Mellencamp Covers Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'"

September 4, 2008 2:34 PM ET

"The Times They Are A-Changin'," or at least John Mellencamp hopes. With the main theme of this upcoming election being "change," Mellencamp has recorded a cover version of Bob Dylan's famed "battle-cry for a generation." Mellencamp's version, recorded in stark black and white with Cougar performing solo on acoustic guitar, can be exclusively viewed now on his website. And as Mellencamp has made pretty clear in the past, he hopes the change comes from Obama and not McCain. Mellencamp has covered Dylan's songs many times in the past, from performances of "Farewell Angelina" to "All Along the Watchtower" to "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat," but none of the covers thus far carry the political weight and "relevant ideals of the past" of his rendition of "Times."

Related Stories:
Mellencamp Asks McCain to Stop Using Tunes
John McCain Will Stop Playing Mellencamp Songs at Rallies
John Mellencamp: "I Made This Album For Me"

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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