As Bob Dylan celebrates his 70th birthday today, here we take a look at ten of our essential picks from his extensive, and almost unrivalled, back catalogue.
This keys-led, electric-tinged track from ‘Highway 61 Revisited’ is another tale of frustration, but takes a less frenetic, almost gentile and more world weary approach to one of Dylan’s familiar subject matters.
9: ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues‘
One of Dylan’s signature Sixties tunes and a genuine commercial hit, the track’s distinctive lyrical-led stomp takes its inspiration from a handful of Dylan’s Fifties beat-poet contemporaries.
Taken from ‘John Wesley Harding’ and a song that Dylan has stayed loyal to more than any other, ‘All Along The Watchtower’s subsequent electric re-working by Hendrix makes it a defining moment for both artists.
Seen as a departure and marking his controversial move away from the strict binds of folk, the origins of the track can be traced back to an earlier Dylan-penned short story, and is a perennial player in any respectable ‘Greatest’ list.
A cutting polar-opposite to the traditional love song, despite the title it plays out the story of a woman who is in fact well in control of Dylan, and is an under-rated highlight from the equally under-rated ‘Bringing It All Back Home’.
The song painfully documents Dylan’s troubled marriage of the time, and was described as taking ‘ten years to live and two years to write’. Opens ‘Blood On The Tracks’ in a fittingly superb fashion.
The song which perhaps most vividly displays Dylan’s status as the greatest protest voice of his time, ‘The Times They Are A-Changin’ lifts the lid on a troubled era, and best documents the mood of a generation desperate for change.
One of the best examples of Dylan’s phenomenal gift with lyrics, this track from ‘Blonde On Blonde’ swoops through the narrative, and condenses all the twists and turns of a blockbuster film-script into its seven-and-a-bit minutes.
The great album track from ‘Blood On The Tracks’, itself a truly great album, ‘Meet Me In The Morning’ is a prime example of Dylan’s mid-70s classic songwriting, and was finally given its live debut in 2007.
Like ‘Visions Of Johanna’, the track brilliantly showcases Dylan’s lyrical prowess, weaving through inspired metaphor and creating powerful ideas via its couplets. It’s incredible to think Dylan hadn’t long waved goodbye to his teenage years when he crafted this masterpiece.Just Published: