Category Archives: Bob Dylans’s best songs

Today: Bob Dylan recorded Forever Young in 1973 40 years ago

BD-ForeverYoung

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
May your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young

– Forever Young by Bob Dylan

Continue reading Today: Bob Dylan recorded Forever Young in 1973 40 years ago

Bob Dylan: 10 best songs recorded in 1983

Dylan 1983

This is an updated & revised post originally published a year ago.

The “Infidels” Birthday inspired me to set up a list of Dylan’s best songs recorded in 1983.

I’ve chosen to include 2 versions of “Blind Willie McTell”. This is by far the best song Dylan recorded in 1983… and the both versions are fantastic.

1 Blind Willie McTell – electric version not released*
2 Blind Willie McTell – acoustic version The Bootleg Series 3
3 Jokerman Infidels
4 Foot of Pride The Bootleg Series 3
5 Someone’s Got A Hold Of My Heart – alt.version not released*
6 License To Kill Infidels
7 I & I Infidels
8 Lord Protect My Child The Bootleg Series 3
9 Sweetheart Like You Infidels
10 Tell Me The Bootleg Series 3

 

* My source is the “Rough Cuts” bootleg:

bob dylan rough cuts

Check out bobsboots.com

Now for the goodies..

1. Blind Willie McTell – electric version:

I didn’t think I recorded it right. But I don’t know why that stuff gets out on me. I mean,
it never seems to get out on other people.
~Bob Dylan (to Kurt Loder, March 1984)

Seen the arrow on the doorpost
Saying, “This land is condemned
All the way from New Orleans
To Jerusalem”
I traveled through East Texas
Where many martyrs fell
And I know no one can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

Well, I heard that hoot owl singing
As they were taking down the tents
The stars above the barren trees
Were his only audience
Them charcoal gypsy maidens
Can strut their feathers well
But nobody can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

See them big plantations burning
Hear the cracking of the whips
Smell that sweet magnolia blooming
See the ghosts of slavery ships
I can hear them tribes a-moaning
Hear that undertaker’s bell
Nobody can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

There’s a woman by the river
With some fine young handsome man
He’s dressed up like a squire
Bootlegged whiskey in his hand
There’s a chain gang on the highway
I can hear them rebels yell
And I know no one can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

Well, God is in His heaven
And we all want what’s His
But power and greed and corruptible seed
Seem to be all that there is
I’m gazing out the window
Of the St. James Hotel
And I know no one can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

Continue reading Bob Dylan: 10 best songs recorded in 1983

Bob Dylan’s best songs: Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues #19 (Audio & Video)

bob Dylan Just Like A Tom thumb's Blues

When you’re lost in the rain in Juarez
And it’s Eastertime too
And your gravity fails
And negativity don’t pull you through
Don’t put on any airs
When you’re down on Rue Morgue Avenue
They got some hungry women there
And they really make a mess outta you

This reminds me of Kerouac’s “On The Road” – conjuring up a dusty character lost somewhere in America, or South America, down on his luck, wanting to go home and singing off with the bleak but also funny line: “I’m going back to New York City/I do believe I’ve had enough.”
~Howard Souness (His 40 Greatest songs – Uncut Magazine)

Among the masterpieces of Bob Dylan’s amazing outpouring of songs in the mid-’60s, “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” is a minor pleasure. For anyone else, its extravagant imagery and literary references would make it a sophisticated, comic tour de force. But it has tended to be overshadowed by Dylan’s other songs of the period.
~William Ruhlmann (allmusic.com)

Mr. Ruhlmann has a point… this masterpiece is no. 19 on my Dylan top 200 list… and still there are 3 songs on “Highway 61 Revisited” that are better + 6 others from 65/66… It is brilliant song that carries most of the same characteristics as two of the other  masterpieces on H61 (Like A Rolling Stone & Ballad of  a Thin Man):

Bob_Dylan_-_Highway_61_Revisited

Now if you see Saint Annie
Please tell her thanks a lot
I cannot move
My fingers are all in a knot
I don’t have the strength
To get up and take another shot
And my best friend, my doctor
Won’t even say what it is I’ve got

Original version:


Spotify:

Continue reading Bob Dylan’s best songs: Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues #19 (Audio & Video)

Bob Dylan’s best songs – Ballad Of A Thin Man #4

bob dylan ballad of a thin man

You walk into the room
With your pencil in your hand
You see somebody naked
And you say, “Who is that man?”
You try so hard
But you don’t understand
Just what you’ll say
When you get home

Because something is happening here
But you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

E/E: Who is Mr. Jones, in Ballad Of A Thin Man?
BD: He’s a real person, you know him, but not by that name.
–Ephron & Edmiston Interview, NY – 1965

..one of the purest songs of protest ever sung, with its scathing take on the media, its interest in and inability to comprehend [Dylan] and his music.
~Mike Marqusee (from wikipedia)

This song is almost as good as “Like A Rolling Stone”.. they feel very much alike.. and again it’s a song impossible to tire of.

