Two Brilliant New Covers: Laura Marling Does Dylan, U2 Does Marvin Gaye

‘Tis the season for giving, and as all music lovers know, a great song is a gift that lasts an entire lifetime. Here are a couple of classics that have returned in new wrapping this week, and they both blew me away.

At age 27 Folk artist Laura Marling is already an institution in the UK, having been nominated four times for best British Solo Artist at the Brit awards. She has stayed relevant in the public eye there because she’s not afraid to mix it up, recording in and out of traditional folk styles, and with different types of musical backing or none at all.

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This version of Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” illustrates her inventive approach to Folk. Recorded for a British TV series, it begins like any folk song does, with a strummed acoustic guitar. But then you hear a drum quietly accenting each line, voices and more guitars are added, and the thing starts to bloom like a magnificent rose, turning Dylan’s dire warning into something like a celebration that the hard rain hasn’t fallen yet. It’s wonderful.

We just talked about U2 a couple of weeks ago, concerning their great performance of “American Soul” on SNL. Well here’s another gem from them that’s just come across the interwebs, a cover of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”. Recorded for a series from the streaming service Spotify, this baby is another shining example of the versatility of Mr. Bono and Mr. Edge.

The cover is pretty true to the original, but the inimitable style of those two give it a distinct color all its own. Like the Dylan song above, “What’s Going On” is another number with a timeless message, and no matter how you dress it up it’s good for a lifetime and more.

Photo: By Darshil Shah (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


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