Starting in the early '60s, the singer-songwriter has released great albums every decade since well, the '80s were a bit barren, but there's a couple of keepers there. He's reworked his voice, style and mannerisms like most people change hairstyles. Dylan went through his reluctant-rock-star phase, his religious period and his "WTF-is-he-saying? Through it all, he's remained one of rock's most influential, striking and polarizing figures. It wasn't easy, because he was 50 years' worth of great music to choose from, but we managed to put together a list of the Top 10 Bob Dylan Songs. The Byrds released their No. Tambourine Man" a month after Dylan's version appeared on his fifth album, mining the folk-rock gold buried in its melody.
Street Legal delivered fans a shock: Dylan fronting a large band, with female backing singers to the fore. The words, meanwhile, might well represent an oblique personal history, from adolescence through marriage to religious conversion: whatever they were about, they reduced Patti Smith to tears on first hearing. More appealing than his hit anthem of husbandly devotion, Lay Lady Lay, If Not For You offers nothing to unravel, no mystery, nothing you could write an extended literary essay about, just directness and emotional connection. The largely rotten Knocked Out Loaded suggested Dylan was in trouble. Its meditation on the death of JFK, packed with enough cultural references to keep fans busy until restrictions are lifted, was more of a recitation set to music than a song, unlike anything he had previously recorded: evidence that, nearing 80, the old boy keeps pushing forward. The guitar playing in particular is a joy. The plight of imprisoned boxer Reuben Carter drove Dylan back to writing protest songs: Hurricane is as detailed, hard-hitting and journalistic as The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll. Furthermore, he recorded it in one take: a torrent of apocalyptic imagery so potent it long outlived the moment it was supposed to soundtrack. You could include anything or everything from Blood on the Tracks in a list such as this: spurred by the failure of his marriage, his muse was working overtime, as evidenced by its astonishing opening track, a fragmentary, unreliably narrated recollection of a failed relationship that shifts erratically from one scene to another, like a dream. In which another kiss-off to Suze Rotolo — who frankly receives a bit of a raw deal in the lyrics — gets mixed up with Dylan waving his voice of a generation tag goodbye.
49. This Wheel’s on Fire (1967)
From the Sixties protest anthems that made Bob Dylan a star through to his noirish Nineties masterpieces and beyond, no other contemporary songwriter has produced such a vast and profound body of work: songs that feel at once awesomely ancient and fiercely modern. See our picks for his 10 greatest songs below, and for more, check out our epic list of his greatest songs right here. I felt like I was just putting words down that were coming from somewhere else. Johanna may not even be real. But she is an addiction. He debuted the song in concert in December , to an audience that included ex-paramour Joan Baez and poet Allen Ginsberg, then played it every night on the world tour — notably in the solo acoustic sets. Maybe even more in some kind of weird way. He was learning to be beautiful.
Name the 10 best Bob Dylan songs? Why not try and pick the 10 best stars in the sky? Or maybe the 10 best numbers? You see the problem here. Dylan seemed as skeptical of his receiving the Nobel Prize as he has been of other honors that have come this way. Others were skeptical, too, wondering if songs could really be construed as literature.