Now.. I guess Time reporter Horace Judson was one of Dylan’s many Mr. Jones’s:

I was over in England one time doing a press conference. And that was the first time I ever gave a press conference where I didn’t want to answer any of the questions. I didn’t answer any of ’em. From that point on I stopped answering questions. People wanna know just all about your personal life you know, where I came from anyway. That’s very impolite. Anyway I wrote this thing here. Try to have my say again, I don’t know if it ever reached anybody who’s supposed to reached, actually got hurt, but it made me feel better to write it.
~Bob Dylan (before Ballad Of A Thin Man -Tokyo, Japan – 5 March 1986)

The original version in all it’s glory:

Continue reading Bob Dylan’s best songs – Ballad Of A Thin Man #4

Today: Bob Dylan is 72 years old – top 25 Bob Dylan songs by Hallgeir

Dylan 72

Happy birthday, Bob Dylan!

Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman; May 24, 1941) has been an influential figure in popular music and culture for more than five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when he was an informal chronicler and a seemingly reluctant figurehead of social unrest. A number of Dylan’s early songs, such as “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “The Times They Are a-Changin'”, became anthems for the US civil rights and anti-war movements. Leaving his first base in the culture of folk music behind, Dylan’s six-minute single “Like a Rolling Stone” radically altered the parameters of popular music in 1965. His recordings employing electric instruments attracted denunciation and criticism from others in the folk movement.

bob-dylan 72

Dylan’s lyrics have incorporated a variety of political, social, philosophical, and literary influences. They defied existing pop music conventions and appealed hugely to the then burgeoning counterculture. Initially inspired by the performance style of Little Richard, and the songwriting of Woody Guthrie, Robert Johnson, and Hank Williams, Dylan has both amplified and personalized musical genres. His recording career, spanning fifty years, has explored many of the traditions in American song—from folk, blues, and country to gospel, rock and roll, and rockabilly to English, Scottish, and Irish folk music, embracing even jazz and swing. Dylan performs with guitar, keyboards, and harmonica. Backed by a changing line-up of musicians, he has toured steadily since the late 1980s on what has been dubbed the Never Ending Tour. His accomplishments as a recording artist and performer have been central to his career, but his greatest contribution is generally considered to be his songwriting. (wikipedia)

dylan double

Since it is his birthday and all, I have forced myself to pick 25 songs to celebrate Bob Dylan. It was extremely hard to leave so many good songs out of the list…

These are my top 25 Bob Dylan songs:

1. Blind Willie McTell
2. Like a Rolling Stone
3. Tangled Up In Blue
4. Ballad Of A Thin Man
5. Every Grain Of Sand
6. Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues
7. It’s All Right Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)
8. Visions Of Johanna
9. Brownsville Girl
10. The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll
11. It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue
12. I Shall Be Released
13. Simple Twist Of Fate
14. Knocking On Heaven’s Door
15. Just Like A Woman
16. Masters Of War
17. Mississippi
18. Idiot Wind
19. Isis
20. Cross The Green Mountain
21. High Water (for Charley Patton) (the live 2003 version on bootleg s. vol. 8)
22. Highway 51 Blues
23. Oh, Sister (Hard Rain version)
24. Shelter From The Storm (Hard Rain version)
25. You’re A Big Girl Now

bob silhouette

Check out Egil’s list of his favorite Bob Dylan songs (an ongoing top 200 list)

– Hallgeir

Bob Dylan cover versions @ Johannasvisions
Bob Dylan albums @ Johannasvisions
Bob Dylan videos @ Johannasvisions
Bob Dylan concerts @ Johannasvisions
Bob Dylan recording sessions @ Johannasvisions

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Continue reading Today: Bob Dylan is 72 years old – top 25 Bob Dylan songs by Hallgeir