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Poll
Question: Which do you think is the better version of Mr. Tambourine Man?
Dylan's Version
The Byrds' Version

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Author Topic: Battle of the Songs #1: Mr. Tambourine Man (Bob Dylan vs. The Byrds)  (Read 702 times)
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« on: November 25, 2017, 12:49:08 AM »

I haven't made any poll other than Daily BB poll for several months, and never contribute very much for this section of the board, so I thought I'd start something new here.

Here's new series of polls: Battle of the songs. This series is to compare and discuss two comparable songs.

Here, we'll discuss two versions of the popular Dylan song Mr. Tambourine Man: The acoustic version by Bob Dylan himself, which was on his 1965 album Bringing It All Back Home:https://open.spotify.com/track/3RkQ3UwOyPqpIiIvGVewuU
And the electric version by The Byrds, which was their debut single:
https://open.spotify.com/track/5VsiF8C2oe8QbYcxtDTFk2
 (So this is not going to be a battle of the songs strictly speaking, but never mind, it's just for fun Grin)

IMO Dylan's version is much better. That's not only because it's the original, but it exactly captures the feeling of the song, and the vocal is definitely one of his all-time best. (And it's the opener for arguably the greatest side in the history of rock)
On the other hand, The Byrds' version, which is often acclaimed and even rated higher than original on Rolling Stone's 500 all-time greatest songs list, is just lame to me. It's neither rock or folk. It's just something that just couldn't be folk rock, at least to my ears. I admit its historical significance as it opened the door to the era of folk rock, but I don't see its musical greatness unlike their next no.1 single (Turn! Turn! Turn!).

Now, which do you think is the better song? Look forward to your opinions.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2017, 01:16:10 AM by Watamushi(Polly Poller) » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2017, 01:12:13 AM »

As much as I respect the original, The Byrds version is just sublime. Going with that
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« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2017, 01:32:32 AM »

As much as I respect the original, The Byrds version is just sublime. Going with that

Me too. There are so many Byrds songs I prefer to "MTM" but it still beats the original hands down...
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« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2017, 02:31:12 PM »

Generally speaking I like covers of Dylan's stuff better than Dylan's originals. I find Dylan's singing annoying.
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« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2017, 04:30:28 PM »

I'm torn as I like both versions.
I love The Byrds but in listening to both versions I found their version a bit too polished.
Dylan's is more raw and basic and I prefer it.
Just listened to his performance of it at the 1964 Newport Festival and it was wonderful.

(His voice bothers me a lot less than it used to. Maybe this is due to some of my favorite singers getting older and their vocal quality changing).
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« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2017, 07:36:36 PM »

Generally speaking I like covers of Dylan's stuff better than Dylan's originals. I find Dylan's singing annoying.

Same here.
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« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2017, 08:42:24 PM »

Generally speaking I like covers of Dylan's stuff better than Dylan's originals. I find Dylan's singing annoying.

Same here.

Here too.  The Byrds all the way.
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« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2017, 01:29:30 AM »

Generally speaking I like covers of Dylan's stuff better than Dylan's originals. I find Dylan's singing annoying.

Same here.

Here too.  The Byrds all the way.

I'm no fan of Dylan's voice either. I think he was at his most listenable at the time of Blonde on Blonde.
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« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2017, 06:33:10 AM »

Dylanís version. Thereís a live version of him singing this at Newport Folk Festival (if I remember correctly) and it perfectly captures the spirit of the song. Dylanís voice is the narrator of a modern mystical legend about how music carries us somewhere.

The Byrds version is like theyíre trying to be the music Dylan is talking about...but thus it kills the imagination the original song evokes. Sometimes simplicity is key.

Regarding Dylanís voice. Man I used to hate it. My dad would listen to Bob Dylan on road trips and my young ears would cringe when I heard that voice. But one day, years and years later, it just clicked for me; there was conviction in that voice, like a confident presence telling us about the world he sees. That sounds corny as hell, but thatís the way I see it. I really donít know what made me not dislike his voice, but Iím really glad I can now enjoy his songs.
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« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2017, 06:20:07 PM »

Can't stand the Byrds version - it's very stupid, the abominable shaky wimpy lead vocal, intro, the whole thing. By default it's going to be my choice since I don't like Dylan's voice AT ALL. But technical answer would be "Neither".
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« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2017, 07:55:45 PM »

Can't stand the Byrds version - it's very stupid, the abominable shaky wimpy lead vocal, intro, the whole thing. By default it's going to be my choice since I don't like Dylan's voice AT ALL. But technical answer would be "Neither".

