Audio: Bob Dylan Plays ‘The French Girl’ with The Band and the Grateful Dead

Françoise Hardy and Dylan in Paris, 1966.

One of the songs Bob Dylan and the group that would soon call itself The Band recorded during the “Basement Tapes” sessions in 1967 was an Ian Tyson (of Ian and Sylvia) composition, “The French Girl.”

Was Dylan thinking of Françoise Hardy, who he met in Paris the year before, when he chose to record the song?

During the “Basement Tapes” sessions Dylan and his band did two takes. And then the song was dropped for 20 years until Dylan resurrected it in 1987 during rehearsals with the Grateful Dead in San Rafael, Ca.

I particularly love the “Basement Tapes” version. Dylan’s interpretation of the song is amazing — he turns it into a Bob Dylan song. But the version with the Grateful Dead is a good one too. Jerry Garcia on pedal steel!

Below are a version of the song played with The Band, and a version with the Dead.

Bob Dylan and The Band play “The French Girl,” “Basement Tapes” sessions, 1967:

Video about Bob Dylan rehearsing “The French Girl” with The Band and the Grateful Dead with portions of both versions:

Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead play “The French Girl,” 1987:

The French Girl by Bob Dylan on Grooveshark

For more on “The French Girl,” head here.

-– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –-

About Michael Goldberg

Michael Goldberg is a distinguished pioneer in the online music space; Newsweek magazine called him an ‘Internet visionary.’ In 1994 he founded Addicted To Noise (ATN), the highly influential music web site. He was a senior vice-president and editor in chief at SonicNet from March 1997 through May 2000. In 1997, Addicted To Noise won Webby awards for best music site in 1998 and 1999, and also won Yahoo Internet Life! awards for three years running as best music site in 1998, 1999 and 2000. Prior to starting Addicted To Noise, Goldberg was an editor and senior writer at Rolling Stone magazine for 10 years. His writing has also appeared in Wired, Esquire, Vibe, Details, Downbeat, NME and numerous other publications. Michael recently completed his first novel, Days of the Crazy-Wild, and is currently writing a second novel.

2 thoughts on “Audio: Bob Dylan Plays ‘The French Girl’ with The Band and the Grateful Dead

  1. awesome song which makes me crave even more for the legal bootleg set that really will do justice to the Basement Tapes… but also strange how with The Dead he could still pull that same thing of so deep, while his live record with them in those dark ages of the terrible eighties was so flawed… it must have been self sabotage, I sometimes think… what a waste… hiding the treasures and pumping out the shit with an occasional diamond that slipped through his fingers

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