There was a running joke in my house where my long-suffering girlfriend and I would suggest songs that Bruce Springsteen might sing when doing his Okie-folkie thing. It was difficult to tell which ones he'd actually done -- "Old Dan Tucker," yes, "The Caissons Go 'Rollin' Along," no -- but now with Neil Young announcing his new album, Americana, which according to the track listing contains Young and Crazy Horse rocking out many of the tunes we once thought Bruce would conquer, well, all bets are off. I may just get that scintillating version of "Happy Birthday (To You)" that I've always wanted.
Here's your chance to play a little game. I've listed ten songs and your job is to determine who's covered it. Your choices will be: Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen or No One.
10) Froggie Went A Courtin':
9) You Are My Sunshine:
8) I've Been Working On the Railroad:
7) Oh Susannah!:
6) Buffalo Gals (not the Malcolm McLaren song):
5) The Farmer in the Dell:
4) For He's A Jolly Good Fellow:
3) She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain:
2) Home On the Range:
1) This Land Is Your Land:
[Editor's note: Mr. O'Connor requested "pictures of a Frog, Sunshine, Train, Mountain and some land." So, of course, …
10) Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen: "Froggie" is a much-loved classic because kids love the courtin' songs. You may think today's kids are all just shacking up and hooking up and doing the friends with benefits and all that jazz, but there are still many righteous young folk who believe in the old ways. They're the ones who can't afford to move out of the house due to this tough economy!
9) Bob Dylan: While cynical modern folks may think "Sunshine" is code for contraband, there's no evidence to that point. Sometimes, sunshine is just sunshine and when it made John Denver high when it was his shoulder there's no reason to believe he, or anyone else, could snort it.
8) No one yet: Unless it's a hidden bonus track on someone's album, no one has gotten around to workin' on Maggie's railroad.
7) Neil Young: "Oh Susannah!" is the first single from Neil Young and Crazy Horse's new album. Technically, Bob Dylan did do a run-through of this track for Infidels, but I know of no official release. No word on who will cover Stephen Foster's "Camptown Races."
6) Bruce Springsteen, Homer Simpson: For anyone who doesn't know, Buffalo, NY is a very cold place in the winter, which lasts like nine months out of the year, and a very depressed and dangerous city. Coaxing a Buffalo gal to come out into the freezing night air apparently took a spirited tune such as this. Ani DiFranco remains the most famous Buffalo Gal in modern music. The Goo Goo Dolls are technically not 'gals.'
5) Omar Little on The Wire: OK, trick question. Omar's whistling of this song as he shadowed his victims made the tune iconic! Though, I should point out, that List of the Day takes a firm stance against murder. We do not condone murder. We do stand for World Peace and calorie-free chocolate.
4) No one yet: And let's hope it stays this way.
3) Neil Young: Yep, another one from the forthcoming Neil Young album and the one I'm not so sure that Bruce Springsteen hasn't covered. This was always a bone of contention with my girlfriend. We weren't sure if we were making up Bruce's version or whether we actually heard it.
2) Neil Young during the opening credits of Where the Buffalo Roam): Not listed as being on the new Neil album, "Home On The Range" can be heard being sung by Neil a cappella (that's alone without guitbox) during the opening credits of the Bill Murray-as-Hunter S. Thompson movie, Where the Buffalo Roam. At least there's one reason to seek out this movie.
1) Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Bob Dylan: Woody Guthrie is pretty much a universal icon for all Americana rockers. Even everyone's favorite commie Billy Bragg switched the words around to apply to the UK. However, I'd like to point out that my land, the 1/3 of an acre plot I pay taxes on every year, is not your land and don't get any ideas either.