Untold Dylan

One song to tune of another 3: Shooting Star (and a Rocket Man)

By Aaron Galbraith and Tony Attwood

In this series we take a look at songs with the same title as works by Bob Dylan.  So far we have covered…

One song to the tune of another 1: You’re a big girl now

One song to the tune of another 2: Forever Young

We’d be very happy if you would like to join in either by writing a whole piece or just selecting a song or two which has the same title as a Dylan song.   Oh yes and the picture on the left is Bernie Taupin, but you knew that didn’t you?

And now is it the turn of Shooting Star…


Similar to Forever Young, Shooting Star is one of those ubiquitous song titles that everyone seems to use, from the Mamas And The Papas, to Poison, to Cliff Richard!

In fact, so many have used it that I thought we could take a listen to three for this episode, rather than the usual two (although that is also a way of stopping Tony meandering down his own personal memory lanes).

First up, probably the most well known track with the title is Bad Company’s 1975 track.

The track appeared on the album Straight Shooter. The album was a massive success all over the world, due to tracks like Shooting Star and Feel Like Makin’ Love. Bad Company’s take on the title imagines a young man with ambitions of musical fame, takes us through his successes and on until his death from an overdose of whiskey and pills.

Aaron’s score : 4 out of 5

Tony’s score : 5 out of 5

Tony: I really do love this beat and chord sequence and the way that it morphs into “Don’t you know that you are a shooting star” – I think I actually used it with my daughters many years later when they were having a difficult day at school and losing faith in themselves.

Next up it’s Lou Reeds take on the title


I’m not sure about this one. It does appear on my favourite Reed album, Street Hassle, although this is one of the lesser tracks on the album. The most interesting thing about it is that it was recorded using the Binaural recording technique – which is when they implant 2 microphones into the ear sockets of a mannequin head!

Aaron’s score : 3.5 out of 5 (half point extra for the image of Lou singing at a mannequin head)

Tony’s score: 2 out of 5.

I’ve always had an up and down feeling about Lou Reed – “Walk on the Wild Side” and particularly “Perfect Day” and this one has some of the moments, but nothing utterly special that would make me want to play it twice.  “You’re just a shooting star” is a bit, well, obvious and ordinary and the semi-avant garde clashing lead guitar just sounds very dated now.

Last, but not least it’s Elton John


This was released on one of those handful of albums he made without Bernie Taupin, A Single Man in 1978. It’s not the best song (or indeed album), but it takes a different angle that you might expect from an Elton John. This time Elton is watching from the crowd at the shooting star on stage.

Aaron’s score : 2 out of 5

Tony’s score : 2 out of five

Tony: Innocuous I think is the best word for this piece.   Bernie Taupin however is interesting, at least if the tales are to be believed.  Wiki says, “In 1967, Taupin answered an advertisement placed in the UK music paper New Musical Express by Liberty Records, a company that was seeking new songwriters.    Elton John responded to the same advertisement and they were brought together, collaborating on many projects since.”

I guess the one Elton John song I really liked was Rocket Man, and indeed I can still remember hearing that for the first time, and thinking, hey they guy who wrote these lyrics really does know how to step outside the standard “love, lost love, dance” subject matter.  It is a love song of sorts (the first line says so), but this really is an alternative way of approaching what Dylan has so often done: going to places in lyrics where no one else would ever go.

“It’s just my job five days a week”   I’ve always liked that.

Untold Dylan

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One comment

  1. One song to tune of another
    Dignity by Deacon Blue
    Farewell by Rod Stewart
    Licence To Kill by Gladys Knight
    On The Road Again by Canned Heat
    Trouble by Ray Lamontagne

    Great work with the site

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