Mellencamp To USA: Times A-Changin’


No word yet whether the
McSame-VanPalen campaign is planning to borrow the song…

By Fred Mills




Mellencamp, still riding high on his T Bone Burnettt-produced album Life Death Love and Freedom, just polished
off a home recording of Dylan classic “The Times They Are A-Changin’” that has
been posted on  exclusively.



When you go
to his site, scroll down to the video box displaying Mellencamp with his guitar
and specs – it’s on the right side of the page, just click on “play.” (Disable
the streaming audio player at the very top of the page first, however, as
that’s set to trigger album track “Longest Days” when you arrive at the page.)

Writes Jim Bessman about the recording:




of the resounding themes of this election year is change.

“Change we can believe in” is Barack Obama’s key campaign slogan, and as this
is written, the Republicans are hailing John McCain’s vice presidential choice
Sarah Palin as a “change agent.”

Be that as it may, this remarkable moment in our nation’s history has for very
many evoked the sense of hope from 40 years ago, when for a brief moment
leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy truly embodied

That moment was musically foreshadowed in 1964 by the titletrack of Bob Dylan’s
third album, “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” But this veritable battle-cry for
a generation (“Come senators, congressmen, please heed the call”) has never
seemed more timely than now. And now John Mellencamp, with this homemade, Web
site-only performance, offers it to a new generation at a time of renewed hope.

Dylan, of course, was one of Mellencamp’s biggest influences.

Mellencamp performed “Like A Rolling Stone” during 1988 “Lonesome Jubilee” tour
stops (a live version of the song was included as a B-side) and also sang it
and “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat” for “The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration”
at Madison Square Garden in 1992 (both songs are included in the commemorative
album). Also that year he performed “All Along the Watchtower” on “MTV
Unplugged” and in 2003 he did “Highway 61 Revisited” at shows and for “Sessions
@ AOL.”

He covered Dylan’s “Farewell Angelina” on his “Rough Harvest” album, and even
directed the video for Dylan’s “Political World” track from his 1989 album “Oh
Mercy” (if you look closely you can spot Mellencamp’s guitarist Mike
Wanchic playing in Dylan’s band). Both artists also appeared in “A Vision
Shared: A Tribute To Woody Guthrie & Leadbelly,” a 1991 documentary
including performances by artists influenced by the two folk music legends
(Mellencamp, like Dylan before him, was hugely influenced by Guthrie).

As for “The Times They Are a-Changin’,” Mellencamp’s “Peaceful World,” which
addressed racism and saluted the words of Dr. King, echoed the Dylan song’s
most powerful line (“Please get out of the new [road] if you can’t lend your
hand”) with “if you’re not part of the future then get out of the way.” Here,
on this new Web site exclusive, he goes directly to the source in reliving the
once-again relevant ideals of the past.




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