He Was a Friend of Mine


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 Griffith and 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 Jim Reeves.

In the Byrds' version, John F. Kennedy was the friend whose death was lamented. The melody is changed considerably and Roger McGuinn takes a songwriter's credit.

The Grateful Dead is 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 Ochs in 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 television series "" when the openly gay pop duo Nemesis recorded it for the album "Rise Up". This version was produced by Barry Manilow and 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] ]

References


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