Ballad Of A Thin Man is the fifth track on the 1965 Bob Dylan album Highway 61 Revisited. There are many theories regarding who the song is about, the most common one being that it’s about a reporter who can’t fully understand the meaning behind Dylan’s lyrics.
Elliot Smith: This is a very popular download on the Live Music Archive, over 100,000 people have downloaded this show, and if you’re not one of them – you should be. Smith channels Dylan’s vocal delivery in a way that I’ve never heard him do on his original material. And I’m pretty sure he nails every single word which is pretty hard for a live Dylan cover. Source: 10-11-1998
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Grateful Dead: Did you know that the Grateful Dead played 39 different Bob Dylan songs over the course of their career? Granted a lot of them were with Bob on lead vocals, but it’s still a lot. Ballad Of A Thin Man was played eight times and six of those performances had Bob singing lead. The other two times, one of which was included on this release, featured Bob Weird stepping to the mic. This show took place on April Fool’s Day 1988 at the Meadowlands Arena. Source: Postcards Of The Hanging: Grateful Dead Perform The Songs Of Bob Dylan
Jamie Saft Trio with Mike Patton: It’s always a treat when Patton shows up in a Cover Wars. This time through, the song gets a lot more respect than his previous performance. His spoken-word, while obviously a bit over the top, works very well. Great album from Jamie Saft if you’ve never heard it too. Source: Trouble – The Jamie Saft Trio Plays Bob Dylan
Kula Shaker: Pretty wild take from this British Band on their cover that they first issued on a Greatest Hits compilation in 2002. Blaring horns, music styles flipping back and forth, large volume swells…it’s a bit all over the place, but a good listen. Source: Kollected: Best of Kula Shaker
Stephen Malkmus & The Million Dollar Bashers: Man, don’t you just wish this band would tour for a couple of weeks? On this track we’ve got: Tony Garnier (bass), Steve Shelley (drums), Smokey Hormel (guitar), Tom Verlaine (guitar), and John Medeski (keyboards). The Million Dollar Bashers also act as a backing band for a number of other tracks on the I’m Not There Soundtrack. Source: I’m Not There Soundtrack