass guitar the only instrumentation. Dylan’s two previous albums, The Times They Are A-Changin’ and Another Side of Bob Dylan both ended with a farewell song, ‘Restless Farewell’ and ‘It Ain’t Me, Babe’ respectively. ‘It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue’ concludes Bringing It All Back Home in consistent fashion.

“Dylan played the song for Donovan in his hotel room during his May 1965 tour of England in a scene shown in the D. A. Pennebaker documentary Don’t Look Back; a version of the song is also included on the soundtrack to Martin Scorsese’s documentary No Direction Home. In a 2005 readers’ poll reported in Mojo, ‘It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue’ was listed as the #10 all-time-best Bob Dylan song.

“Joan Baez was among the first of Dylan’s contemporaries to cover ‘It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue’, some saying she was the subject of the song. Baez released her version on the 1965 album Farewell, Angelina.

“Dion was another artist to cover ‘It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue’ within weeks of Dylan’s release, recording his arrangement in June of 1965, the same month that the term ‘folk rock’ first began appearing in music magazines. But, Dion’s version was shelved until released in 1969, on a grab-bag album called Wonder Where I’m Bound, which Columbia pulled together from his folk-rock sessions after the single ‘Abraham, Martin, and John’ became a hit and unexpectedly revived his career.

“The Byrds recorded the song twice in 1965 as a possible follow up single to ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ and ‘All I Really Want to Do’, but neither recording was released in that form. (The first attempt at recording the song resulted in an irreverent, garage rock style take on the song that went unreleased until 1987.) The Byrds attempted a second recording of the song during August 1965.

“A program director from Los Angeles radio station KRLA, who was present at the recording sessions, was impressed enough to play an acetate disc of the track on air, plugging it as The Byrds’ new single. However, The Byrds soon abandoned the idea of releasing ‘It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue’ as their third single and instead issued the song ‘Turn! Turn! Turn!’. This arrangement would, in fact, not be commercially released until 1987, on an album of studio outtakes.

“The Byrds did release a 1969 re-recording of ‘It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue’ on their Ballad of Easy Rider album. The Byrds’ Roger McGuinn decided to revisit the composition, slowing down the tempo and radically altering the arrangement to fashion a more somber and serious version than those recorded in 1965. This re-recording was released as the B-side to the promotional single ‘Jesus Is Just Alright’ which stalled at #97 on the Billboard Hot 100.

“Them’s version, released in 1966, influenced garage bands during the mid-60’s. Them’s interpretation of the song, with Morrison as vocalist, became influential during the years 1966 and 1967, with several garage rock bands, including the Chocolate Watchband and the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, recording versions of the song that were indebted to Them’s cover version – first released on their album, Them Again, and subsequently issued as a single (b/w ‘I’m Gonna Dress in Black’) in the Netherlands during October 1966 but failed to reach the Dutch Singles Chart. Them’s version was later re-released in Germany in December 1973 following its appearance in the 1972 German television movie, Die Rocker (aka Rocker), and became a hit single there in 1974.

“In 1977 Graham Bonnet recorded a cover version of the song, which at #3 on the Australian music chart in November of 1977, spending 6 months on the chart and nearly 2 months in the Top 10. The Animals would also record ‘It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue’ for their 1977 reunion album Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted.

“Other cover versions by Dylan peers and contemporaries include the Seldom Scene, the Country Gentlemen, Judy Collins, Joni Mitchell, Marianne Faithfull, Bryan Ferry, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, Echo & the Bunnymen, Falco, Jon Fratelli, the Grateful Dead, The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, the Chocolate Watchband, Richie Havens, Steve Howe, the 13th Floor Elevators, Hole, Graham Bonnet and Chris Farlowe.

“In 2021, Rolling Stone magazine put The 13th Floor Elevators’ cover in the 72nd position on their ’80 Greatest Dylan Covers of All Time’ listing.”

Joan Baez, “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” (1965):

Dion, “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” (1965):

The Byrds, “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” original (1965):

Them, “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” (1965):

The 13th Floor Elevator, “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” (1967):

The Byrds, “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” rerecording (1969):

The Seldom Scene, “Baby Blue” (1975):

Graham Bonnet, “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” (1977):

The Animals, “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” (1977):

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