Bob Dylan doesn’t turn 80 until May 24th, but several artists have already announced plans — from Patti Smith’s upcoming tribute concert to the Flaming Lips’ rendition of “Lay Lady Lay.” On Monday, Chrissie Hynde revealed that a Dylan covers album is on the way, containing classics like “You’re a Big Girl Now” and “Sweetheart like You.” Recorded with her Pretenders bandmate James Walbourne, the album stems from Hynde’s “Dylan Lockdown Series,” which began early on in the pandemic.
Hynde has always excelled at covers, whether it’s the Ramones’ “Something to Believe In” or Neil Young’s “The Needle and the Damage Done.” She even appeared on Season Two of Friends for a cover of Chip Taylor’s “Angel of the Morning,” from the episode “The One With the Baby On the Bus.”
Hynde plays Stephanie Schiffer, who is hired to replace Phoebe as Central Perk’s performer. Rachel’s manager Terry instructs her to fire her friend, saying that Phoebe is “So bad she makes me want to push my finger through my eye, into my brain, and swirl it around.” Phoebe is defensive, mocking Stephanie for knowing guitar chords and protesting outside the coffee shop.
In the poignant scene above, Rachel consoles Phoebe on the sidewalk (Giovanni Ribisi, who later plays Phoebe’s younger brother Frank Jr., also has a cameo). Back inside Central Perk, Hynde performs the cover on acoustic guitar to a packed house, but the mood is incredibly devastating, mainly because it’s odd to see a professional musician at Central Perk instead of Lisa Kudrow’s kooky character. Just one season later, they’d repeat this with E.G. Daily — known as the voice of Tommy Pickles on Rugrats — who plays Phoebe’s ex-singing partner.
“Angel of the Morning” has been recorded by several artists over the years — most famously by Juice Newton in 1981. But Hynde’s is the quintessential version for any Friends geek, especially when it appeared on the sitcom’s original soundtrack. “The One With the Baby on the Bus” is best known for Chandler and Joey’s ridiculous adventure to find Ross’ son Ben, but the B plot here is significant in that it marks the first appearance of “Smelly Cat.” Hynde helped co-write the track, and during the episode’s credits she performs it on the orange couch, with Phoebe instructing her. “Don’t feel bad,” she tells her. “It’s a hard song.”