So here’s something you never thought you’d see… Taciturn sixties singer Bob Dylan covering Drake’s Hotline Bling is the sort of thing you might experience in a particularly strange dream, not coming out your TV screen. But that is exactly what happened on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
In an uncanny impersonation of the surly troubadour, Fallon performed the song in its entirety, set to instrumentals that perfectly reprised Dylan’s mid-sixties sound. Complete with harmonicas and piping organ, the song took on a melody suspiciously similar to Positively 4th Street. Fallon’s vocals are also a near perfect in their drawling croak and jumbled rhythms, transposing Drake’s own heartbreak to something near Dylan’s decades old pain.
Performing with his eyes shaded by a wide-brimmed hat, in a waistcoat and high-collared shirt, the image was pretty much complete, along with the requisite Fender Telecaster, and the hazy camera work. But what is also uncanny is how well Hotline Bling comes out in this style.
As one of the most parodied tracks from last year, Fallon’s rendition is definitely an odd concept, but perhaps the most flattering so far. Generally recognised as one of the geniuses of songwriting, transposing the track to sound credible out of “Dylan’s” mouth is a fair achievement (even if it does borrow quite a bit from one Bob wrote earlier). And hopefully this one might make Drake feel a little better about what we did with Hotline Bling and those dance moves.