Forever young: Bands play tribute to ’80s-era Bob Dylan

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The times, they are a-repeating.

The 1980s are often derided as Bob Dylan’s lost years — as least from a musical perspective. But to his die-hard fans, the worst of Dylan is still better than most other musicians’ best.

To illustrate this, ATO Records has recorded a tribute album featuring covers of songs he wrote between 1980 and 1990, and many of the artists featured on the disc will celebrate its release with a party at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on March 24.

“Bob Dylan in the 80s: Vol. 1” contains tributes by bands including Built to Spill, Gene Ween and Slash, and Blitzen Trapper, and artists appearing at the show will include Langhorne Slim, Spirit Family Reunion, Elvis Perkins, and members of Deer Tick.

The idea for the album came from a cover band that album co-producers Jesse Lauter and Sean O’Brien started while they were both attending New York University. They called the band S----- Dylan.

“It was not meant to be ironic or a jokey thing,” said Lauter. “It is to bring light to this catalog of songs that have mostly gone ignored while this is the most covered musician in the history of pop music.”

Lauter talked up the idea to the artists he worked with. When Craig Finn from the Hold Steady agreed to record a song, others started jumping on board.

At the Music Hall of Williamsburg show, each artist will play the song he or she recorded, as well as one other Dylan song from any era.

Dylan probably knows about the album, said Lauter, but is himself happy to let the ’80s remain lost.

“I can safely say that he is probably aware but blissfully doesn’t care,” said Lauter.

“Dylan in the 80s Record Release Show” at Music Hall of Williamsburg [66 North Sixth St. between Kent and Wythe avenues in Williamsburg. (718) 486–5400,]. March 24 at 8 pm. $18–20.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Dylan Fan from Park Slope says:
This story is a complete misread of Dylan's catalog. The 1980s were not "lost years," as the writer calls them, nor do fans think that "the worst" of Dylan is better than the best of other artists -- because we don't think of these years as "the worst" of anything.

Worse is this horrible typo: "Each artist will play the song they recorded." You certainly mean "Each artist will play the song he or she recorded."
March 20, 2014, 9:07 am
da editah says:
And for those of us who are not sure what songs fall into this categorization, Ms. Furfaro helpfully lists not a single title, not even an album name.
March 20, 2014, 9:11 am
Paige Simmons says:
Oh this sounds really fun - but I'm not a huge fan of Bob Dylan. It would be great if there was a triute to funk/jazz fusion from early 2000's instead. That would make this a better scene I think.
March 21, 2014, 6:41 am
John Wasserman from Prospect Heights says:
Hi Paige. John Wasserman here. Just a gentle reminder: please call us when the shuttle lands. We will be looking forward to your call-collect or otherwise.
March 21, 2014, 2:23 pm

Comments closed.

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