Set up in front of a camera slathered in gauze and clad in a wide-brimmed hat that kept his eyes shadowed throughout, Fallon’s performance paid homage to Dylan’s during the Rolling Thunder Revue, while the instrumentals were a perfect pastiche of the musician’s mid-Sixties output.
Fallon’s vocal impression was spot-on as he delivered Drake’s tale of contemporary heartbreak with all the agony and chutzpah of pained, slighted Dylan. The cover recalled “Positively 4th Street” with its Telecaster strumming, jaunty organ lines and impassioned harmonica work.
Fallon previously impersonated Dylan during his tenure on Late Night, where he performed a rendition of the Charles in Charge theme, which was also included on his 2012 album, Blow Your Pants Off. The “Hotline Bling” cover joins Fallon’s growing list of over-the-top rock homages, which also includes Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, James Taylor and Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty.