Watch Bob Dylan’s ‘It Ain’t Me Babe’ Being Covered by Kesha at Billboard Awards
Bob Dylan wasn't in attendance at the Billboard Music Awards last night, but one of his songs showed up anyway.
Embattled pop singer Kesha, who's endured a period of recent inactivity while fighting to free herself from contractual entanglements with a producer she's accused of deeply troubling behavior, took the stage to perform "It Ain't Me Babe," a song that made its debut on Dylan's 1964 album Another Side of Bob Dylan.
Kesha's appearance, which included accompaniment by violinist yMusic and pianist Ben Folds, was the focus of controversy in the days leading up to the show. Fearing she'd use the stage as a platform to speak out against her label boss and former producer, Dr. Luke, Kesha's label initially rescinded permission for her to perform. She denied any plans to defame Dr. Luke, Kesha told her Instagram followers. "I was never going to use a picture of him, speak of him or allude to my legal situation in any way," she said. "I simply wanted to sing a song I love to honor an artist I have always looked up to."
Cooler heads must have prevailed in the end, because — as you can watch above — the night's festivities indeed included Kesha's take on "It Ain't Me Babe." The show marked her second high-profile performance of a Dylan song, following her appearance on a 2011 Amnesty International collection of Dylan covers with her version of "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right."
"When you think of me, you wouldn’t think of Bob Dylan," she admitted at the time. "My music is more about the going crazy than politics. But he’s a huge influence — he writes his own music and means what he says. I write my own music and I f—ing mean every word I sing."
Bob Dylan Albums Ranked Worst to Best