- He Was a Friend of Mine
He Was a Friend of Mine is a traditional folk song in which the singer laments the death of a friend.
It has been recorded by
Bob Dylan, The Byrds, Dave Van Ronk, Bobby Bare, Mercury Rev, The Mitchell Trio, Willie Nelson, Nanci Griffithand Cat Power. The version recorded by Willie Nelson was used in the film " Brokeback Mountain" and is credited to Dylan, who arranged an early version of the tune in 1962. [BobDylan.com [http://www.bobdylan.com/songs/wasafriend.html Bob Dylan: He Was a Friend of Mine] (accessed 17 Sept 2006)]
Bobby Bare recorded the song in 1964 in memory of air crash victim
In the Byrds' version,
John F. Kennedywas the friend whose death was lamented. The melody is changed considerably and Roger McGuinntakes a songwriter's credit.
Grateful Deadis commonly listed as performing this song from 1966 through 1969. While listed in setlists as "He Was A Friend Of Mine", they actually played a portion of "Just A Hand To Hold", written by Mark Spoelstra.
Dave Van Ronk sang the song at the memorial concert for
Phil Ochsin New York City's Madison Square Garden Felt Forum in May 1976, after Ochs' suicide.
The song was featured in an episode of the
reality televisionseries "" when the openly gaypop duo Nemesis recorded it for the album "Rise Up". This version was produced by Barry Manilowand released June 26, 2007.
The earliest known version of this song is under the title "Shorty George" (Roud 10055) [ [http://www3.clearlight.com/~acsa/introjs.htm?/~acsa/songfile/HE1WASA.HTM Shorty George] ]
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