7 Songs You Didn’t Know Bob Dylan Wrote That Have Been Made Famous By Other Artists

His verses have been compared to those of the classical Greek and Roman poets Virgil, Homer and Ovid. His flowing folk, blues and rock melodies laid the foundation for music as we know it today. His commentaries on societal issues have become anthems for civil rights and anti-war movements.

And he created this type of music again and again.

Because of this, Bob Dylan’s work as a singer-songwriter has spread farther than most can identify. And, over the course of his career, many of Dylan’s songs have built the careers of other artists. George Harrison, Jimi Hendrix and others all embraced a Bob Dylan song that became a hit.

Below, American Songwriter takes a look at some of those songs Dylan wrote that were eventually made famous by other artists.


“Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show
Written by Bob Dylan and Ketch Secor

Released as the lead single from the Old Crow Medicine Show’s self-titled debut album in 2004, “Wagon Wheel” quickly became the band’s signature song. The song itself came together over a few decades. Dylan had recorded the chorus in 1973, and Secor completed the song in 2003 after hearing a bootleg recording of the song. “Mostly the reason this song is so popular is because of Bob Dylan and his magic touch,” Secor said in 2014. “Bob Dylan cast a spell with every song he made, especially in 1973, when he wrote this chorus.”

“If It Ain’t For You” by George Harrison
Written by Bob Dylan

Dylan first wrote “If Not For You” as a love song for his first wife Sara Dylan. The track was later released for the first time on Dylan’s 11th studio album new morning in 1970. Just months after Dylan’s release, George Harrison (who had just come out of the Beatles’ breakup) released his own recording of the song.

“All Along the Watchtower” by Jimi Hendrix
Written by Bob Dylan

The Plot: Dylan did it first, but Hendrix gave it a life of its own. Learn more about the story behind “All Along the Watchtower” HERE.

“Make You Feel My Love” by Adele
Written by Bob Dylan

“Make You Feel My Love” has actually become part of the standard repertoire for musicians. In fact, the song had been covered over 450 times. Garth Brooks, Kelly Clarkson, Michael Bolton and Neil Diamond have all covered the track, but Adele’s rendition of the song has garnered the most attention in recent years. Adele released ‘Make You Feel My Love’ on her debut album 19and it has since been certified Gold in the United States.

“The Mighty Quinn” by Manfred Mann
Written by Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan wrote and published “The Mighty Quinn” in 1967. It is widely believed that Dylan was inspired by Anthony Quinn’s role as an Eskimo in the 1960 film. The Innocent Savages for the track. Then in 1968 English rock band Manfred Mann released their version of the song and titled it “Mighty Quinn”. This version of the song went to number one on the UK Singles Chart and number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100.

“The Wanted Man” by Johnny Cash
Written by Bob Dylan

In 1969, Dylan wrote “Wanted Man” for The Man in Black. The track appeared on Cash’s In San Quentin album, but little is known about its composition. We know from their correspondences that in addition to being collaborators, Dylan and Cash developed a friendship. Cash was also a frequent and vocal supporter of Dylan’s work.

Farewell, Angelina by Joan Baez
Written by Bob Dylan

After writing “Farewell, Angelina”, Dylan attempted to record the song for his 1965 album bring it all home, but quickly abandoned it. Folk singer Joan Baez, however, covered the song, shortened it, and released her version of “Farewell, Angelina” over 20 years later. The track became one of Baez’s staple songs, and she continued to perform it live well into the 2010s.

Photo by PL Gould/IMAGES/Getty Images

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