Dylan’s Forever Young Is Forever Comforting

A benediction and a wish upon a prayer.

Photo by Devin Avery on Unsplash

Dylan recorded the song “Forever Young” in 1973 with The Band. For some reason two versions of the song were inserted on his 1974 album Planet Waves, Dylan’s first album to capture #1 on the Billboard charts.

The explanation came out that he felt the slow version of the song was too sentimental or something like that. He purportedly wanted to drop it from the album altogether, but everyone who heard it found it deeply moving and pressed him to leave it in. Good move.

Painting by the author.

This very fine song has served Dylan well over the years. He’s performed it nearly 500 times in concert, including the first Dylan show I attended here in Duluth in October 1998 where it was delivered acoustic at the end of his encore set.

It almost feels as if it could have been deliberately written to be a concert closer, conveying the feel of a benediction at the end of a church service after all the sermons have been sung.

The song has been recorded by a number of other artists including Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, Diana Ross and many others. The Pretenders covered the song on their album Last of the Independents in 1994, shared below.

Speaking of YouTube, what a great resource for sharing live performances that you could never have dreamed of finding when we were growing up. Nearly everything you missed growing up or over the years, it seems like you can find it here. YouTube is just one more way to stay forever young. What a great song. Here are the lyrics… followed by two live versions. May they bless you as much as they do I.

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young

Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young

Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young
May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
May your song always be sung
May you stay forever young

Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young

Copyright © 1973 by Ram’s Horn Music; renewed 2001 by Ram’s Horn Music

Here is a version of the song by The Pretenders.

And here’s a live version, from The Last Waltz.

Meantime life goes on…. May God bless and keep you always… and may you stay forever young.

Originally published at pioneerproductions.blogspot.com

An avid reader who writes about arts, culture, literature & other life obsessions. @ennyman3 Look for my books on Amazon https://tinyurl.com/y3l9sfpj

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