Category Archives: Bob Dylans’s best songs

The Best Bob Dylan songs: Mr. Tambourine Man

bob dylan mr tambourine man

My thoughts, my personal needs have always been expressed through my songs; you can feel them there even in ‘Mr Tambourine Man’.
~Bob Dylan (to Sandra Jones – June 1981)

Even a song like Mr. Tambourine Man really isn’t a fantasy. There’s substance to the dream. Because you’ve seen it, you know? In order to have a dream, there’s something in front of you. You have to have seen something or have heard something for you to dream it. It becomes your dream then.
~Bob Dylan (to Bill Flanagan – March 1985)

Spotify:

#12 on my list of Dylan’s 200 best songs. The original version from “Bringing It All Back Home” was recorded on January 15 – 1965 @ the third recording session.

….and proceeded to record the final versions of “Mr. Tambourine Man”, “It’s Alright, Ma” & “Gates Of Eden” in a single take* with no playback between songs… it’s as though all three songs came out of him in one breath, easily the greatest breath drawn by an American artist since Ginsberg & Kerouac exhaled “Howl” & “On The Road” a decade earlier..
~Paul Williams (BD Performing Artist 1960-73)

*although this has been found not to be entirely true (after PW wrote his book).. It’s still a GREAT quote.

Bob Dylan - bringing it all back home

The specific Tambourine Man he had in mind was Bruce Langhorne, the magnificent multi-instrumentalist who would usher in Dylan’s electric era with some spellbinding guitar playing on Bringing It All Back Home (notably on “Mr. Tambourine Man” itself).
~Clinton Heylin (Revolution in the air)

Live at the Newport Folk Festival – 1964:

Continue reading The Best Bob Dylan songs: Mr. Tambourine Man

October 24: Bob Dylan recorded “Hurricane” in 1975




bobhurricane75
Bob Dylan visiting Rubin Carter in Prison, 1975 (Ken Regan)

@ Columbia Studio 1  in New York City, New York – 24 October 1975: Bob Dylan’s 6th and last Desire recording session, produced by Don DeVito.

In this session he tried Hurricane 10 times, no other songs were tried.

A splice of takes 2 & 6 was released on his great album “Desire” –  16 January 1976.

Pistol shots ring out in the barroom night
Enter Patty Valentine from the upper hall
She sees the bartender in a pool of blood
Cries out, “My God, they killed them all!”
Here comes the story of the Hurricane
The man the authorities came to blame
For somethin’ that he never done
Put in a prison cell, but one time he could-a been
The champion of the world

Here it is:

Spotify:

And here are some other versions as well:

Continue reading October 24: Bob Dylan recorded “Hurricane” in 1975

August 27: Bob Dylan – Old Five And Dimers (Like Me) (Billy Joe Shaver)





«..I’ve lost part of three fingers, broke my back, suffered a heart attack and a quadruple bypass, had a steel plate put in my neck and 136 stiches in my head, fought drugs and booze, spent the money I had, and burried my wife, son & mother in the span of one year…. I’m not proud of my misfortune – I’m proud of my survival»
~Billy Joe Shaver

“I’ve always been real blunt. Most people from Texas are that way. And it seems like all the great writers, they’re not afraid to say anything. I’ve always been pretty blunt, and sometimes it seems, brutally honest, but it’s real close to the bone.”
~Billy Joe Shaver

Bob Dylan has never played this song in concert, or released it. All we got are the 3 takes from the circulating “Hearts of Fire outtakes”. The solo version is absolutely incredible.

Townhouse Studio
London, England
27 & 28 August 1986
Hearts Of Fire recording session, produced by Beau Hill

Continue reading August 27: Bob Dylan – Old Five And Dimers (Like Me) (Billy Joe Shaver)

Bob Dylan’s best songs – Desolation Row (recorded August 4, 1965)





When you asked how I was doing
Was that some kind of joke?
All these people that you mention
Yes, I know them, they’re quite lame
I had to rearrange their faces
And give them all another name
~Desolation Row

Bob, where is Desolation Row?
Bob Dylan: Where? Oh, that’s someplace in Mexico. It’s across the border. It’s noted for it’s coke factory. Coca-Cola machines are… sells -… sell a lotta Coca-Cola down there.
~San Francisco Press Conference – Dec 3, 1965

Bob Dylan: As I look back on it now, I am surprised that I came up with so many of them. At the time it seemed like a natural thing to do. Now I can look back and see that I must have
written those songs “in the spirit,” you know? Like “Desolation Row” – I was just thinkin’ about that the other night. There’s no logical way that you can arrive at lyrics like that. I don’t know how it was done.
KL: It just came to you?
BD: It just came out through me.
~Bob Dylan – Kurt Loder interview, Oct 1987

Continue reading Bob Dylan’s best songs – Desolation Row (recorded August 4, 1965)

Bob Dylan’s best songs: Abandoned Love




Bob Dylan & Sara Dylan

‘Abandoned Love’ marks the very point at which Dylan decided to (temporarily) abandon love, and particularly forsaken love, as the prime subject-matter for his songs.
~Clinton Heylin (Still On The Road)

A lovely song recorded for (but left out of) Desire in NYC, July 31, 1975. It was later released on Biograph in 1985.

The only live version of the song is even better.

Studio version:

Studio E
Columbia Recording Studios
New York City, New York
31 July 1975
5th Desire session, produced by Don DeVito.

Continue reading Bob Dylan’s best songs: Abandoned Love