Category Archives: Bob Dylan

Today: Bob Dylan released Shot of Love in 1981 – 32 years ago


I hear the ancient footsteps like the motion of the sea
Sometimes I turn, there’s someone there, other times it’s only me
I am hanging in the balance of the reality of man
Like every sparrow falling, like every grain of sand

Shot of Love is Bob Dylan’s 21st studio album, it was released by Columbia Records in August 1981.

It is generally considered to be Dylan’s last of a trilogy of overtly religious, Christian albums. Also, it was his first since becoming born-again to focus on secular themes, from straight-ahead love songs to an ode to the deceased comedian Lenny Bruce. Arrangements are rooted more in rock’n’roll, less in gospel than on Dylan’s previous two albums. So maybe it is more of a new start than a gospel-tinged end?

At the time of its release, Shot of Love received mixed reviews; Paul Nelson of Rolling Stone in particular savaged the album, though he did single out the last track, “Every Grain of Sand,” as a stand-out. Shot of Love, while reaching UK #6, continued Dylan’s US commercial decline, reaching #33 during a brief chart stay. By contrast, Bono of Irish band U2 described Shot of Love as one of his favourites, particularly due to Dylan’s singing ability.

“To those who care where Bob Dylan is at, they should listen to “Shot of Love.” It’s my most perfect song. It defines where I am spiritually, musically, romantically and whatever else. It shows where my sympathies lie. It’s all there in that one song.”
– Bob Dylan (NME 1983)

Shot of Love (Avignon 1981, audio) one of my favorite versions of the song, and it is so much better than the album track:

Don’t need a shot of heroin to kill my disease

Don’t need a shot of turpentine, only bring me to my knees

Don’t need a shot of codeine to help me to repent

Don’t need a shot of whiskey, help me be president

I need a shot of love.

Heart of Mine (live, Avignon, 1981), a wonderful rendition:

The song is a roller coaster of expression due to the way Dylan sings it, and due to a host of often hilarious couplets throughout the song. The musicians seem similarly inspired and give the song a feel comparable to something from Highway 61 Revisited.
– Thomas Ward (allmusic)


A large number of songs recorded during the Shot of Love sessions were ultimately omitted from the final album, but several outtakes later found their way into private circulation.

Best of the outtakes is Caribbean WindAngelina…follow the links to listen to some fantastic versions and read about those two gems!

A number of critics had already turned on Dylan for the evangelism of his last two albums, but the reception for Shot of Love was particularly harsh. Despite lavish praise of “Every Grain Of Sand,” Paul Nelson of Rolling Stone savaged the rest of the album. Nick Kent of New Musical Express called it “Dylan’s worst album to date.” Despite heavy touring in Europe and North America (in which all but two songs were performed), sales of Shot of Love were below CBS’s expectations. Still, in an interview taken in 1983, Dylan would describe Shot of Love as a personal favorite.

Great live version of Every Grain of Sand – Paris 84 (audio, with Mick Taylor on lead guitar):

Shot of Love finds Dylan still in born-again mode, but he’s starting to come alive again — which isn’t as much a value judgment as it is an observation that he no longer seems beholden to repeating dogma, loosening up and crafting songs again. And it’s not just that his writing is looser, the music is, too, as he lets himself — and his backing band — rock a little harder, a little more convincingly. Shot of Love still isn’t a great album, but it once again has flashes of brilliance, such as “Every Grain of Sand,” which point the way to the rebirth of Infidels.

– Stephen Thomas Erwine (allmusic)

Now here is a real gem! – The Grooms Still Waiting At The Altar – live (probably Nov 1980):

I still believe it is an underrated album, yes I know that it has been somewhat reassessed, but the new reviews normally says: “It’s not as bad as they said…”. I think that is wrong, it is in fact a very good album. Put in on, play it loud and marvel at yet another great Bob Dylan record!  And check out all these fantastic versions of Every Grain of Sand!

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Continue reading Today: Bob Dylan released Shot of Love in 1981 – 32 years ago

Bob Dylan – Atlanta, Georgia – 25 July 1988 (full concert video)

bob dylan 1988


Troy G. Chastain Memorial Park Amphitheater
Atlanta, Georgia
25 July 1988

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
  • G. E. Smith (guitar)
  • Kenny Aaronson (bass)
  • Christopher Parker (drums)


  1. Subterranean Homesick Blues
  2. Just Like A Woman
  3. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
  4. Simple Twist Of Fate
  5. Masters Of War
  6. Highway 61 Revisited
  7. Girl From The North Country
  8. Mr. Tambourine Man
  9. Barbara Allen (trad.)
  10. It Ain’t Me, Babe
  11. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat
  12. I Shall Be Released
  13. Silvio (Bob Dylan & Robert Hunter)
  14. Like A Rolling Stone
  15. Blowin’ In The Wind
  16. Forever Young
  17. Maggie’s Farm

