List of Bob Dylan songs based on earlier tunes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

This is a list of Bob Dylan songs based on earlier tunes. Throughout his career, Bob Dylan has drawn inspiration from many traditional folk sources, including the below songs written by Dylan which borrow from earlier works.

Dylan song Original tune Notes and links
"A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall" "Lord Randall" [1][2][3][4]
"Blowin' in the Wind" "No More Auction Block"[5][6] [2][3][7]
"Bob Dylan's Dream" "Lady Franklin's Lament" [3][8]
"Boots of Spanish Leather" "Scarborough Fair" [3]
"Chimes of Freedom" "Chimes of Trinity" [3]
"Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" "Who's Gonna Buy You Ribbons (When I'm Gone)" [3][9]
"Farewell" "The Leaving of Liverpool"
"Farewell, Angelina" "Farewell to Tarwathie"
"With God on Our Side" "The Patriot Game"
"Girl from the North Country" "Scarborough Fair" [3][8]
"Hard Times in New York Town" "Down On Penny's Farm" [10]
"I Shall Be Free" "We Shall Be Free, Lead Belly" [11]
"John Brown" "Mrs. McGrath" [12]
"The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll" "Mary Hamilton", "Child Ballad 173"[clarification needed] [13][14]
"Masters of War" "Nottamun Town" [3]
"Restless Farewell" "The Parting Glass" [15]
"Troubled and I Don't Know Why" "What Did the Deep Sea Say?" [16]
"Ballad in Plain D" "My Last Farewell to Stirling" [17]
"Song to Woody" "1913 Massacre"
"Ballad of Hollis Brown" "Pretty Polly"
"The Times They Are a-Changin'" "Farewell to Sicily"
"Lay Down Your Weary Tune" "The Water Is Wide" / "Oh Waly, Waly"
"Things Have Changed" "The Observations of a Crow"


  1. ^ Ricks 2005, p. 340
  2. ^ a b Williamson 2004, p. 257
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Wall, Mick (2009). When Giants Walked the Earth: A Biography of Led Zeppelin. St. Martins Press. p. 66. ISBN 978-0312590390.
  4. ^ Epstein, Daniel Mark (2012). The Ballad of Bob Dylan: A Portrait (Reprint ed.). Harper Perennial. ISBN 978-0061807336.
  5. ^ "No More Auction Block for Me". Smithsonian Folkways. Retrieved February 7, 2014.
  6. ^ Sung by Odetta on many albums including Odetta at Carnegie Hall
  7. ^ Quoted in John Bauldie's sleeve notes for The Bootleg Series Volumes 1-3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961-1991
  8. ^ a b Heylin 2000, pp. 106–107
  9. ^ Spitz 1991, p. 200
  10. ^ Davis Inman (February 14, 2011). "'Maggie's Farm,' Bob Dylan". American Songwriter. Retrieved February 7, 2014.
  11. ^ Harvey 2001, p. 50
  12. ^ Heylin 2009, p. 100
  13. ^ Heylin 2009, p. 166
  14. ^ Marqusee 2004, p. 86
  15. ^ Heylin 2009, p. 172
  16. ^ Heylin 2009, p. 151
  17. ^ Collected e.g. in "Folk Songs and Ballads of Scotland", Ed. Ewan McColl (Oak Publications, New York 1965. Library of Congress Catalogue no. 65-2295). McColl notes that "the tune appears to have been adapted from a slow strathspey".


  • Harvey, Todd (2001). The Formative Dylan: Transmission & Stylistic Influences, 1961-1963. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-4115-0.
  • Heylin, Clinton (2000). Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades Revisited. Perennial Currents. ISBN 0-06-052569-X. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  • Heylin, Clinton (2009). Revolution in the Air: The Songs of Bob Dylan, 1957-1973. Cappella Books. Chicago Review Press. ISBN 978-1556528439.
  • Marqusee, Mike (2005). Wicked Messenger: Bob Dylan And the 1960s. Seven Stories Press. ISBN 978-1583226865.
  • Ricks, Christopher (2005). Dylan's Visions of Sin. Harper Perennial. ISBN 978-0060599249.
  • Spitz, Bob (1991). Dylan: A Biography (British publication ed.). W. W. Norton. ISBN 978-0393307696.
  • Williamson, Nigel (2004). The Rough Guide to Bob Dylan. Rough Guide Sports/Pop Culture (1st ed.). Rough Guides. ISBN 978-1843531395.