Gotta Serve Somebody
Artist & Tune
About the Song
This Dylan song is the 1st track on his 1979 Slow Train Coming album for Columbia Records. The album follows Dylan's conversion to Christianity, with all the songs featuring themes of his personal faith. This was unpopular with many of Dylan's earlier fans. This track, however, was well received by music critics & was awarded the first Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance in 1980. Critics praised its driving blues melody and instrumentation.
It was also Dylan's last top 40 hit on the Billboard chart. The album peaked at #2 in the UK and #3 in the US, where it also went platinum. Jerry Wexler produced the album and Mark Knopfler played lead guitar.
It has been covered by over 50 artists, beginning with gospel singer Shirley Caesar: Secondhandsong's list of covers of the song
Notable covers include:
- Shirley Caesar in 1980 as the title track of her LP of Dylan gospel songs
- Live recording by Dylan with the Grateful Dead from a 1987 performance in Anaheim Stadium which was included on the 1989 Dylan & the Dead LP
- Natalie Cole on her 1999 Snowfall on the Sahara album
- Mavis Staples on the 1999 Tangled Up in Blue: Songs of Bob Dylan compilation album
- Etta James on her 2000 Matriarch of the Blues album
- Aaron Neville on his 2003 Believe album
- Willie Nelson on his 2008 Moment of Forever album
- Eric Burdon on the 2014 Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan charity compilation album honoring the 50th snniversary of Amnesty International.
- R&B/jazz singer Patti Austin on her 2011 Sound Advice album
- Jamey Johnson, Willie Nelson, Chris Stapleton & Lee Ann Womack on the 2018 Muscle Shoals: Small Town Big Sounds compilation album