Jun 162007

A quick search on YouTube for “Steeler’s Wheel” will support not only that Stuck In The Middle With You is the The Best Dylan Song That Dylan Didn’t Do, but that there are quite a few folks who think that Dylan actually did it.

YouTuber “zepsloan” posits “I think it’s hilarious that an entire generation of people who don’t know much about music think that Stuck in the Middle With You is a Dylan song because of a single mislabeled Kazaa file.” Seeing as how everyone in my high school thought this was a Dylan song and as how the closest thing we had to something called “Kazaa” was this-

I simply believe this to be The Best Dylan Song That Dylan Didn’t Do.

Kirk and Bones are outstanding in this video by the way, but Scotty looks like he’s phoning it in.

Stuck In The Middle, may be the penultimate The Best [blank] Song That [blank] Didn’t Do.

But just to show you that I’m not solely a definitive answer guy I’ll offer this as The Best ZZ Top Song That ZZ Top Didn’t Do. And this is fair warning to those of you seemingly newly-minted ZZ Top fans-

Don’t watch unless you can handle the truth.


  14 Responses to “The Best [blank] Song That [blank] Didn’t Do”

  1. I always thought that Stuck in the Middle with You sounded like an early 70’s Lennon solo record with a little help from George Harrison on slide. Seriously, the vocal sounds very much like Lennon doing a little Dylan schtick. I thought this from when the thing first came out and I have a vague recollection of that being the perception of the song when it was released rather than any mistaken impression that it was Dylan.

  2. BigSteve

    As a geezer in all seriousness, I find the whole premise of mr. maudlin’s post bizarre, but live and learn I guess.

    The Knickerbockers’ Lies has often been called the best Beatles song the Beatles didn’t record.

  3. 2000 Man

    I always thought the best of the Bob Clones was A Public Execution by Mouse and the Traps (or maybe just Mouse – I can’t remember and it’s not like he was anybody without The Traps (yeah, like I’d know).

    Being the often utterly obsessed Stones fan that I am, I can verify that from the days of the vinyl bootleg era Holy Stones Grails have been Brown Eyed Girl, Van Morrison’s song, which I always thought sounded like Van Morrison, but apparently some people think it sounds like The Stones. And then there was the studio version of Let It Rock, which turned out to be Shadows of Knight. Thanks to the Internets, I got these over and over again in trades, sometimes from people I would have assumed to know better.

    That Knickerbockers song BigSteve mentioned is even more Beatley sounding than Klaatu was. Even so, that’s a killer song.

  4. Mr. Moderator

    “Lies” is a great one!

    That World Party guy had a song on his second album that was the best song that ELO never did – and as Hrrundi can tell you, THAT’S saying something!

    Blur’s “Charming Man” is the best song the Kinks never did.

    The Mekons’ “Charlie Cake Park” is the best Clash song from Sandinista that the Clash never wrote. In fact, it may be the only song left off that triple album, regardless of songwriter or performer!

    Almost conversely – at least in my mind – Sly Stone’s “Everyday People” is the song Prince would have given his left nut to write.

  5. Mr. Moderator

    By the way, that ZZ Top video is very interesting. I’ve never heard Gibbons get quite such a guitar tone.

  6. I alwaysthought that ELP’s Karn Evil #9 was some track by the Who. I was disappointed when I found out it wasn’t.

    there are a couple of tracks by the Blue Things that are dead ringers for Dylan.

  7. Billy Squier’s “My Kind of Lover” is the best Robert Plant song that Robert Plant didn’t do.

    Cutting Crew’s “I Just Died in Your Arms Tonite” is the best Foreigner song that Foreigner didn’t do.

    Anita Ward’s “Ring My Bell” is the best Gloria Gaynor song that Gloria Gaynor didn’t do.

    Everything ELO ever did is the best George Harrison song that George Harrison didn’t do

  8. saturnismine

    “Lonely is the Night” was always touted as the best “presence” era zep song that zep didn’t do. and “barracuda” has been described the same way.

    kilroy, i don’t hear the cutting crew / foreigner crossover….at all. i’ll have to listen more closely.

    you’re right about those disco ladies (gaynor, ward, etc.). they sound like they were coming out of the same studio, with the same backing band.

    i thought that the raspberries / carmen (esp. “you’ve blown it all sky high”) came closer to where the beatles would have been, ca. ’75 if they were doing mccartney’s pop songs, than anything that anyone else was doing (including rundgren and badfinger).

    by saying this, i give rundgren and badfinger more credit: at least there was some intangible element in THEIR music that made them sound more identifiably like themselves. but Carmen couldn’t help himself but sound VERY MUCH like mccartney at the end of hey jude, when he’s doing all yelping. listen to the breaks in “go all the way”. it almost sounds like they sampled Paul.

    i “get” the thread. however, by calling the imitators the writers of the “best” songs that their models “never” did, aren’t we giving them way too much credit? no way are any of these imitators “better” artists than their exemplars.

  9. sammymaudlin

    It’s not

    the “best” songs that their models “never” did


    the “best” songs they “didn’t do”

    Meaning of all the sound-alike songs out there, which one is the best of them.

  10. saturnismine

    gotcha, sammy. in any case, it wasn’t really a big deal.

    i only get the steeler’s wheel / dylan comparison to a point.

    sure, it’s deliberately dylanesque in many ways, and you can hear that right away.

    but you can also hear, right away, that there’s NO WAY ON EARTH that bob dylan is singing that song. try as rafferty might to affect the subtleties of the dylan sneer, the tone of his voice, what god done give him, just doesn’t sound like dylan. isnt’ that obvious? how closely can people be listening if they think that’s actually dylan? i mean REALLY. gimmefriggin’BREAKman!!!

    sheesh…now i’m all worked up. sorry.

    come see the photon band at johnnybrenda’s on friday night. we play the best songs that hendrix, the beatles, bowie, and tommy james and the shondells DIDN’T do.

  11. sammymaudlin

    saturnismine- It get’s worse. When I was writing this up not only did I discover that random YouTube commenters were clueless, but that at least the following 3 lyrics websites actually credit Dylan with the song:


    At some point it may actually become a self fulfilling prophecy.

  12. Mr. Moderator

    I don’t see how any 14-year-old, rock-loving ears wouldn’t get an immediate Bob Dylan vibe from “Stuck in the Middle with You”. I’m not getting Lennon at all from that song – never have, perhaps never will. George Harrison doing Dylan makes more sense, or put a little snot in the singer’s nose and Ringo doing Harrison doing Dylan would be easy to hear.

    Tom Petty’s “American Girl” is obviously the best Byrds song The Byrds never did. I’m sure a half dozen RTH nerds are ready to post Roger McGuinn’s self-serving claim that he thought it was one of his own songs!

    The first song on the first Emmit Rhodes album, “With My Feet on the Floor”, or something like that, is the best song that McCartney didn’t write for Badfinger.

  13. BigSteve

    Mr Mod wrote:

    Tom Petty’s “American Girl” is obviously the best Byrds song The Byrds never did. I’m sure a half dozen RTH nerds are ready to post Roger McGuinn’s self-serving claim that he thought it was one of his own songs!

    I think you’re letting your ornithophobia get the better of you. If I’m not mistaken the legend is the the other way around — Petty hearing McGuinn’s cover and thinking briefly that it was a Heartbreakers take of the song he had forgotten about.

  14. saturnismine


    where i teach, if i open iTunes to file sharing, i can get many students’ libraries to show up and there are other egregious mistakes in their catalogs along these lines.

    who knew that “sunshine of your love” and “smoke on the water” were by jimi hendrix?

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