Cover vs. Original

This Wheel's On Fire

Bob Dylan wrote the lyrics in 1967, but didn't get around to releasing a version of this track with his own vocals for another eight years. By that time, two versions, one by The Band and the other by The Byrds, had come and gone with their own versions. The Band's, dating from July 1968, was the first released and is better than The Byrds simply because it features a group of musicians who knew exactly what to do with the track.

The Byrds' version from February 1969 features a group that was still getting to know one another as musicians. Clarence White's guitar is still pretty cool.

- Bob, Columbia, Missouri, United States, 12.10.2005

The Byrds


The Band

CD-Cover: The Byrds - Dr. Byrds and Mr. Hyde 24.3 % 75.7 % CD-Cover: The Band - Music From Big Pink
Results of the voting: Cover versus Original
Click on the cover for listening Click on the cover for listening
The Byrds 732 Votes The Band

Further information about song and bands:

The Byrds
Lots of photos, some samples of Byrds songs, tabs and interesting reports of Byrds Fans, how they remember The Byrds.
The Band
web site
A great web site about The Band. Biographies of the band members, discography, lots of audio and video clips, lyrics, chords and much more - Everything you could imagine about this great band.

Comments about This Wheel's On Fire:

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Pet Shop Boys recorded a version on the Absolutely Fabulous (Comic Relief charity) single. It was withdrawn soon after release due to copyright/legal issues so don't think many will have heard it.
- Darren, Bingley, England, 23.01.2009
Although The Byrds were in a transitional time when Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde was recorded, I think it's a good country rock album anyway, and This Wheel's on Fire has a great version here. Even better than The Band's !!! But I like The Band's version too.
- Luiz Oswaldo, Belo Horizonte, Brazil, 22.11.2008
Frankly, I've never heard a version I didn't like. An absolutely fabulous song (Yes, It was a kick to hear it as the theme song for that show!). Julie Driscoll's is eerie, the Dylan and Band versions incredible (check out the many totally different arrangements Dylan has done live!) but I have always loved The Byrds version. Clarence White's guitar work was a totally stunning mix of psychedelia, hard rock and bluegrass, and the long feedback to explosion at the end gave an intense, chilling apocalyptic feel to it; so appropriate. Roger McGuinn's vocals and the harmonies are a perfect mix of anger and vulnerability. Listen again!
- Andy, Boston, United States, 14.10.2008
The Band's version is far superior: the arrangement, Rick Danko's lead vocal & harmonies, and of course Danko co-wrote it. Garth's freaky clavinette intro and shimmering keyboard textures adds a whole different dimension. The live version from "Rock of Ages" adds a hot Robertson guitar solo to the fray. I also enjoy hearing the slower "Basement Tapes" version. The harmonies on the chorus are superb.
- Zambero, Boise, United States, 18.05.2008
Dylan version with the Band is the best
- mmm, mmm, Spain, 19.04.2008
I'm DEFINITELY going with the Band on this one. And having heard Julie Driscoll's version, I must say that while it has a nice psychadelic vibe to it, it just doesn't capture the haunting, travel-worn vibe that the Band's version does.
- BBQ Platypus, Minneapolis, MN, United States, 31.01.2008
YOu have to listen to Leslie West, Mountain, 1969 doing this song to hear a totally completely different cover. Incredible
- Stephen, 5 Towns, LI, United States, 01.01.2007
I agree the Julie Driscoll version should also be voted for as it remains one of the classic versions of the song - even being re-recorded by her for the "Absolutely Fabulous" comedy series. Let's not also forget there was a memorable version in 1987 by The Banshees.
- Richard, Croydon, England, 26.12.2006
My favourite version is Julie driscoll with brian auger & the trinity Released in uk during 1968
It brings out the portent and power of the song

Why isn't it a voting option ?

- Will, suffolk, England, 19.07.2006
Rick Danko's version from his Times Like These album is unquestionably the best... next is Ian & Sylvia's folk version from the 60's.
- John Williams, San Jose, United States, 12.07.2006
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