Bob Dylan's MusiCares Master Plan: Telling Alanis, Beck and Many More Exactly What to Do
While Bob Dylan did not sing at the MusiCares Person of the Year gala in his honor, the singer had considerable sway over every note that was played.
Dylan selected each performer and the song they would perform. In most cases, the songs were ones they had already recorded. Dylan then instructed the backing band, which included bassist Don Was, guitarist Buddy Miller and steel guitarist Greg Leisz, to play the songs exactly as they had in previous performances.
Alanis Morissette, for example, re-created a performance of "Subterranean Homesick Blues" that she did at the UK Music Hall of Fame awards in 2005.
"It's in a key that's too low for her and it's played too fast for her to really keep up," an insider involved with the production told Billboard. "But Bob likes the way she performed it and so it was done that way."
One major exception was Aaron Neville, who has recorded at least eight Dylan songs. Dylan requested that he sing "Shooting Star," a song he was not familiar with.
"He knows who sings his songs. If you do his songs well, he likes it," David Crosby said prior to the event, held Feb 6.
Here are the sources of the songs that led to the Dylan bookings:
Beck's version of "Leopard Skin Pill-Box Hat" appears on the 2009 charity album War Child Presents Heroes.
Los Lobos' "On a Night Like This" featured in the 2003 film Masked and Anonymous.
Willie Nelson recorded "Senor" and John Doe did "Pressing On" for the soundtrack of I'm Not There.
John Mellencamp's cover of "Highway 61 Revisited" appears on his Trouble No More Live at Town Hall.
"One More Cup of Coffee," which Jack White performed, is on the first White Stripes studio album, released in 1999.
Tom Jones recorded "What Good Am I" for his 2010 album Praise & Blame.
Back in 2002, Norah Jones released "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" as a B-side from her debut album Come Away With Me.
Crosby Stills & Nash performed "Girl from the North Country" nightly on their most recent tour.
Bonnie Raitt's version of "Standing in the Doorway" appears on her 2012 album Slipstream.
Neil Young did an acoustic version of "Blowing in the Wind" consistently on his 2014 tour.