Interesting.... have you ever listened to a live version of the song from the 80s with Gene Clark handling the lead vocals? Personally I much prefer his vocals over either McGuinn's or Dylan's
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« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2017, 08:18:47 PM »

I like Clark's voice, yes. Would like to check it. Pass, Rei, the link. police
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« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2017, 08:33:34 PM »

I like Clark's voice, yes. Would like to check it. Pass, Rei, the link. police

Here it is. Musically I prefer the Byrds version but vocally I'd take this any day:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HXa3wfzWKQ
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« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2017, 02:08:55 AM »

Can't stand the Byrds version - it's very stupid, the abominable shaky wimpy lead vocal, intro, the whole thing. By default it's going to be my choice since I don't like Dylan's voice AT ALL. But technical answer would be "Neither".

LOL
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« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2017, 05:48:15 AM »

I'm surprised nobody has brought up the similarity of the Byrds superior version of MTM to Don't Worry Baby. 
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« Reply #15 on: November 27, 2017, 07:29:09 AM »

I'm surprised nobody has brought up the similarity of the Byrds superior version of MTM to Don't Worry Baby. 
The Byrds apparently took the idea of the song's construction from DWB.
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« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2017, 07:30:19 AM »

I'm surprised nobody has brought up the similarity of the Byrds superior version of MTM to Don't Worry Baby. 
The Byrds apparently took the idea of the song's construction from DWB.

I think David Crosby mentioned that before, that they basically took the backing track and guitar riff from DWB. 
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« Reply #17 on: November 27, 2017, 09:14:31 AM »

I voted for Dylan's version.

I listened to the Byrds' Mr. Tambourine Man and Turn! Turn! Turn! albums a lot in high school (I had the double-LP release). Initially, I was probably more familiar with the Byrds' versions of Dylan songs than I was the originals. With that said, my time listening to the Byrds was relatively short-lived and I'm surprised to notice now how poor the lead vocal is. For my money, Dylan sings it better. I get that a decent amount of people don't like Dylan's voice and others simply think he's not a good singer, but I like his voice and most of his singing at least through Desire (1976). I'm glad that both of these versions exist, though. I'm a fan of both and they are quite different, occupying their own space.
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« Reply #18 on: November 28, 2017, 11:21:18 PM »

Generally speaking I like covers of Dylan's stuff better than Dylan's originals. I find Dylan's singing annoying.

Same here.

Here too.  The Byrds all the way.

I'm no fan of Dylan's voice either. I think he was at his most listenable at the time of Blonde on Blonde.
That surprises me, because if it's the way he uses his voice (as opposed to just it's natural timbre), I think BOB finds him almost parodying himself. If someone tells me "that guy can't sing", I usually put on Nashville Skyline. I think he sounded his absolute best on the run of albums from Planet Waves to Desire.
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« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2017, 10:39:24 AM »

Both are great, but the Byrds' version is one of THE iconic classic rock recordings of its era. McGuinn took the Hard Day's Night guitar sound and made it completely his own and that is the thread that runs through the Byrds' MTM.  Bob's version is awesome, but I'm a sucker for McGuinn's guitar (he and Michael Nesmith are the reason why I bought my first 12 string guitar), him singing Bob songs, and David Crosby's gorgeous tenor harmony singing. So, I will have to go with the Byrds.
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« Reply #20 on: November 30, 2017, 09:43:55 PM »

Both are great, but the Byrds' version is one of THE iconic classic rock recordings of its era. McGuinn took the Hard Day's Night guitar sound and made it completely his own and that is the thread that runs through the Byrds' MTM.  Bob's version is awesome, but I'm a sucker for McGuinn's guitar (he and Michael Nesmith are the reason why I bought my first 12 string guitar), him singing Bob songs, and David Crosby's gorgeous tenor harmony singing. So, I will have to go with the Byrds.
I like both, but if I have to choose, it's Bob's - because he does the whole song.
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