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Bob Dylan – 6th & last recording session for Highway 61 Revisited – 4 August 1965


“I never wanted to write topical songs,…. Have you heard my last two records, Bringing It All Back Home and Highway 61? It’s all there. That’s the real Dylan.”
~Bob Dylan (to Frances Taylor – Aug 1965)

“If you had to sum up Highway 61 Revisited in a single sentence, suffice it to say that it is the album that invented attitude and raised it to an art form. Just take a look at the cover. Nobody from Johnny Rotten to Eminem has done it better to this day.
~Nigel Williamson (The Rough Guide To Bob Dylan)

Studio A
Columbia Recording Studios
New York City, New York
4 August 1965
The 6th & last Highway 61 Revisited session, produced by Bob Johnston

Overdub session with Bob Dylan (guitar) and Charlie McCoy (guitar, bass).

One final session was held on August 4, again at Studio A. Most of the session was devoted to completing “Desolation Row”. Johnston has related that Nashville musician Charlie McCoy was visiting New York, and he invited McCoy to play guitar at the session. According to some sources, seven takes of “Desolation Row” were recorded, and takes six and seven were spliced together for the master recording.McCoy holding a microphone onstage

Nashville sessions musician Charlie McCoy’s chance visit to New York resulted in the guitar flourishes accompanying “Desolation Row”, the last track on the album.



  1. Desolation Row
  2. Desolation Row
  3. Desolation Row
  4. Desolation Row
  5. Desolation Row
  6. Desolation Row
    6 and 7 edited into one track and released 30 August 1965

  7. Desolation Row
  8. Tombstone Blues

Recorded 1-4 pm.

bd 1965_10

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Bob Dylan – Simple Twist of Fate – Madrid, Spain – 15 June 1989 (Video)

bob dylan madrid 1989


They sat together in the park
As the evening sky grew dark
She looked at him and he felt a spark tingle to his bones
’Twas then he felt alone and wished that he’d gone straight
And watched out for a simple twist of fate


Palacio De Los Deportes
Madrid, Spain
15 June 1989


  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
  • G. E. Smith (guitar)
  • Tony Garnier (bass)
  • Christopher Parker (drums)


They walked along by the old canal
A little confused, I remember well
And stopped into a strange hotel with a neon burnin’ bright
He felt the heat of the night hit him like a freight train
Moving with a simple twist of fate

A saxophone someplace far off played
As she was walkin’ by the arcade
As the light bust through a beat-up shade where he was wakin’ up,
She dropped a coin into the cup of a blind man at the gate
And forgot about a simple twist of fate

He woke up, the room was bare
He didn’t see her anywhere
He told himself he didn’t care, pushed the window open wide
Felt an emptiness inside to which he just could not relate
Brought on by a simple twist of fate

He hears the ticking of the clocks
And walks along with a parrot that talks
Hunts her down by the waterfront docks where the sailors all come in
Maybe she’ll pick him out again, how long must he wait
Once more for a simple twist of fate

People tell me it’s a sin
To know and feel too much within
I still believe she was my twin, but I lost the ring
She was born in spring, but I was born too late
Blame it on a simple twist of fate


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Bob Dylan – Love Sick – St. Paul, Minnesota – 10 July 2013 (Video)

bob dylan st paul 2013


I’m walking through streets that are dead
Walking, walking with you in my head
My feet are so tired, my brain is so wired
And the clouds are weeping

Did I hear someone tell a lie?
Did I hear someone’s distant cry?
I spoke like a child; you destroyed me with a smile
While I was sleeping

St. Paul, Minnesota
Midway Stadium
July 10, 2013


  • Bob Dylan – center stage with harp
  • Tony Garnier – bass
  • George Recile – drums
  • Stu Kimball – rhythm guitar
  • Charlie Sexton – lead guitar
  • Donnie Herron – electric mandolin

I’m sick of love but I’m in the thick of it
This kind of love I’m so sick of it

I see, I see lovers in the meadow
I see, I see silhouettes in the window
I watch them ’til they’re gone and they leave me hanging on
To a shadow

I’m sick of love; I hear the clock tick
This kind of love; I’m love sick

Sometimes the silence can be like the thunder
Sometimes I feel like I’m being plowed under
Could you ever be true? I think of you
And I wonder

I’m sick of love; I wish I’d never met you
I’m sick of love; I’m trying to forget you

Just don’t know what to do
I’d give anything to be with you

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