music · Uncategorized

#SLS — This Wheel’s On Fire — The Band

song lyric sunday


Jim Adams is the eloquent music worshipping host of Song Lyric Sunday. Jim says:

This week the prompt is Burn/Fire/Flame, which are all related to heat, so let’s put together some smokin’ hot songs for this week. Here are the “rules”:
  • Post the lyrics to the song of your choice, whether it fits the theme or not.
  • Please try to include the songwriter(s) – it’s a good idea to give credit where credit is due.
  • Make sure you also credit the singer/band and if you desire you can provide a link to where you found the lyrics.
  • Link to the YouTube video, or pull it into your post so others can listen to the song.
  • Ping back to this post will eventually work, as long as you are being patient, but you can also place your link in the comments if you don’t like to wait.
  • Read at least one other person’s blog, so we can all share new and fantastic music and create amazing new blogging friends in the process.
  • Feel free to suggest future prompts.
  • Have fun and enjoy the music.


wikipedia says: “This Wheel’s on Fire” is a song written by Bob Dylan and Rick Danko. It was originally recorded by Dylan and The Band during their 1967 sessions, portions of which comprised the 1975 album, The Basement Tapes. The Band’s own version appeared on their 1968 album, Music from Big Pink. Danko recounted how the song was written: “We would come together every day and work and Dylan would come over. He gave me the typewritten lyrics to ‘This Wheel’s On Fire’. At that time I was teaching myself to play the piano…. Some music I had written on the piano the day before just seemed to fit with Dylan’s lyrics. I worked on the phrasing and the melody. Then Dylan and I wrote the chorus together.” Danko continued to perform the song in concert during his solo career and recorded a new studio version, with Garth Hudson on accordion, for his posthumously released 2000 album Times Like These. Hudson also recorded a new studio version, with Neil Young on lead vocal and the Sadies as back-up band for his 2010 all-Canadian compilation, Garth Hudson Presents a Canadian Celebration of The Band (re-released in 2012 as Chest Fever: A Canadian Tribute to The Band.)

From With so many cover versions, it was a very profitable song for the writers, and while Bob Dylan was used to large royalty payments, Rick Danko was not, and his check for about $200,000 was an astonishing amount of money. Danko would later say, “Those royalty checks almost killed some of us,” referring to members of The Band who suddenly had easy access to drugs, alcohol, and a lifestyle of excess. Richard Manuel, who killed himself in 1986, was particularly prone to drinking and drug binges.

This song HAS been covered many times.  I’ve included 5 very different versions, with lyrics at the end.

First, the Bob Dylan “Basement Tapes” version, with The Band.

Next, the “Music from Big Pink” version, with The Band.

Neil Young & The Sadies – This Wheel’s On Fire (Garth Hudson version)

A cover by Kylie Minogue

And finally, Julie Driscoll Brian Auger & Trinity – Wheels On Fire (1968)

If your memory serves you well
We were going to meet again and wait
So I’m going to unpack all my things
And sit before it gets too late
No man alive will come to you
With another tale to tell
But you know that we shall meet again
If your memory serves you well

This wheel’s on fire
Rolling down the road
Best notify my next of kin
This wheel shall explode!

If your memory serves you well
I was going to confiscate your lace
And wrap it up in a sailor’s knot
And hide it in your case
If I knew for sure that it was yours
But it was oh so hard to tell
But you knew that we would meet again
If your memory serves you well

This wheel’s on fire
Rolling down the road
Best notify my next of kin
This wheel shall explode!

If your memory serves you well
You’ll remember you’re the one
That called on me to call on them
To get you your favors done
And after ev’ry plan had failed
And there was nothing more to tell
You knew that we would meet again
If your memory served you well

This wheel’s on fire
Rolling down the road
Best notify my next of kin
This wheel shall explode!

Songwriters: Bob Dylan and Rick Danko

Which version(s) do you like best?



19 thoughts on “#SLS — This Wheel’s On Fire — The Band

  1. If I could have been a fly on the wall on any recording session- outside of The Beatles or some of the recordings made back in the 50’s at Sun Studio in Memphis–I’d have loved to have been at Big Pink listening to Bob and The Band make The Basement Tapes. Great selection.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I never heard of Wheels On Fire before, but I heard of “Absolutely Fabulous ” (thanks to the Pet Shop Boys). I watched the first episode with my parents this past Xmas vacation and they thought it was tasteless.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t seen the show. Let me amend that, I borrowed the first season from my local library and only got through part of the first episode. Not my cup of tea either. I’m probably your parents’ age also 🙂


  3. I’ve never heard this song, which is odd, because my husband is a Dylan fan and has been forever. I didn’t even recognize it as being used as the song from Ab Fab, either, until I heard the other versions you showed. Then I got it! We used to watch that show all the time…so funny! I liked all the ones except the Band one. Neil Young and Julie Driscoll were the best to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Barbara, you might not know it as a Dylan song as I think The Band claimed it more or less after The Basement Tapes (I am just guessing about Dylan not playing it much). All of the versions except The Band one were new to me. I really like Neils and Julies versions also.

      Liked by 1 person

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