A Tribute to Forever Young; its Background and Many Covers

I guess I was in a bit of a nostalgic mood today, and while I was watching some old favorite YouTube videos, I came across one of Norah Jones singing “Forever Young” at a tribute to Steve Jobs.

Listening to the song made me think of all the great versions of this song I have heard, so I decided to watch a few of those. It was so enjoyable listening to all of them that I decided to write a blog about it so that I could have a copy of all the versions of the song in one place. So this blog is more for me, than anyone else.

The song was first recorded by Bob Dylan, who had written the song as a lullaby for his eldest son Jesse, born in 1966. Dylan’s song relates a father’s hopes that his child will remain strong and happy. It opens with the lines, “May God bless and keep you always / May your wishes all come true”, echoing the Old Testament’s Book of Numbers, which has lines that begin: “May the Lord bless you and guard you / May the Lord make His face shed light upon you.” Not wishing to sound “too sentimental”, Dylan included two versions of the song on the Planet Waves album, one a lullaby and the other more rock oriented.

The song has also been recorded by the following:

Neil Young and Grateful Dead:

Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan

Rod Stewart (with slightly different words):

Blake Shelton:

from Pete Seeger, a spoken word kind of tribute:

a beautiful cover by Joan Baez:

another beautiful version by The Tenors:

Lucy Schwartz and John Doe (used in the TV show Parenthood):

Of all the videos above, I’d have to pick the Norah Jones version as my favorite.

And now the song has come full cycle, with this version of Bob Dylan singing his classic song at the awards dinner for his Nobel Prize this year:

forever young, indeed…


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Jim Borden

Accounting Prof. at Villanova; happily married for 30+ years; father of 3 outstanding young men; vegan; interests: fitness, creativity, education, blogging, social media.

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